Björn Ekelund , SM7IUN

CWops# 2101, from Bjarred , Skåne , Sweden.---->View on Google maps

I returned to ham radio just a little more than two years ago after a 25-year break but, as for most hams, it all started very early. Up to second grade primary school I lived in Jönköping in the southern half of Sweden. The neighbor’s son (who I years later was able to identify as SM7CCP) was about ten years older than me and tinkered with tube electronics and radio in their basement. Watching and “helping” him, plus of course following the Apollo program with awe, laid the foundation for a lifelong passion for electronics and radio. 

Initially I channeled this into shortwave broadcast listening but soon found there was a way to have your own callsign and permission to transmit. In the late spring of 1977 I bought a text book and a set of eight code training cassettes. In August that year I took the theory and 8 WPM tests with full score. I wish it was as easy to learn things these days. A few years later (having reached the required age of 18) I got my full class A license.

My first station consisted of a Star SR-700A receiver with a Hallicrafters HT-40 transmitter. The HT-40 was initially controlled by WWII surplus FT-243 crystals, tuned to useful frequencies using wet sand paper and pencil lead. When it was time, I did my military service as a radio op which was excellent training and brought me my 40 wpm diploma. The service also gave me some of my most valued friendships, which include some fellow CWops members. Then, joining college with studies and later academic research in electronics put ham radio very much on the back burner. Living in an apartment with no real antenna possibilities did not help either. With the birth of our first son in 1993 I was definitely QRT.

I am married to Katarina, also an electrical engineer. Since I was a very active ham when we met in 1982 she can “understand” my rekindled passion, but that does not mean she shares it. The same goes for my three children, unfortunately.

Professionally I have spent over 30 years with analog and digital radio technology, doing everything from basic research to product development and marketing. Since a few years back I am now in corporate R&D working with advanced electronics and antenna research.

In the spring of 2016 I was invited as a guest lecturer to the place of my military service and that, together with some gentle encouragement from old friends relit the passion. Forcefully.

I brought my old FT-101ZD out of its hibernation and put up a simple off-center-fed multiband dipole and it was pure joy. To my great pleasure (and honest surprise) my code skills were intact. Transmitting, however, took a few days to get back, and may not ever return to its former glory. I blame age.

Chasing DX has always been my main interest but since I never applied for a DXCC when I was young and my entire QSL collection was lost in a move many years ago, I started out with a completely blank LoTW account. Initially a huge disappointment, but soon found to be a blessing. Working up to half a dozen new band-entities per day some weeks, has been great fun. I have been quite dedicated in my chasing, (my XYL prefers the term “obsessed”) so earlier this year I got my DXCC Challenge 1000 plaque and a 5BDXCC, and I am currently only two entities on 12m shy of an 8BDXCC. The 9th band will have to wait; I do not really have the land for 160m antennas.

I also enjoy the software side of ham radio, something that did not really exist in the seventies. I have designed several Windows programs for station and radio management, written scripts for contest programs and I am also frequently assisting Dave AA6YQ in his work with the DXLab suite of programs.

My station is quite modest. Until early spring this year it consisted of two OCF dipoles (each about 30ft up) and an IC-7300. However, given its obvious advantages in both DX pile-ups and contesting I wanted a radio with a sub-receiver and realizing I may take forever to get an 80m DXCC barefoot I now also have an IC-7610 and an ACOM 600S amplifier.

Over the past year my interest in contesting has gradually increased. I have been greatly inspired by my friends’ passion and successes, not to mention doing over 4000 high-paced QSO with the special call signs 7S1FWC and SJ9HQ which on a very physical level reminded me of the fun and adrenalin associated with contests. I am starting to dabble in SO2V operation, which is great fun and keeps you far busier now when sunspots are low. Doing this I really treasure my service training, receiving with both ears.

Since my work brings me to many places I was thrilled to be able to participate in the August 8 CWT as M/SM7IUN with my KX2 and 50ft of wire out a hotel room window in Cambridge and the August 21 CWT as W6/SM7IUN with a portable magloop in a hotel room in Santa Clara. In the next few months I hope to do the same as I5/SM7IUN from Pisa and perhaps also VE2/SM7IUN from Montreal.

I am happy and proud to be accepted into the ranks of CWops and want to thank my friends and kind sponsors Mats SM6LRR/RM2D, Ingo SM5AJV/SE5E, Lasse SM5GLC, and Ed DK1WI.

This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.