G0VQY - Disabled Radio Ham
Ham radio is the perfect hobby for a disabled person. Many people who are wheelchair-bound are not able to leave their houses, therefore they often become lonely, depressed and just sit around doing nothing, normally vegetating in front of the television. The wintertime is probably the worst time for anyone who uses a wheelchair. The sun isn't shining, it's freezing cold and we are not able to sit outside and soak up the warmth of summer time. However, CB radio and especially amateur radio has been my absolute saviour for the last 20 years.
I have spent a considerable amount of money, time and effort in setting up an amateur radio station that I can operate totally independently without any help from anyone. I spend several hours a day now talking to people all around the world. These are people I have never met and probably will never meet, however we all have a common interest and that is communicating and socialising over the airwaves. The technology that is available nowadays enables me to operate my transceiver without really having to worry about lack of finger or hand movement. My radio, antenna system and rotator are all connected to the computer which means I don't even need to touch them, I use the computer almost entirely to control my communication equipment with just the touch of a button and ball on my trackball mouse. Some of my equipment has been slightly modified so that I can operate my microphone without any effort. I have purchased equipment that can be placed around my station so as to make operating a pleasure rather than a task.
Nowadays nearly all modern transceivers can be connected to a computer which means you can use various available software to control your radio. I use a piece of software called Ham Radio Deluxe which enables me to almost entirely control my radio from the computer. Amateur radio transceivers normally have very fiddly buttons which are not easy to use if you don't have very good finger movement. This is where Ham Radio Deluxe comes into its own, it has made my life so easy as all I need to do now is use my trackball mouse to make fine adjustments to the radio controls, in fact even able-bodied people find using the computer control easier than the radio itself. Ham Radio Deluxe also has the required logging system included which one set up properly means you need only type the persons callsign in. If you have problems using a keyboard when you could always use the on-screen keyboard. I also use another program called PSTrotator, this enables me to control my antenna rotator using the computer as well. It is a really fantastic piece of software, you can either use your mouse to select the area of the world you want to point you antenna to, or type the prefix of the country into the program and it will automatically adjust your rotator accordingly, there is absolutely no need to touch the rotator control apart from turning it on and off.
Ham radio has been an absolute godsend for me, I have made a lot of friends over the years and continue to do so. I don't think a day goes by when I am not transmitting on the airwaves somewhere. I have spoken to people all over the world including Australia, New Zealand, USA, Africa, Asia, just about anywhere you can think of. It's a sort of hobby that gets you hooked, once you start talking to people around the world you really don't want to stop.