My Photo at Age 11

Alan Thompson - AJ6AR

License Class: Extra

Rigs: ICOM 7300, ICOM 2730 

Antennas: Buckmaster 80-6 OCF Inverted dipole, Diamond X510 HDM VHF Dual-band Vertical

Clubs/Memberships: El Dorado County Amateur Radio Club, ARRL

Preferred Bands and Modes: SSB 80, 40, 20, FM 2 meters.

When I was just 11 years old, and living in Placerville with my family, I earned a Novice-class Amateur Radio license (WV6ZHL). I had the honor at that time of being the second-youngest ham radio operator in the United States (read the story in PDF format from the Mountain Democrat and Placerville Times, dated August 02, 1962).

Novice-class was the first of four licenses available back in 1962. In 1963, I earned a Technician-class license (WA6ZHL). I always wanted to earn a higher license class. But before I could master the 13 to 20 wpm code speed and electronics skills required, I entered into a different group of classes at my local High School and became more interested in cars and girls than radios. I quickly lost interest in Ham Radio altogether and let my license lapse.

Now 55 years later, after a career spent in high tech and satellite communications, I found myself wanting to renew my Ham Radio hobby and earn my license all over again. Only this time around, I'd promised myself I'd go straight to the top and pass all three exams at once.

One of my first steps to get back into Ham Radio was to join our local El Dorado County Amateur Radio Club ( where I could meet other local Hams, and start spinning up on current radio technology. This was one of the most important moves I made. There, I met a lot of great people who generously offered advice and assistance to a 'wannabe' Ham. I think it's absolutely vital for anyone thinking about becoming a Ham to connect with their local Amateur Radio Clubs first. My advice is to attend some club meetings in your area, and see if it works for you before you make an investment in hardware. Here, you'll find a welcoming group of fellow enthusiasts who are more than willing to share what they know, and answer questions you hadn't yet thought to ask.

My CertificateEven though I could have grandfathered in on my former Technician's license and skipped the Technician and General tests, I wanted to make sure I still had a grasp on the fundamentals. After two months of online study at and, I felt I was finally ready to pass the exams. A twice-yearly exam session, sponsored by the Rubicon Trail Foundation, was held on Saturday, December 2nd, 2017, in El Dorado Hills. I passed all three Exams, and earned my Extra-class ticket in one sitting.

<<< My sincere appreciation for all the VEs who donated their time, and then stuck around while I pondered my answers. Special appreciation for VEs Stephen Porten/KN6OX, Gordon Fuller/WB6OVH, Merv De Haas/WA6LYE, and Barbara Olson-Arenz/N6BOA.

Two weeks later, I received my new  call sign, AJ6AR (it just so happens my initials are "ART." How's that for a Vanity Call Sign right out of the gate?).

So much has changed in radio during the 55 years since I first earned my license, I feel a bit like a modern-day 'Rip Van Winkle' who woke up in another century. Now, we have communications satellites, computers, the Internet, smart phones, Google, and WiFi everything. Back then, all my gear used vacuum tubes. Now, radios are all like miniature computers.

When I announced I was going for my license, friends and family asked, "Why Ham Radio when you have Email, SKYPE, Twitter, Facebook, and instant, world-wide Internet communications?" For me, apart from the sheer fun of building my own radio station from scratch and talking with fellow Hams all over the world, I'm really interested in learning about how to help with emergency-response groups like ARES, CERT and RACES.

For me, the recent weather and fire disasters in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and California once again proved the value of Ham Radio operators who provided life-saving, local emergency radio communications when power, cell phone towers, and Internet connections were cut.  Now that I've regained my license, my dream is to outfit a complete mobile communications rig so I might be able to help some day when Ham Radio operators are called again to assist in another emergency.

In the meantime, I've been busy buying equipment for my new Shack, and stringing up antennas at my property where I and Debra Webster, my wife, live - just two miles from where I had first earned my license in 1962. I've started with an ICOM 7300 HF, and ICOM 2730 Mobile 144/440 Dual-bander, a Buckmaster 80-6 OCF Inverted dipole and a Diamond X510 HDM VHF Dual-band Vertical. >>>>

I had also bought a Powerwerx SPS-30DM power supply but it was bad out of the box and I replaced it with an Astron RS-35M. That took me three weeks to figure out since I could receive but not transmit. I'd always thought power supplies either worked or they didn't - nothing in between. Apparently, the Powerwerx had enough juice to light the receiver but not the transmitter. It wasn't until I hooked up a car battery to my rigs while trying to isolate noise problems that I realized the noise and transmit interference was actually coming from the power supply.

For my daytime job, I'm the owner and Chief Technical Consultant for El Dorado Networks (, a satellite TV and Internet service and installation company in Diamond Springs California. My wife says she just needs to figure out how get me back into the office every day, since I'd really rather be home gabbing on my radio.

You can find me mainly on 80, 40 and 20 Meter Sideband most mornings and evenings (Pacific). Also plugging into the local, weekly two-meter Nets whenever possible.

More about me HERE

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VSAT Satellite Internet Systems Installation and Consulting Services

Residential and Commercial VSAT Satellite Internet, Video and Audio systems installation and consulting services provided by Alan Thompson, owner, Principal Consultant and Chief Technician for El Dorado Networks. Alan has well over 30 years of residential and commercial satellite communications experience. He has personally supervised the installation of over 300 satellite Internet voice, data and Internet communications systems during that time and is familiar with design, installation, repair and maintenance of VSAT satellite Internet data and voice communications systems using iDirect- and HughesNet-based satellite Internet modems and radios, as well as Residential and Commercial DIRECTV and Dish Network satellite TV systems.

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Alan Thompson, consultant and installer fixed and mobile VSAT satellite internet systems installation technician, HughesNet, Starband, DirecPC, iDirect, Infinity 3000 Series, Evolution, Shaw Direct, Video Teleconferencing, VoIP telephone communications, remote uplink, downlink Receive-only, TVRO, Mining and Minerals Exploration, Oil and Gas Exploration, Drilling Platforms, Emergency Response, Disaster Recovery, Forestry, Fire-fighting Camps, Dam, Road Construction, motosat mobile satellite, Satellite Radio, Voice Over IP, VOIP Telephone, Baja Satellite Internet Communications, Placerville, Sierra Foothills, El Dorado County,Western United States (Northern and Southern California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and Washington), Baja California Sur, Northern and Central Mexico and Baja California Sur (Monterrey, San Luis Potosi, Santa Rosalia, Guerrero Negro, Huatulco, Oaxaca, Cancun, Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Merida, Chihuahua, Tijuana, Tecate, Sonora, Rosarito Beach, Tecate, Vizcaino, Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas,, Somerset), Central America (Honduras, Panama, Costa Rica) the Bajamas, Haiti, Guatamala, Ecuador, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Managua, Nicaragua, Santo Domingo, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Yucatan, Mexico City, Zacatecas, Matamoros, Xalapa, Aguascalientes, Saltillo, Guadalajara, Colima, Acapulco, Los Mochis, Mazatlan, Tepic, Hermosillo, Sonora Cuidad Obregon, Durango, Tampico, Veracruz, Campeche, Chetumal, Playa Del Carmen, Sacramento, San Francisco Bay Area.