You may now call me EI4IWB

Echo India Four India Whiskey Bravo. That’s my new identity ont he airwaves.

Saturday July 25th, I travelled to the Maldron hotel in Tallaght, Dublin, to sit the IRTS/Comreg HAREC Amateur Radio Licensing exam. Two-part paper, two hours long, 60 multiple choice sections, questions chosen from the syllabus and corrected by Comreg.

About ten days later, including a 5-day quarantine of the paperwork to comply with Covid-19 regulations, I was informed of my e-Licensing account with Comreg. Later that evening the exam results were posted up, and I had a grade of “Pass” with a score of 85%, >60% needed to pass. Straight away once the qualification was showing up, I applied for the callsign, and a few hours later I knew I had EI4IWB as my for-life HAM radio identity.

Since then, I’ve cautiously called CQ on the ham bands, I’ve started using FT8 to make digital QSOs, and I’ve been transmitting WSPR signals as well. Logging the QSOs has been interesting, making sure I have the right accounts at the right places. I also made sure to reserve my callsign @gmail and both the .com and .ie domains of my callsign.

My WSPR signals have been heard from Alaska to the Canaries to way past Moscow. That’s amazing for under a tenth of a watt. By voice I’ve been heard from Portugal to Slovakia, as well as within the country.

I do see myself getting a half-decent RF amplifier in the near future, it’ll be good to be able to get to the current legal limit of 400W on most bands, and ideally it’ll be great to get to the 1.5kW limit during contests. But quality equipment is hard enough to come by at a price that is not eye-watering. Acom 2000A amplifier is my preferred item, but at over €6000 it’s not really a runner yet..

It’s good to get on the air, good to make contact internationally without using an intermediary network, it’s good to get to a first principles kind of thing – it’s really basic physics and really effective.

More learning, and more toys to come.

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