I first got involved with radio at about the age of 8, when I got a single crystal, cat whisker receiver. My brother-in-law, a radioman in the Navy, helped me set it up. Over the years, I built a number of Heathkit projects and really enjoyed that activity.
After collage, I became a high school mathematics teacher. The science teacher at the school was an Extra Class licensee (Bill – W6ZM (SK)) and he helped me with passing the 5 WPM Novice Class code requirement, and I was licensed and made my first CW contact in 1977 as WB6WKJ. Soon after that, I passed the 13 WPM code test and got my Advanced Class license. I thought about trying to get my Extra Class license, but was never able to conquer the 20 WPM code requirement.
After teaching for 11 years, I had an opportunity to get into the commercial aerospace industry. Lots of new stuff to learn, but I was able to continue with ham radio as a hobby until 1998, when I moved to a new QTH. This started a hiatus of about 21 years when I was totally off the air (but still maintaining my license). After spending 33 years in the aerospace industry, helping to design, build and test solar array subsystems for communications satellites, I retired.
I needed something to fill my time, and I decided to get back into ham radio. I joined the local radio club (South Bay Amateur Radio Association (SBARA)) and started thinking about getting my Extra Class license (no code test required). I passed the Amateur Extra class test in 2019 and became N6EFF. I followed that up with becoming a VE, helping the club in providing test opportunities for new and upgrading Hams. It was at this time that I first heard about CWOps during one of our club meetings.
That 20 WPM (now ex-test) requirement still bothered me: was I really and Amateur Extra class Op? I decided to sign up for the CWOps Intermediate course with the goal of knowing that I could pass a 20 WPM code test, if necessary. After the Intermediate class, I continue on into the CWOps Advanced course. And here I am, five months later, feeling humbled that I was sponsored to become an official CWOps member. I can’t thank the instructors and co-instructors in these classes enough, as well as my classmates, who prodded, poked and gently pushed me along my new CW journey.
I wish all of you continued success and enjoyment in this great hobby.This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.