Having suffered through solar cycle 24 with its deep and extended minimum that resulted in lousy HF band conditions for what seems like forever, we now await the next cycle (25) that’s expected to be every bit as bad. It’s enough to make a shortwave enthusiast consider how many cycles remain to enjoy the hobby.
I turned 60 this year and can’t help but notice that many of the long-ignored activities on my ham radio bucket list take place at VHF and higher – frequencies where the Sun doesn’t dictate all the action.
Satellites, EME, meteor scatter, and VHF contesting are but a few of the things firmly stamped on my list of radio things that I want to explore before concluding my ham radio life. The way I see it, I’ve been licensed and on the air continuously since 1977 and have spent almost all of that time at HF and forty-plus years is enough.
I recently purchased a new ICOM IC-9700 around which I intend to assemble a new station. It’s useless to me at the moment because I don’t even have an antenna to use with it but that will be quickly remedied.
Most of my HF equipment will be sold though I intend to keep the IC-7300 for its 6 meter capability. In fact, the first antenna I plan to install will be for 6M. That will probably be followed by a LEO pack for satellite work. There’s no script for where to go after that but I expect to find as much joy in the pursuit of radio adventure at these higher frequencies as I enjoyed at HF.
There’s much to learn and experience. In many ways, this will be akin to starting over from the very beginning. I’ve resumed blogging because I think chronicling this transition might be interesting. Plus, I’d really like to leave a record of this final journey.