Laying the Foundations

Following on from my post last year about playing with the DX and more recently revisiting a hobby, I have decided it’s about time I went back into education. My interest in Amateur Radio has, so far, been more than a fleeting trial. Some of my previous interests and hobbies waned quickly (snow boarding, RC helicopters and painting to name a few!). I’ve learned to give things time before devoting more effort (and money) towards them. So I plan on learning the Foundation License syllabus to gain a basic license as set out by OFCOM.

The Foundation License is the basic of three levels. It’s the “easy way” in to Amateur Radio and tests the basic understanding of transmitting and receiving, antennas, the technicalities of radio and, most importantly, safety.

In order to see if this interest will stick, I’ve set myself the challenge of learning and passing the exam within the next six months. My understanding is it shouldn’t take more than 12 hours worth of ‘classroom based’ theory with a trained operator, or alternatively learning the whole syllabus by myself, but I’m keeping in mind the fact I’m freelance and have no idea what my schedule will be like from one week to the next! When I’ve passed the exam I’ll be given a call sign, be allowed on certain frequencies and interact with other hams around the world.

I’m interested to hear from others on their experience of Amateur Radio, so please do leave a comment below.

Are you a ham operator?

Was it easy for you to get your licence?

Did you run into any particular problems?

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UPDATE 1: Out of interest to see if my (rather old) high school education in Physics and Higher Physics would help, I took a mock Intermediate License multiple choice exam. I scored 37%. Clearly I need some work!

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UPDATE 2: I contacted my closest Ham Radio Club to discuss training, but they were fully booked on their upcoming courses. I guess that proves the hobby is still as popular ever. The gent I spoke to suggested I could probably go it alone, and he’d send me notes, homework and mock exams. So that’s the plan!

Sky News wins Coverage Of The Year!

I’m very pleased to say that Sky News has won an RTS award for ‘Coverage Of The Year’, relating to the ‘UK Riots’.

And I’m incredibly proud to say I was one of the Directors covering that event as it unfolded. I sat down as Director at midnight on the first night, just a few hours after the iconic burning double-decker bus footage. All night we received emails in their thousands with photos, videos and text messages from all over the UK. A fantastic team of top-form Producers verified and checked each piece of footage and we took it straight to air.

A very well deserved award for incredible team work.

Big Brother 2011: Eviction No 6

The drama unfolded with 4 housemates up for nomination. Originally it was 2; Anton and Jay. That weeks twist was that both were ‘evicted’, but actually stayed in the Large Task Room of the Big Brother house, designed to look like a crypt. They could watch on a plasma screen everything that was being cut and shown to everyone at home. They used this to their advantage to up their game when they eventually got back in the house. As a finale to the task, Jay chose Harry to also be up for nomination with Anton picking Jem.

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However. Come Eviction Friday the public had voted more times for Harry and so he was saved. The shock result was that Jem was also saved with the next best amount of positive votes. A lot of people had their minds already set on her being the one coming out. And so it came down to between Jay and Anton…

… and in part 2 it was announced that Anton was the 6th person to be evicted from the Big Brother house. His game was over.

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Bit On The Side: Nominations Reveal!

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My day started with me trying to find a way of doing a Big Brother “Voice Of God” (known from hereon as a ‘VOG’). By the time I got to work, the nomination process had been done and, to mix things up a bit, nominations were allowed to be discussed. In the end Aaron, Faye, Aden, Jay and Anton were all up for eviction.

During the process of figuring out how I can do a VOG I had a conversation with one of the Senior Directors, and by the end of the conversation I was doing the Live directing for our opt-in portion from the Bit On The Side programme. This is usually done by someone who is a Senior or has a few years under their belt. Instead, with only 6 weeks experience on the show, I was allowed to do it. And it went well.

I was nervous as heck before doing it though. Even though I had ample experience as a Director to cover such a thing, it amazed me how much adrenaline my body pumped through my veins!