My name is Vance Martin, Amateur Extra callsign N3VEM. I am a forty something happily partnered father, who happens to love ham radio! I became aware of the hobby/service as a teenager, when I stumbled on some of my dad’s old radio books, and later when I heard hams on the air using an MFJ World Band Shortwave Receiver that I was given as a kit. I didn’t actually become a ham however, until April of 2014. I’m a self proclaimed geek, so ham radio and all the electronic fun it implies is right up my alley!
Please also see my personal inclusivity statement
My ham radio “career” has taken on several distinct phases:
The Early Years
When I started in ham radio I was exclusively mobile on HF, VHF, and UHF. My day job was as a field supervisor in the Fire Alarm service industry, so much of my radio time happened while traveling between customer sites. I was also actively working on my information systems degree at the same time, so quite a few of my early contacts also took place from the parking lot at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, in between the end of my work day and when my classes started.
The Middle Years
With a job change (same company, different role), came a TON of additional travel. Luckily I had already been geared up for “portable” based on the equipment I had from the early years. I started doing a lot of long distance road trips, and a lot of flying with my gear. If you check out the posts on my legacy blog from that time frame, you’ll find a lot of information about how I planned trips, traveled with my gear, etc. It was also conveniently during this time that the ARRL held its year-long National Parks on the Air program (NPOTA), which is how I got bitten by the “park” bug.
The Recent Years
The trend here is that my participation in Ham Radio changed styles as I had life and job changes. Since the end of 2019 / start of 2020 I’ve been working exclusively from home, so I now do very little portable operating. From 2017 through the end of 2022 I also considered myself a portable “enabler”, because I was using my freshly minted Information System degree to volunteer as a developer with Parks on the Air. Helping to build and run a system that makes it possible for others to get the same thrill I got during NPOTA was a blast, and I ended up involved with quite a few other aspects of POTA as well. As my family grew, however, I had to hang up my POTA hat in November of 2022. My available radio time is sporadic, but I end up dabbling with something for a least a few minutes, several nights a week, so now pretty much everything I’m up to you can find here on this blog.
Change is always good! I love learning new things, and I plan on continuing that. Right now I’m in the “automation” phase of my ham shack, so as we keep moving forward through time, I’ll be sharing more information about the hardware and software dabblings I do to make my shack an integrated system, instead of just a collection of equipment. I’ve also been dabbling with running a repeater, building model rockets with radios in them, and starting a project to try and encourage more inclusivity in amateur radio. I hope you come along for the ride!