Jukka, OH2BR, gave me this bit of advice. “Find out who your closest ham neighbors are,” he said, “and contact them.” “They could be your best friends and Elmers OR your worst opposition if you interference to their ham activities. Start early—contact them today!” He went on to tell this story:
I found out how important it is to acquaint myself with my neighbor hams the hard way. I built a 15W XTAL TX and started working the world. One day I got a note from the President of our national league SRAL (Finland), OH2TK. He lived one block away from me. Was I terrified! I thought I would be expelled from the League for causing interference with my poorly constructed TX. Happily, he was a most amiable person and took me under his wing, so there was a happy end to the story.
Today, there are many ways to find the hams in your neighborhood. One way to do this is to do it the old-fashioned way—walk around your neighborhood looking for antennas.
Another way to do this is to visit QRZ.Com. Most of us use QRZ.Com to search for particular amateur by typing his or her callsign into the search box. You can, however, get a list of ham radio operators in your zip code by typing that into the search box. When I typed “48103” into the search box, it returned 150 licensees.
Perhaps an even better way to do this is with N4MC’s Ham Locator. When you type you zip code into the appropriate box on this Web page, you get a Google map that shows where the hams are located. You can then zoom in and pan around to find the hams closest to you.
Here’s a map of my neighborhood. Clicking on the little markers gives you the name and address of each licensee.
So, find the hams in your neighborhood and get to know them. You never know. You might make a friend for life.