My grandfather sparked my interest in Radio and CW. I remember visiting my grandparents for a few weeks each year during the summer, listening to him rag chew with his friends. When I got old enough to play with a soldering iron, I built a Code Oscillator and used it with a J-38 key to practice. I wore out a set of those “Learn the Code” cassette tapes before finally passing my 5 wpm Novice test in 1990. I spent a year on 40 m CW with my straight key plugged into a Yaesu FT-7 and a mobile vertical whip clamped to the railing of a second floor apartment, having fun getting QSL cards from all over the West Coast.
Continuing on, I got my General, and got a QRO boat anchor station going, but still kept my key plugged in and was comfortable copying at 13 wpm. Like a lot of us do, I lost interest in radio and was off the air many years until, around 2018, I happened to plug in the old Kenwood hybrid and tuned around the bands. I have plenty of room for wire antennas at my QTH, so this past 4 years has been an amazing journey that has led to a huge collection of old radios that I have restored, and building a decent station and antenna system. I upgraded to Extra and bought my first paddle & keyer, and realized I was going to need some help getting back to where I used to be at 13 wpm. I could never have imagined I would be going above that.
I took the intermediate CW Academy course in 2020 and enjoyed it very much, but I have not made time for the next course and hope to do that next year. I am very thankful for having heard about CWT as I thought I was stuck at 13 wpm and unable to copy anything without a pencil in my hand.
My main station is a Flex 6600 and I finally got a 55′ tower up last year. I am in a constant state of change here, so the radio, amp, keys, antennas could be any of a dozen that get moved around all the time. My QTH is Valley Springs, CA, where I live with my wife and our 2 dogs.
This summer our young granddaughters were visiting and the oldest has expressed an interest in my radios, so I bought a code oscillator kit and she did all the soldering on it. It worked the first time we tried it! Hopefully one or more will become a CWop in the future.This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.