On the HamRadioHelpGroup mailing list, there was recently a discussion about using modulated CW on 2m. One fellow pointed out that MFJ sold a unit that would do this. When I pointed out that this box cost $100 and that they could do exactly the same thing with the $18 PicoKeyer from HamGadgets.Com, I got some flack that the PicoKeyer was a kit, and that some people might not be able to build it.
I pointed out that a couple of years ago our club held a construction night, and that several people who had never soldered before successfully completed the kit. I also pointed out that even if the ham didn’t have the proper tools, he or she could purchase a soldering iron, needle-nose pliers, and diagonal cutters, in addition to the kit, for less than $100.
That pretty much shut him up, but I got to thinking about what a ham should be able to do. This is the list I’ve come up with so far. This list does, of course, imply that a ham is physically capable of doing them. I would not expect hams that are physically disabled to be able to do everything on this list.
What Every Ham Should Know How to Do
- Solder. Every ham should know how to solder a connection, and by extension, build small kits and cables. Over the course of one’s ham career, this skill will save you a ton of time and money.
- Build a dipole antenna. The dipole is the simplest and most versatile antenna. Knowing how to build one and use one is an essential skill.
- Check into a net. Net operation is one of the most basic operating skills.
- Use a multimeter to measure voltage, current, and resistance and know what those measurements mean. This is the most basic skill used in troubleshooting, and at some point or another, you’re going to have to troubleshoot something.
These are just the first four things that occur to me. What do you think every ham should know how to do?