It’s a great honor to be part of the CWops community. A big thank you to John Laney K4BAI for nominating me, and for the sponsorship of N3JT, NF8M and W9ILY. It will be a great privilege to help fulfill the CWops mission of advancing the state of the art of Morse code activities.
I was first licensed as a teenager in Socorro, New Mexico in 1987, and with the help of Elmer Larry Beno WA6GFE, I got hooked on CW and DXing, even with my Novice license. I was able to put up a used tribander with an Armstrong rotator. And equipped with a Ten-Tec Argosy I worked more than 200 countries, many on CW. Larry taught me that busting a pile-up with 40 watts was harder on SSB. I also started attending meetings of the Albuquerque DX Association, and got a taste of contesting, learning from AA5B, N7KA and others. I upgraded to Extra in early 1989, and got my current callsign.
When I moved up to a proper keyer, I decided that in order to prepare for contesting success, I should teach myself to send code with my left hand, so I could log with my right hand. I’m not ambidextrous but even now sending code with my right hand is awkward.
I went to college in New York to study electrical engineering, where I soon joined the college amateur radio club. In my freshman year, I entered the California QSO party from the college station, and still have the bottle of wine the NCCC sent to an 18-year old for placing in the top 20 out of state (now empty, with a candle in it). The end of that contest marked the beginning of my long QRT. I pursued other hobbies in college – including rock climbing – and drifted away from engineering, and finished my degree in Asian studies. I then went to graduate school in history, and wrote a dissertation (later turned into a book) about the history of science in Indonesia. One of the pleasant surprises of returning to the hobby now is to see the popularity of amateur radio in YB land. I did always remember to renew my license.
I am currently a history professor at Augusta University, Georgia, and am married with two teenage boys in the house (my older son Sage is KO4BUR). In early 2019 I bought a rig, put up a wire, and made my first contacts in 28 years, using CW of course. I was delighted to find how useful computers are (thank goodness dupe-sheets are in the past), and only logged my first 20 or so contacts on paper. Sending code left-handed is just a novelty now with so much done from the keyboard.
I still enjoy contesting and DXing. Morse code is perfect for sharing space with three other people (especially in the middle of the night). In the last year I’ve improved my station with better antennas. Every weekend seems to have another contest to build skills, although the time commitment for really competing is not yet possible – there are always important family commitments, and I still will pause every Sunday morning for my weekly long run. I look forward to learning from you all.