"N2BA -- Travel and Ham Radio, perfect together" N2BA's Profile
This site is dedicated to Brooke's hobby of ham radio. To find out more about Brooke's family, please visit the family web site, at the link below: http://www.virtualtourist.com/NJFamily
I have been an amateur radio operator since the age of 14 and over the years I’ve gotten to speak with tens of thousands of similarly inclined “hams” around the world. As an adult, not only have I been able to speak with these folks, I’ve visited some of them in person. To date I’ve been licensed in over 30 countries. But before telling you more about myself, let me describe this hobby to those who don’t know it.
Amateur radio is really about the technical art of communications purely for pleasure. Often people ask if the Internet has killed it. My response is to ask: Why do so many people run Marathons now that there are automobiles? Hams have operated from every country in the world, and even from space. There is a very well equipped amateur radio station on the Space Station, and almost all of the astronauts over the last few decades have been hams.
When hams talk to each other, they often confirm their contacts with what is called a QSL card. You can see my QSL card here.
I actually have two radio stations. There is a modest station in my weekday home in New Jersey, but the big station is in Sullivan County in New York State, only a few miles from the original Woodstock Site. It is this property that is pictured on my QSL card. The photograph was taken from one third of the way up a much taller tower! There are two houses, an A-Frame clearly visible that serves as a guesthouse and a main house for the family. Two guests are shown using the station, which is in the loft upstairs. Jack, a researcher at Princeton, and Hal, an international business consultant, joined me for a radio "contest". During a single weekend, we spoke to nearly 2,000 people in more than 120 countries!
The main house is barely visible to the left in my QSL card, down the hill toward the lake.
The taller of the two towers is nearly 40 meters high. It is from this that the QSL card photograph was taken. Here is a photograph of that tower taken during a snow storm. You will notice that there are many different antennas pointing in different directions. Each antenna is designed to resonate (like a piano wire) on a different frequency band. Many of the antennas can be rotated so as to point directly at distant stations. Others are fixed in the direction of Europe, where most of the international hams are reachable from the eastern United States.
The country house is perfect for radio work since it is in an isolated part of the country with few neighbors to complain, and very little electrical interference. Most of the time we (I have a wife who is also a ham, along with two teenage boys) live in suburban New Jersey. In fact, nearly the entire town is in an Historic District. Luckily, my house was built in 1928, and because I could document that there were plenty of amateur radio operators in our town then, the historic preservation society granted me permission to erect a modest antenna in my back yard.
Amateur radio operators the world over are licensed only after a fairly rigorous examination process. After passing the test, the ham is issued a “call” that uniquely identifies that station uniquely on the planet. The first part of the call, referred to as the prefix, is allocated to the country of residence, and the issuing authority within that country assigns the rest of the call. For example, my call is N2BA. The United States is allowed to issue call letters beginning with A, K, N, and W. The United Kingdom issues calls beginning with G and M. Some foreign countries will automatically grant operating privileges to visiting hams, while others will require that permission be specifically requested. I have been granted the following licenses: 7J1AGE-Japan, 8P6IM-Barbados, S7BA-Seychelles, V26BA-Antigua, 3D2HQ-Fiji, VK2IWJ-Australia. In addition, I’ve been granted temporary authority in the past to operate from among others; Guam, Saipan, Nepal, Bermuda, England, Scotland, Puerto Rico, U. S. Virgin Islands, Curacau, Canada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Iceland.
If I can find the time, I'll begin letting you know more about my specific ham radio travel adventures.
The amateur radio abbreviation for long distance is: DX. So when a ham talks to someone far away, he says he is “Working DX” and when he takes his equipment on a long trip, he is going on a “DXpedition”.
For a great list of people the world over who offer their home stations (“ham shacks”) to visitors , see:
If you want to learn more about ham radio, I might suggest: Ham Radio Introduction
Neither of these are commercial organizations. Also, please feel free to write to me if you’d like to learn more.
73, Brooke, N2BA
P. S. 73 is a ham radio abbreviation for “Best Regards”
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“Travel should be more learning from others and less entertaining oneself”
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- Brooke Allen
- Glen Ridge, New Jersey
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