This is a Football
The Green Bay Packers had a miserable year in 1961, according to an internet article. When the Packers started training for the next season, legendary coach Vince Lombardy started his team from scratch. Holding up a football in his hand, he said, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”
Okay, but what does this have to do with amateur radio? Plenty. Just as Vince Lombardy took his team back to the basics, we as amateur radio operators must go back to the basics from time to time, so we do not forget the fundamentals of our hobby. Those of us in emergency communication, and I hope we all will be involved in being ready to communicate in emergencies.
“Well, how do we get back to the basics,” you may ask, when you just got into the hobby. Do you remember when you first passed your test and bought your first radio? “How do I get it to work?” you probably had a mentor, an Elmer as they are called in ham radio land. He or she was hopefully a great help in getting you started.
“Manual, we don’t need no stinkin’ manual!” This is a phrase that is heard frequently by those who encounter new equipment, radio oriented or not. The point is that the manual that comes with your radio (except for some of the Chinese radios) is a good place to learn how your radio works and what it can do. My belief is that we need to read the manual, re-read the manual, and then read it again. We should keep reading it from time to time. Sooner or later, we will become masters of just what our radios can and can’t do.
I remember re-reading the manual for my communications receiver that I have several times. It was like having a refresher course. I relearned some of the special featured that my radio had. Wow, my radio can do this! Now I have several of the more expensive and technical radios for my amateur radio enjoyment. I have learned the basics of my radios but continue to read and reread the manual, so I can make full use of all the features they have.
Here’s another way to get back to the basics. Hopefully you still have the license manual you used to study for your ham radio tests, if you did use one. How about reading them again? I go to a web site where they ask questions from the FCC license manuals frequently. Going back to look up the answers has become a way for me to refresh my memory.
Sometimes reading a book isn’t all that exciting. There is a more entertaining way to get back to the basics. George Thomas and Tommy Martin do a webcast called “Ham College”, http://www.hamcollege.tv/. You can download the episodes or watch them on line. At the time of this writing, they have completed the Technician class test and are working on the General class. Watching Ham College is a fun and entertaining way to review what you learned for your license test.
Getting back to basics, a fun way to learn about our favorite hobby!