How Mike M6KEB Became a Ham

Thanks to Mike M6KEB for submitting the following article:

CQ CQ CQ This is Mike Six Kilo Echo Bravo

Hello to all Amateur Radio Operators.

My name is Mike or MikeB as in my callsign (M6KEB), yes maybe a little cheesy but choosing a callsign wasn’t that easy as my initials weren’t available.

I have been interested in radio communications since I was a lad and I got my first airband radio,  a signal R537 , followed by a Uniden Bearcat and a Black Jaguar. I think I was fourteen when I dabbled in CB ( and changed my handle on a weekly basis) and of course I had a mag base antenna on a biscuit tin!

I got my private pilots licence in 1994 and the R/T procedures were an important part of that training, the last thing I did before stepping into amateur radio was take the exam for the marine VHF licence so I had a good idea of how to conduct oneself when operating a radio station!.

There were several reasons for deciding to go into ham radio the first of which was listening to various feeds over the Internet, secondly a friend who is a G4 said I should give it a try and finally I thought it make take some of the tedium away from the long commutes around the country’s biggest car park, the M25!.

The first hurdle was finding a Foundation course that fitted in with work as the six-week evening courses were not an option, after several emails to and from the RGSB, I was contacted by the Mid Sussex Amateur Radio Society and they were offering a weekend foundation course, 75 miles from the home QTH of Canvey but it was worth it in the end. To their credit they put on a great course both interesting and informative and by the Sunday evening, I had a pass certificate to take home, I actually got my callsign on the 31st May 2011.

First Radio

First job was to get a radio, what to do? I ended up with a Wouxun dual band handheld and then I was offered a bargain Yaesu FT-7800 mobile for the car, so I was up and running.

I joined the South Essex Amateur Radio Society and have been privileged to operate the clubs VHF and HF stations at two Special events.

Being a Newbie M6 it was a little daunting at first picking up the mic and putting out the first few CQ calls on 145.500 or calling out on the repeaters.

I can’t help feeling that maybe full licence holders don’t enjoy talking to M6 hams but on the other hand, I have had some great QSO’s and its been great that the full licence holders always are happy to offer help and advice on the bands.

I have had criticism and praise for my operating procedures and have definitely been enjoying operating on two metres, being in the group on the Sears net or on GB3DA or in QSO on a simplex frequency.

I am now using my two base rigs at home; a Yaesu FT-897d and a Yaesu FT-847, and they will take some getting used to as they are both packed with features.

I hope this has been a brief insight into life as a new M6 ham radio operator.

Our thanks

Thanks to Mike M6KEB for sharing your experience of the hobby. You can find out more about Mike at

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  1. paul 21 September 2011 Reply
  2. Dave 22 September 2011 Reply

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