Simon Hodgkiss, 2E0SHO

| August 26, 2020

Why did you start being interested in amateur radio?

From the age of about ten I have been fascinated listening to people being able to talk to each other. I remember building a pretend radio out of some broken parts to attach to my bike and I thought it was just the best thing ever. Moving on to the eighties and my teenage years I was very involved in CB – this was the mobile phone of our generation and back then you needed a radio licence to operate them so my dad said that if I saved up my pocket money and paid for the licence he would buy me a rig, power supply and antenna. We would all pile home from school and jump straight on air where we would spend the night chatting and doing homework. As I grew up and the CB users started to die out, life took over a bit and I listened with a scanner whenever I got the chance always wanting to be able to join in but never quite getting the chance to commit to the training.

How did you study for the exam?

The recent lockdown and furlough has meant that I, like a lot of others, have suddenly found I have a lot of time on my side and wanted to put it to good use. I found the Essex Ham course via a web search, started a course at the end of April with an exam slot booked for the end of June. One of the recommendations was the RSGB Foundation Licence training manual so I bought that from the website to accompany the course. Studying was really easy and the course was really well put together. After passing my Foundation exam I went on to train for the Intermediate licence and passed that exam in November.

What was it like doing the remote invigilation exam?

The thought of the remote exam was much worse than the reality. As an Electrical Engineer I am no stranger to exams as part of life but this one seemed to be a lot more worrying. I think because I need to pass work exams whereas this amateur radio exam I really wanted to pass. I thought the remote invigilation would be more intense and like a ‘Big brother’ scenario but nothing could be further from the truth. Lawrence contacted me a few days before the due date for a Skype call to make sure that I had all of the software installed and run me through a few things to note for the day. He could not have been nicer and took a great deal of time to just talk and get to know me before moving on to explaining the process and what I needed to do to prepare. On the day of the exam it felt like chatting with a friend but, once I had started the RSGB’s exam, Lawrence disappeared from view and I became totally immersed in the exam itself. I loved how easy the exam questions and pages were to move through, flag an answer to return to and generally work with.

Which part of amateur radio do you like most at the moment?

My life revolves around running and in particular long-distance Ultra Marathon running so I wanted a radio that I could take with me out into the mountains. I bought myself a Yaesu VX-6 submersible hand held and have programmed it into a lot of the local HubNet repeaters near to where I run. This is a fantastic system and I love the fact you can make contact all around the world, standing up on the top of a mountain talking to someone in Australia is brilliant. Due to the ‘restrictions’ of the radio I have stuck with 2m / 70cm at the moment but have found more than enough to keep me entertained.

What would you like to try next?

My immediate wishes are nice and simple. I have signed up to the SOTA site and would like to try getting multiple contacts from some of the wild places I find myself in whilst experimenting with different types of antenna and gaining as much experience as possible. Moving forward I would like to work towards becoming a Full licence holder.

From what I have seem so far, the Society does a really great job and I have found everyone I have dealt with to be incredibly supportive.

Category: GOTA2C: Licensee stories