Hello from K0NNK. I'm going to take you along my amateur radio journey.
It all started when I was 6 years old; My dad took me to a LPFM FM Broadcast Radio Station in Sugar Land, TX. You see, my dad was always wanted and was interested in FM radio broadcast stations and had a big passion for all kinds of Christian music.
Ever since that day for some reason it clicked in my brain and at 6 years old I wanted a radio station, a big dream for a 6 year old but did come true in time... Fast forward about 2 years and I heard about ham radio and amateur radio. I was browsing the internet on my families laptop and heard about ham radio and amateur radio. I did have a bit of confusion in my head about the two and here's what I thought. I thought that amateur radio was commercial and ham radio was non-profit. What I mean by that is this, you see FM and AM radio station play music and some of them play commercials and some are non-profit also called non-profit.
I saw that I needed a license for a amateur radio license (just like FM and AM radio stations) so I found a online free ham radio study guide (not hamstudy.org but similar) and started studying. I was a little confused on what everything in their they were saying. I got confused and pushed it to the side.
Fast Forward to when I was 10 years old. We moved up from Houston, Texas to Elkader, Iowa. It was a big change but we have been in Iowa two times before to visit my grandmother that lived in Elkader. Back to the story. So, we made friends with a family that lived right next door to my grandmothers house (we lived 1 block from my grandmothers house) the parent of his son Josh (that we made friends with) named John had some conversations with me. John and I started talking about radio. This refreshed my brain to the time I heard about ham radio. I was fascinated by what he said and was researching a lot about ham radio. When I was getting close to 11 years old I asked and told my parents what I wanted for Christmas (which was ham radio) I explained a little bit about it but I was to young and they didn't understand a lot about ham radio so they said no. I never left or forgot about ham radio; I started watching tons of videos of ham radio on YouTube and I was getting tons of experience (about the same as a new technician).
When I was turned 11 I told my Dad again about ham radio and showed him ham radio prep. I don't know if he forgot about the conversation a few months back or what but he said yes to me buying ham radio prep with my money. I started studying for my ham license and on my birthday (Feb 20th 2021) I got a Baofeng BF-F8HP radio. Now, I didn't have a license and I was just playing around with the radio. I tried to listen to ham freqs but never got anything. Later on, I found out that there were no repeaters in our area and NO VHF/UHF traffic for the ham bands.
About a month after my birthday I was going to go to Dubuque, Iowa to try to pass my technician which we canceled that plan cause a couple days before their was a big snow storm and the roads were still a mess.
In early summer I was going to go there again to try to pass my technician test but the computer broke down so I couldn't refresh my memory with the stuff I studied so that never happened.
Finally, in Late summer On August 7th 2021 at 11 years old I passed my technician at the Cedar Valley Hamfest in Central City, IA. I passed my license and then went and bought some radios at the hamfest! On August 9th 2021 the FCC gave me a callsign of KF0GJI! I later applied for a vanity of N0DYG.
Honestly I think I'm glad that I passed the tech 6 months after I would of. The reason being is the hamfest, experience that I have grown and finding info of ham radio stuff in my area and knowing what to expect.
At the time my callsign was in progress to change (takes 20 ish days) an amateur radio operator moved right next door to me (Mike AC0LJ). He was a extra and had a lot of experience. Almost every Saturday we would go and listen to HF traffic on his Icom HF radio in his shack. While he was moving in 2 of his friends (Alvin KC9MCC and someone else) helped him move in one time. I later became friends with Alvin KC9MCC who I talk to sometimes on the repeater across the great Mississippi River in Wisconsin.
Around the same time I made my first QSO with William WT0V in late August on the W0II repeater in Manchester, Iowa. Fast Forward to October 2021 I won the Anytone 878 UVII Plus from BridgeCom Systems, which is a big story in its own. So with the Anytone whenever I would travel to Waterloo or Cedar Rapids Iowa I would make contacts on BM TG 3119 (Iowa Statewide) and sometimes listen on WW 91.
Now on December 25th 2021 for Christmas I got a AURSINC MMDVM Hotspot (just like the Jumbospot) and I got it working around 8 PM on Christmas day. All the time on January and the last few days of December I made contacts all day on WW 91 (DMR) with my Anytone radio. Now I could talk to people around the world at my house.
Now in early January I wanted to form a DMR youth net (after me finding a few youth that I talked to on WW 91) this was called the Digital Youth Net and we met 6:45 PM every Saturday starting on the third Saturday of January. Later we formed a net for Friday and Sunday. I was the "head" of this small net and we were almost like a group. So in early February we started a youth group. We called it the "Digital Youth Net Group" we sent out emails every week and sometimes did giveaways.
Right after we did that I found Discord. Thank JJ K0NH for inviting me to his youth group (in Central Iowa) which had a Discord server. After that I decided to copy what JJ K0NH did. I made a Discord server for the Digital Youth Net Group. In late February JJ K0NH pushed us to get a ham radio license for the group. So in late February we changed the name of our group the Digital Youth Net Group to Digital Youth Group and got a callsign from the FCC as KF0IAG. We applied a vanity (N0DYG) the same day.
At that time I decided to go and study for my general class license. On March 28th 2022 I passed my general license using a online program, and started to make QSOs on HF.
Fast forward to July 2022, I started to get into a lot of tech stuff and VOIP stuff. I got a Hams Over IP extension and Hamshack Hotline extension so I could call people and listen to various Allstar nodes on HH and HOIP. In August I got a Allstar node (57686) and started having fun and playing around with it. I linked Echolink and HOIP to it and formed a small linking system / Allstar hub call "KAS" or "K0NNK Allstar System."
So, today, I am a active amateur radio operator and big tech person. I own a server that runs various things including this website and my Allstar System. I'm active on my clubs DYG Discord Server and doing lots of tech things.
Whatever you do in your live wither it be young, or old; push forward and keep living that dream and make it a realty, I did at 11 years old, so can't you?