Hi, I’m Dennis, a FCC licensed Extra Class Amateur Radio Operator (a.k.a. a “ham”) with callsign AD6DM. My former callsign was KF6UJS. This website highlights my ham life. I am a Senior Manager of Software Engineering by day, and a QSOer/tinkerer by night.
I’ve been a ham since 1999 (which, if you hang out with other hams, really isn’t that long). Back then, I was introduced to the idea of amateur radio by a Radio Shack HTX-202 2-meter handheld, when I thought all that civilians could use was CB. Listening on the 2m VHF bands, I was fascinated and eager to transmit. I studied Gordon West’s study guide during the winter holiday season 1998, and became a Technician Class (no code) at the start of the following new year.
I enjoyed meeting other hams on the SF Bay Area repeaters for about a year, but also had quite a bit of mic shyness, so ended up not doing much with my license for the subsequent 17 years except occasional 2m repeater chat. I wasn’t part of any volunteer communities or radio clubs. I’d only revisit favorite repeaters and check in whenever I dusted off my handheld radios.
Then in August 2017, my uncle got caught in Hurricane Harvey in the British Virgin Islands. My family and I could not reach him, and had no idea of his status for more than a week after the storm dissipated. We were starting to think the worst might have happened. I was reaching out to consulates and online “safety walls”, while my family went on social media groups asking for any word. When the relief workers got back to our family that he was located and safe, I realized that we should do whatever we can to prepare for calamities and disasters. That got me back into some basic questions: How do you talk to people when infrastructure has collapsed? What does it take to prepare and train? How can a person help others in these kinds of situations?
With that, I took a training course with the Sacramento Metro Fire Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and became a Level 2 member. I started looking at emergency response resources on the FEMA and Office of Emergency Services sites. I joined the ARRL, and became an ARES® applicant.
I quickly found that communication is key to any response.
My passion for ham radio was reignited by this emergency preparedness drive within me, and has since led to so many other amazing tangents.
I’ve discovered things like digital HF modes, traditional DX’ing, D-Star (and its headache stepbrother DMR), mobile hotspots, digital voice reflectors, antenna construction (dipoles, loops, and portable hamstick setups), and offgrid power operation. I hope one day to understand and experiment with satellite and ATV as well.
I’d also like to get good at CW (Morse code), contesting, and get into computing in the ham space with areas such as PSK, Olivia, Winlink, and mesh networking. Let’s see where this goes!
Every time I get re-fascinated by the world of radio, I like to do a quick blurb about it here to share my thoughts and discoveries. Thanks for your visit! Please drop me a line at the contact links below. I’m pretty active on Twitter as @AD6DM. Also, I’m good on QRZ.
Reference Info for AD6DM
EchoLink User Node: 957479 (not used much)
CQ Zone: 3
ITU Zone: 6
DXCC Zone: 291
Member: Stockton Delta Amateur Radio Club (SDARC)
AMSAT Member #41313
100watts and a wire: #3098
Donate to the Tip Jar!
If you find anything here or any of AD6DM’s help in the ham community useful, please consider donating toward his gear fund by dropping some money in the tip jar!