Amateur Radio
N4mqu at the shack

N4MQU Mark Gibson VFN #72 BH #19 sitting in front of his ham radio in his office.

Welcome to my amateur radio page.  I have been licensed since 1980.  How did I get started in amateur radio? I was at a star party in the middle of nowhere (near Tidewater, VA) so I could view some astronomical objects away from city lights. I was about 25 years old at that time and a friend needed to call home. This was before cell phones so my friend Don Wright used his amateur radio to allow my friend to call home. Shortly after that event I started studying for my license. Speaking of ham radio, are you currently licensed or do you need to upgrade? For free? Be sure to navigate to my Five County Ham Radio Enthusiasts club page. A lot of information on how to study and resources you can use for this new adventure you are about to take. The FCC allows Volunteer Examiner Clubs to charge a fee to help offset the cost of processing the exam. I never felt right about charging. I had noticed a couple of years ago one of the biggest Hamfest does not charge. I started checking and found out the Laurel VEC did not charge. I found out who to contact and after getting information I signed up. It turned out I started the first free team in North Carolina. We have so far administered 80 exams saving our applicants $1200. There now have 7 free teams in North Carolina.

A few notes about my amateur radio activities. I am an active member of the Virginia Fone Net. They have been in service since 1934. I call the net every Wednesday at 4:00 PM ET on the frequency of 3.947MHZ. I enjoy calling the net and I like to say it helped me recover from my shyness stage of many years. As you join the VFN you get a number assigned to you.  My number is #72.  We limit our membership to 150 members but do award lifetime membership periodically.  The picture on top of this article is of me in the hamshack.  You will see that I am wearing a Bandhoppers shirt.  Bandhoppers is a group founded in 2018. According to their about page “We believe that social media can add to the ham radio experience. It is a place where we can mentor new hams, share information, and plan activities.  I won the shirt In a lottery on one of the cofounders (Todd Lee N4USS) birthday.

I hope you enjoy my website.