This is where people normally talk about their extensive HAM shack, complete with a multitude of radios, a forest of antennas, and some sort of amplifier that could be launched into low Earth orbit.
No such luck here.
In the late 1980's I got into CB radio and had a Radio Shack TRC-492 Navaho base station pumping electrons into a rather majestic 102" Radio Shack fiberglass mast on the top of my parents' house. It was a ton of fun, and I felt terribly important when I received my Canadian CB operator's license (the CRTC no longer licenses CB operators, I'm told). But I went off to college in the early 1990's when cellular telephones were becoming commonplace and was soon sporting a sheik Nokia 121.
About a year ago I was cleaning out some old books and came across an old ARRL book from the 1970's. It had belonged to my grandfather, and I remembered reading through it as a child. In fact, it was this book that kindled my childhood interest in electronics, which would make me a devoted follower of Forrest Mims III's handwritten electronics books (there were about eight, I recall), which I kept on a wire loop so that they wouldn't get separated. I still have them, complete with my carefully handwritten childhood notes.
But back to HAM. Finding my grandfather's ARRL book last year rekindled my old interest in amateur radio (the dangers of leaving electronics books laying around my house), and earlier this year I decided to get licensed. After diligently studying (thank you hamstudy.org!) I was tested (thank you Central Carolina VE Team!), passed (yay me for acing the exam!) and licensed as a Technician on 27 Dec 2016.
Which brings us full circle back to the radio. I decided to start modesty with this little Beofung UV-82 V2+ radio for a few reasons: it was inexpensive ($52.99 on Amazon), it puts out enough power to make it a worthy companion on my infamous romps through the North Carolina countryside, and it has a removable antenna that would allow me to run something a bit larger on my truck. Not one of those gigantic masts, but something like this.
As is du rigueur in the HAM world, I have setup my QRC.com page and look forward to logging contacts in the area.
Update on 1/7/2017: I added a Kenwood TH-F6A handheld to the stack. A much more substantial and well-designed radio, it's a nice upgrade from the Baofeng. The guy that sold it to me also included a Diamond SRH77CA antenna, which seems to work really nicely with this radio. I'm pulling in 145.21 MHz Raleigh repeater operated by the Piedmont Coastal Repeater Network from my living room.
Oh yeah, and I joined the Raleigh Amateur Radio Society. Very much looking forward to going to their next meeting on January 10th!