For the first time in years I found myself not working on New Year’s weekend, so I rang in the new year with some amateur radio activity. I didn’t do anything spectacular but I added a new state to the logbook and made some 6 Meter contacts via some winter sporadic-E openings. Thanks to Nancy, K9DIG, I added North Dakota to my logbook as a new state. It was only fitting that my first contacts of the new year were on 6 Meters, still my favorite band even though I now have General Class privileges.
Frankly, 2011 was a year that found me reinvigorated in the amateur radio hobby. Throughout the year, I’ve usually been on the air a couple times a week. 2011 was the year that I got truly serious about operating HF from the mobile station. While operating HF mobile can be frustrating at times, especially when you’re in a pileup, it has been very rewarding. It has given me the chance to enjoy my hobby as a stress relief when I’m away from home and the fixed station (which is quite often). Throughout the year I’ve tried to catch up on QSLs that I got lax about while feeling somewhat burned out. I also began using the ARRL’s Logbook of the World again and updated my logs in it. Even though I don’t chase awards, it’s always fun to look at it and see what new confirmations have come in. I’m currently 5 states away from a basic Worked All States award; with luck in some of the state QSO parties this year I might just be able to fill in the gaps. It’s also been rewarding to work some of the B-17 special events when I’ve had the chance; operating from the bomber on Pearl Harbor Day was particularly special. Finally, I can’t express in words how much it meant that my friends and fellow club members at the Coastal Amateur Radio Society voted me the club’s Amateur Radio Operator of the Year.
I’ve been thinking about how grateful I am for the new amateur radio friends I’ve made online. I’ve discovered there is a large community of amateur radio operators on Twitter and I’ve been lucky enough to make friends with some of them. Twitter has been great for sharing information, spotting to initiate contacts, just having fun; it’s certainly enhanced my operating enjoyment. Google+ appeared during 2012 and there is a growing community of amateur radio operators there as well.
I’m looking forward to what’s coming in 2012, it’s already shaping up to be a fun year. Next weekend I’ll be taking part in my first activity with Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief since getting credentialed in 2011. I’ll be joining Guy McDonald, K4GTM in setting up and operating one of the Georgia Baptist Emergency Amateur Radio Service trailers at First Baptist Church in Vidalia during a training event.