AJ Stockton , NK4O

My story started early: my parents were both hams (now AA4RO & AG0K). When I was six, my parents shifted to sending each other CW while commuting so that my little ears would not know what was being discussed. So, by the time I was 8 years old in 1978, 5 WPM was in the bag and I had my Novice certificate, KA0EFG. Eventually, I would sit sidebar with my mom working November Sweepstakes, and learned how to pull high speed CW out of pileups. We were in Missouri at the time and always a needed multiplier! The next Novice Roundup, I operated and placed very high for the 0 area / Missouri section. My final step towards CW improvements was operating with the N0SS Field day crew. Wow, I was surrounded by really great operators.

BUT, sitting at the bottom end of the Novice band and missing out on all those operators down in the General portion drove me crazy. I had the 20 wpm certificate before even attempting to take the General theory. Of course, once I passed the General, it seemed like all the good DX stayed down in the Extra portion to have ‘less’ pile up noise. Of course, I had to buckle down and knock out the Advanced (which meant nothing for CW) and the illustrious EXTRA Class!

I have always worked CW with the exception of VOICE/QRP when commuting. Hurricane Andrew came in 92 and took everything away. Soon after we had kids, and life priorities consumed most of my time.

Recently, COVID put us all home bound, and in my down time I decided to search YouTube for high speed CW. Sure enough, I came across NG7M #1201 MAX, showing CWops operating. OH MY, hamming has come a LONG way with the cross pollination of computing and hamming, along with the incredible dashboards – I was ALL IN! Thanks for the hook MAX!

Appreciate all of you for letting me into the club, I have already started mentoring a non-ham, hoping to keep them on the brighter ‘CW’ side of things…