HAM Radio 101

Hams You Should Know: Josh Gould, AE8JG, DX Engineering Customer/Technical Support Specialist

Have you ever wondered who was the Ham on the other end of your call to DX Engineering? Well, we thought you’d like to know.

OnAllBands has been running a series of posts highlighting members of DX Engineering’s customer/technical support team—all accomplished Elmers ready to answer questions whether you’re building your next antenna or deciding which coaxial cable is best for your station.

Today we turn the spotlight on Josh Gould, AE8JG, DX Engineering’s newest team member. Josh was kind enough to answer a few questions about his quarter-century-long involvement in ham radio, from his first QSO to his EMCOMM and volunteer public service work. Have a question about assembling a Go-Kit or what you’ll need for operating in FT8 mode? We’re sure you’ll enjoy talking with him as much as OnAllBands did!

What first got you interested in Ham Radio? Do you remember getting your first license? What about your first QSO?

I first got into ham radio when I was 14 and was running around listening to the railroad on a scanner. Another teen my age rolled up next to me on a bicycle and started asking about the scanner. He told me that he and his dad were hams and that it was a lot of fun. I started to look into it and got hooked. My first QSO was a local ham who was on his way home from an Office Depot store in Columbus, Ohio. My call had just appeared in the FCC database and I didn’t have the paper copy yet, but as soon as I had my radio in my hand I had programmed in a few repeaters. I had just thrown my call out and he responded—and that was the start of this journey.

Do you have a favorite contact you’ve made? What’s the story behind it?

I don’t really have a favorite contact. My most memorable was my first contact after getting my General Class license in 2014. I was sitting there, spinning the knob on the radio, when I heard a foreign station calling CQ. I threw my call out and he responded. I was so shocked that I didn’t know what to do for a few moments. I recovered and my first contact on HF was also my first DX contact.

What do you enjoy most about Ham Radio?

I enjoy that there are so many different things you can get into in this hobby. Some say the “sky is the limit.” Well, in Ham Radio, it doesn’t stop with the sky—there are satellites and the moon as well. One can be involved in any number of aspects of the hobby simultaneously. For instance, I’m heavily involved in ARES and RACES, digital data modes on HF (where you’ll find me more often than not), digital voice on VHF/UHF, and maybe someday soon, trying to work the satellites.

Josh’s portable rig packed.

What advice do you have for people who are thinking of getting into the hobby or to those who have just received their Tech license? 

I would suggest buying a simple radio to start with and then growing into the more complicated radios. Learn how the radio works and learn how to program it without a computer. If you get involved in ARES, this step will save you a fair amount of grief. Actually use the radio. The more you use it, the more familiar you will become with it. 

Talk about your areas of expertise and how this expertise will benefit DX Engineering customers. 

I’m heavily involved in working FT8 and enjoy helping new operators get involved in working the various digital modes. I also try to get a feel for what a customer will be doing with their equipment and try to suggest equipment that both fits their needs and their budget.

Yaesu FT-450 at home.

Thanks for your time today! Anything else you’d like to add?

I’ve been licensed for just shy of 25 years, and there are still things that I learn every day. I recently got involved in Parks On The Air, and that’s something I enjoy. On the EMCOMM side of things, I have over 20 years of experience supporting the world’s largest multisport festival, going from a ham that was assigned to a medical table all the way up to the role of a site director, managing my own group of about 40 ham radio operators. That’s something I wouldn’t be able to say had I not started down the road 25 years ago. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next 25 years bring.

Portable rig deployed.

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