Posted by: cranky | June 29, 2008

Wireless Communication — Not a Cell Phone

Kenwood TH-F6A Handheld Transceiver Shortly after 9/11, I bought a software controlled shortwave receiver made by Ten-Tec, the RX-320.  My reason for the purchase was that I wanted to be able to hear what others might say about the War on Terrorism.  The same reasoning was behind my purchase of a portable Grundig Yacthboy shortwave receiver.

I enjoy scanning for shortwave broadcasts and amateur transmissions, particuarly those from other countries.  Not that I have to understand the language, I enjoy just being able to receive the signal.  Yeah, Rosetta and bmac, I’m still searching for the elusive numbers stations.

At the end of July I will take the amateur radio operator examination for a Technician class license.  In the event of a natural disaster or another terror attack I would like to be able to assist agencies like the Red Cross or Salvation Army in their relief efforts, or even to assist federal, state, or local authorities with their communication needs.  In order to assist I have to be licensed and have the equipment to make transmissions.

Another goal is to learn Morse code and to build a low power transceiver to transmit and receive Morse signals.  Kind of following in my father’s footsteps.  During World War 2 my dad was in the Army’s Signal Corps as a radio operator.  As a kid I remember seeing a telegraph key in my dad’s workshop.  Now I know what it was used for.

In the interim I decided to buy the little beauty, the Kenwood TH-F6A, shown at left.  The reviews I read found little to fault with this handheld transceiver and it looks like an excellent model with which to begin my HAM hobby.

The company with the best price is also one I had dealt with before so I called Universal Radio in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.  I told the salesman I wanted to order the Kenwood TH-F6A.  Then the bad news.  They were out of stock and I’m an immediate gratification type of guy.  The backorder time could be three weeks or three months.  Then he said wait a minute.  Thursday night they had received a truck shipment but it hadn’t been received into the inventory system.

So he went to check.  A few minutes later he came back on the telephone and announced the good news.  They had received their backorder of 6 units.

Could I please, please have one, I asked. 

Hopefully, by the end of the week I will have this baby charged up and I will at least be able to scan the frequency bands this model receives.  No transmitting until I get my license and call sign.  This is gonna be fun.  Then I build the low power transceiver for Morse code and later I’ll get a base station and start planting antennas in my back yard.



  1. Once you get your call sign, you can get the license plates, too. At least, here in CA, every HAM has their callsign on the plates. I think its a special category plate, like vanity plates or “save the whales”

    Check with your sherriff’s department and see if their emergency management team needs HAMs. Ours here always does.

    Finally, many thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you appreciated the Apache post. If that’s what you like, I’ll put some more stuff like that up.

  2. I know where I’m going when the Lutheran Millennium strikes™.

  3. PA, shhhh! They (The Lutheran Millennium™) have agents listening everywhere. They’re looking too so watch your mini-blinds.

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