Craig Szczutkowski , N2DA

It’s an honor to be a member of CWops – many thanks to my CWA Intermediate Advisor, John, AJ1DM, and my CWA Advanced Advisor Joe, KK5NA. Thanks to both of them and CWA I have gotten back to really enjoying CW.

I’ve been a ham since 1970 – WN3OWX, then WA3OWX in PA, before getting my Extra and current callsign while living in Syracuse, NY in 1977. Though I worked a lot of CW in my early days, my time on the air lapsed soon after my college years. I had fun working in military electronics and public safety mobile communications engineering, product development, and later, in marketing and international sales. I kept my license and a station on the air, but was fairly inactive until about 10 years ago.

After some good-natured prodding from my college-era ham buddies to get back on the air, I joined their sideband sked, and less often, their CW sked. But my CW was rusty and I struggled to keep up at 15 WPM. Luckily, one of them (John, AJ1DM) is a CWops Member and Advisor who, each time a new semester rolled around, invited me to sign up. While I passed on his initial invites, after COVID-19 hit I felt the time was right. I completed his Intermediate class in May 2020, and Joe’s (KK5NA) Advanced class this February. Boy, what a difference the two classes have made – I’m back to really enjoying CW and am more proficient than I had ever been in my younger days. I enjoy CW ragchewing, occasional contesting, QRP’ing, and DX’ing. I also enjoy restoring old tube and transistor radios.

Until a few years ago, my main rig was the HW-100 I built while in high school in 1970. I picked up an ‘old’ Drake TR7 from a ham friend in 2013. Felt like I entered the modern era, with solid state and the 100 Hz digital readout! Been using a Kenwood TS-590SG since 2017. I also have a Ten-Tec PM2B QRP rig which I just put on the air after about 40 years. I still have my novice receiver, a BC348-Q (recently rebuilt the power supply) and recently bought an old Knight T-60, which was my novice transmitter back in 1970. I tend to mainly work 80, 40, and 20 Meters with the TS-590SG, but am looking forward to 15 and 10 opening up again.

My antenna is a 130 ft center fed (ladder line) multiband dipole strung to fit in the attic. With a Dentron Jr tuner, it loads up pretty well on 80 through 10 Meters, and I don’t have to worry about windstorms and falling tree branches!

My wonderful wife of 23 years, Laurie, enjoys quilting as much as I enjoy radio. Fortunately, the pandemic has been conducive to both of our hobbies! We love travelling and visiting with friends and family – hope to be able to get back into it soon.

I look forward to meeting more CWops members on the air, as well as encouraging other hams’ use of CW.