Here at the house while others slept, or wrapped Christmas presents, or played Rock Band (really loud), I was up late studying for yet another ham radio test. I passed the "general" level and now the FCC says I can transmit worldwide by deflecting signals off of the ionosphere.
I reconfirmed that I can cram for a test. At my age that is also affirmation of no presence of Alzheimer's. NO ONE could pass this test with a short term memory problem. I memorized numbers, tables, and equations. And, strangely, I found it interesting. It was also a relaxing change of pace.
I didn't tell you about this because I wasn't sure how it would go. It was a major time commitment and even at that I missed 6 hours of class time. And, the subject matter was advanced. (There was literally a rocket scientist in the class!)
Two weeks after I passed the technician level ham radio operators test...the general level was offered. Why did I sign up? First because it was being offered and I wanted to do more than basically local transmissions. And secondly, I have been urging our state to have a more complete emergency management ham network so decided I would be a part of it.
I learned why electricians keep one hand in their pocket when they work. My dad was an electrician and I remember watching him work. In the early days of his successful small business he would sometimes work on weekends and take me along. I noticed he worked with one hand...the other straight down his other side. That is so if electricity passes through you it will go down the middle to ground rather than across your heart.
I also learned about power multipliers, data modes, sideband operations and geomagnetic stability, etc.
Now I will have to get a fantastic transmitter and a 200 ft. antenna. I want to be among the first to know what is going on in an emergency.