I first became interested in ham radio when I was about 14 years old. At that time I lived in England, about 20 miles from the center of London.
I began by buying a short wave radio and listening to conversations between hams and also to short wave broadcast stations from around the world.
Together with a friend from my high school, I decided to get a ham radio license. To prepare for the license exam my friend and I went to a once-a-week class offered at a local college. After finishing the course, we both took the exam and passed.
My first call sign was G8GNT. The license allowed me to use some of the ham radio bands (the VHF bands), but I could not use the short wave bands until I passed another test, in Morse code. It wasnít until I went to University about three years later that I took the time to study and practice Morse code, but finally in 1975 I took and passed the Morse code exam. I then received a new call sign, G4DZC, which allowed me to use short wave bands.
I didnít operate much while I lived in England, as I never had the opportunity to put up good antennas. When visiting my parents house, I put up a small dipole antenna, suspended from small tree about 25 feet tall. While it didnít work very well, I was able to make a few contacts across the Atlantic. I remember my first contact with America, I spoke to a ham from Rhode Island. I was so excited when he sent his QSL card and a picture of him riding his horse !!
In 1981 I moved to the US and was able to put up larger antennas, first in New York State where I lived until 1989 and since then in Massachusetts.
I have always been interested in making contacts with far away places and have managed over the past 25 years to make contacts with almost all the places that hams consider ďcountriesĒ. I am patiently waiting for a chance to make contacts with the three remaining places I am missing, two sets of islands off India (Laccadive and Andaman Islands) and a very small island off the coast of China (Scarborough Reef).
I also enjoy traveling to other countries to operate ham radio. So far, I have visited islands in the South Pacific, Thailand and Grenada in the Caribbean.
Ham radio reminds me every day that we share this world with a multitude of other people who, while they may live in different places, all share a common humanity.
Meet Dr. Martin Bayes, AA1ON