I gained an interest in electronics and radio from an early age, sparked by being given a lovely wooden ‘Crystal Set’ by my grandfather when we visited him in Ireland. I must have been 8 years old at the time. It was set up as soon as we returned home and from that moment I was hooked by the magic of wireless.
By the time I was 13, my parents bought me a small transistor radio for Christmas, and it was soon taken apart and adjusted so that I could tune to am top band. Unknown to me at the time, a radio amateur lived just 100 m down the road and was happily chatting to friends on 160 m – this chance contact led me to our wonderful hobby. I studied for my licence, persuading my headteacher to allow me to go to evening classes at college with adults. I learnt Morse code from Bob, G4CQF in St. Albans and by 1974 was on the air as G4DJX. With very little money and like many others before me, I built various valve transmitters and used an old BC348 for RX. Before leaving for University, I had acquired a KW Viceroy TX and was enjoying CW on HF bands.
Radio took a bit of a back seat whilst at Exeter Uni, although I did help re-establish the radio club there with the help of some fellow students who were also amateurs.
I entered the world of education in 1980 and continue to be part of this amazing public service. My degree was in Chemistry so, naturally, I have taught sciences throughout my career. I have been a headteacher for 22 years now leading two schools directly and, most recently, also serve as the executive lead of a trust of seven local schools.
I run a radio club at school and since 2016 have helped over 30 students gain their foundation and intermediate licences. We activate the school station weekly and also participate in Youngsters on the Air each year. In 2019, four of the licenced students accompanied us on a trip to our partner school in The Gambia and helped operate my other callsign, C5DX, whilst there.
My interests in amateur radio are wide ranging, although my work does keep me very busy. Tend to get up early each morning and work whatever is about and then dabble over the weekends. 99% of my operation is CW.
Sarita and I have three fantastic children (all adults now), although none of them have any interest in radio. But they do tolerate me taking the K3 on holidays!
My other hobby is sport and I continue to play competitive rugby for a local club.
A big thank you to Mike, AD5A for nominating me for CWops and I look forward to working many of you on the bands.This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.