Same here, both tickets. I love GMRS. I don't know why it's scoffed at by everyone. No, you won't be talking skip with it but it fills a niche. These days there's a lot of really nice GMRS radios to choose from and pretty decent repeater options. Having one license to cover the family is also pretty convenient. myGMRS.com - GMRS Repeater Directory will keep you updated on repeaters.I have been licensed since 2005 (Technician Class). I also have a GMRS license for family communication as my wife does not have a ham ticket at the present.
Had the same problem, going barefoot with 100 watts I found early on wasn't cutting it.Have been licensed since 87. Just recently became active on the HF bands again and check into a few WAS nets once a week or so. Finally got mysrlf an amplifier and usually run about 600 watts. Makes a big difference during the marginal conditions we've been having.
With a 40' tower you could throw a bent paper clip upLicensed in 2004 as a Technician, did the 5 wpm Code to get Technician Plus and just stayed there for awhile even after the code requirement was dropped.
The only reason I got my General class was to honor my friend, David, who became a SK at the age of 45 from a heart attack. He'd given me the gift of a study manual for General class. Seemed the thing to do. (CQ CQ CQ Whisky AMERICA Six Tango Papa Juliette... Still miss you, bud.)
Went ahead and got the Extra class some time later just to see if I could do it. 1x2 Vanity callsign and everything.
Never really had a decent HF rig. Played around with an old Yaesu FT-101E for a bit when I first got started, but it was out of tune to the point of frustration and I sold it. Scratch-built a few antennas for the 2-meter band that worked quite well from a 40' tower, including a 3-element J-pole beam and a 10-element Cubical Quad.
Lost interest at some point and haven't done much since. Try to rekindle the interest a few times without result.
All I've got at the moment is a Kenwood TM-D710A and a GEOSAT APRS GPS unit, both gathering dust around here somewhere. Probably sell it all soon. Got a Butternut HF6VX antenna that's got to go, also.
Mike - N7somethingsomething