My ham radio career started in high school when I joined a ham radio Explorer post two of my friends were in. They had their Novice licenses. I didn’t want to mess with that Morse code stuff so I took and passed the conditional Technician test and received the call WB5GVE in 1972.
When it came time to upgrade my license I found getting the Technician license was a mistake. There were no HF privileges with the Tech so I couldn’t get on the air to practice my code. After listening to many records, tapes, and W1AW code practice sessions I thought I was ready to take the 13 wpm test and upgrade. In 1974 I drove to Little Rock and successfully passed the 13 wpm code test but I distinctly remember the FCC examiner calling out “SEWELL, you passed…just barely”. Just barely was close enough and I passed my General and Advanced written tests.
In 1976, my senior year in college, I went to the FCC office in Dallas and passed my Extra exam. Then in 1977 I applied for and received my current call, N5NA.
At the end of 1977 my employer sent me to London for four months training. I applied for a reciprocal license and received the call G5CFA. I took my Ten Tec Triton IV with me and was able to sneak a dipole on to the roof of my apartment building in downtown London.
In April, 1978, I was transferred to Norway. There I received the reciprocal call LA0CA. I was able to set up a 30’ tower with a TA-33.
I moved to Midland, Texas, in 1988. Between 1995 and 2001 I lived in New Orleans and Oklahoma City then back to Midland in 2001 and have been there ever since.
I enjoy contesting and DXing. Over the years I’ve operated mobile in several state QSO parties including TX, NM, KS, AR, LA, MS, GA, SC, and FL. The last few years I’ve concentrated on TX and KS. I try to make a good showing in SSCW every year since WTX can sometimes be a bit rare. The last few years I’ve been active on 6 m working on the Fred Fish Memorial Award. I need 11 grids to finish.
My station consists of an Elecraft K4D, KPA1500, and a 3 element SteppIR Yagi with the 30/40 m add-on mounted on an MA550 tubular crank up.
In addition to CWops I’m a member of the Midland Amateur Radio Club and a Life Member of the ARRL.
In my professional life I was a drilling engineer with Phillips Petroleum and later Halliburton. I designed and coordinated the drilling of oil and gas wells in the North Sea and West Texas. I’m now retired.
I would like to express my appreciation to W5LXS for nominating me for CWops membership and to N7US, NE5A, KB3FW, and KR2Q for sponsoring me.
This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.