My highest interest at this point in over 45 years of amateur radio is in microwaves. I already know I can talk anywhere in the world on the HF bands. But talking is not my primary interest with amateur radio. I am more the techie guy who likes to create the equipment and make the hardware work.
The “microwaves” as I will simply call it, is still the builder’s delight. Almost no operational station comes as a single unit, RTR (ready to run) in a box that you plug into the wall socket. Some components may be off-the-shelf, like the primary IF transceiver. Many components are kits and scratch built. Microwaves are not an appliance operator’s vision of heaven.
I am becoming associated with the North Texas Microwave Society (NTMS) as I realize there is an extreme disadvantage to being a loner in trying to construct a microwave station. When it comes time to operate, much of the time the contacts are pre-arranged. It’s not like deep ocean fishing on the HF bands, where you throw out your baited line to see what bites. I think of it as a paintball game where the object is to let everyone know where you are so they can shoot at you. The goal in microwaves is to get hit as often as possible. Oh yeah, you get to shoot back as you both want to get paint on your shirt.
My activities for now will concentrate on design and construction of the hardware. I have no deadline (yet) such as an impending contest where I need to be operational. However that may influence the final push later on. As I write this in September, it is currently the second weekend of the 10GHz and above contest.
I believe I will need at least six months and maybe a year to get a fully operational station built. I intend to enjoy the construction as a major part of the effort, spreading cost and effort. This first build creating a 10 GHZ station is providing the basic components for expanding operations into many other VHF, UHF and microwave bands. There can be a long road ahead.