Hugo Campos W6OAK
PX1C0706 was my very first call sign. I must have been about 13 years old and was living in Rio de Janeiro at the time. “CHiPs” and “The Dukes of Hazzard” were popular TV shows, and the custom police Kawasakis, whip antennas, and CB-equipped muscle cars featured in every episode made a lasting impression on me.
After getting my first transceiver, a citizen’s band Cobra 148 GTL, I joined a local radio club and became its youngest member. The “Lucky Sharks,” as we were known, would organize events like “fox hunts,” tower-raising parties, and afternoons focused entirely on building antennas. It was an active group.
As a kid, I had great interest in electronics and often built my own transistor radios, “police” sirens, and mosquito repellent circuits (which hardly ever worked) from kits I would order from electronics magazines. My first base antennas were home built – I got the plans and the help from a fellow club member. We bought the aluminum tubing and together erected a three-element Yagi and ground plane antenna in just over a month. We mounted both antennas on a single 40-foot-tall telescoping mast with a rotor, and boom, I was on the air. I was thrilled to build this rotating antenna and took great pride in my newfound hobby.
Photo by Greg KM6LTY
In Brazil, citizen band radio is allowed twice as many channels as in the U.S. and stations can operate in frequencies from 26.965 MHz to 27.855 MHz in AM and SSB with up to 25 watts. But in the early 1980s, local laws were lax and it was not uncommon for operators to use linear amplifiers and modify their radios to operate way into the 10-meter band. This significantly increased our chances of making long-distance contacts. I would spend hours on end searching for remote stations and often stayed up late making contacts as far away as Argentina, Paraguay and other parts of Brazil.
As I headed toward adulthood, other professional interests took priority over radio. Passionate about personal computers, I pursued a career in computer programming. After college, I worked for a few years in FORTRAN, COBOL and PASCAL. A keen interest in 3D modeling and animation brought me to the Bay Area, where I launched a career in advertising and digital marketing. For the past 10 years, I’ve worked in health care advocacy with an emphasis on patient rights to health care data. In 2015, I was named a White House Champion of Change for Precision Medicine by President Barack Obama for my data liberation work.
I was inspired to return to radio in May 2018 after completing CORE (Communities of Oakland Respond to Emergencies) training and forming a neighborhood emergency response team. I obtained a Technician license after completing a one-day class offered by the Benicia Amateur Radio Club (BARC). Discovering and joining the Oakland Radio Communications Association (ORCA) has been immensely rewarding, especially in that it has spurred a new passion for public service. ORCA is a valuable resource to all residents of Oakland and the broader Bay Area, and I am so proud to be a part of it.