Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ham Throwback Thursday

Hamshack of Yesteryear. Recognize any of this?
I did not become interested in ham radio until the late 80's. Novice Enhancement back then along with a nudge from an old friend got me started in this great hobby. It has certainly been one of the most rewarding life experiences for me personally. I was recently browsing some old photo albums and came across a few photos of my Ohio hamshack. Life before the internet was very different. Packet was a hams internet back then and it was fun to node hop around Ohio, Michigan and beyond. Checking into the N8FIS BBS in Fremont, Ohio was the way you got messages and browsed for sale items and DX bulletins. 

Back In The Day
I think about my first computer, an old 8088 that originally had 2, 5¼" floppy drives. With a friends help, the black drive you see in the computer was a 30MB hard drive! You talk about room! I expected to never run out of hard drive space. It was slow but it got the job done. My first logging program came on 3 of those floppy disks. I ran JNOS or TCP/IP and experimented a bit with the packet side of the world. It was exciting to walk into the shack and see the blinking light on my MFJ TNC meaning someone had left me a mail message. I regularly checked my "Heard" list to see what other stations I might have heard either directly or via a digi.

The Good Ol Days
It might sound strange but as much as I enjoy modern technology, I miss those days long ago when I first got into the hobby. But, it's been fun watching our ham world following the modern trends but the basics are the same. We use radio waves to communicate with people all over the world. We hook an antenna to our transceiver and the world suddenly becomes much smaller. So much has changed and for those older than myself, they have seen much more of a change than I. As some of the other hobbies I've had in my lifetime, this has been the one constant. I was not born a ham but I will sure die one. It's been a fun ride and I'm hoping to have many more years behind the key(board). Oh, and the Vibroplex key in the picture is one that I still use today. CW certainly has been the KEY to my DX success!  


  1. Wow, I recognize the story. Not the equipment. I was very active with packetradio but at that time on CB radio. I had a 8088 (with 2 diskdrives like you), 286 (first one with CD player), 386 (20Mb HDD!), 486. I ran SP, TSThost and WinPack most of the time, also did some experiments with other software. I later switched over to hamradio but at that time the packet hype was almost over and internet took it all. I still have some packetradio equipment (TNC's) but they are almost useless and worth almost nothing anymore. Have them for sale on the dutch marketplace but till now no one is interested. 73, Bas

  2. Bas, if it was not for APRS, much of that equipment would have been tossed to the side of the road long ago.
    I always enjoyed packet and even ran some on HF. I always loved the sound of HF packet. The good ol days! Seems like just yesterday but was sure much longer than that ago. ;0) Thanks for commenting! 73!

  3. Phil, very nice shots of times gone by. My first new rig was the ICOM 735 and it was great to see it in your pic's. I too have some pic's of my first station but finding them is another thing all together.
    Have a good weekend Phil.
    73 Mike