As a teenager, I somehow sweated through my 5 wpm Novice test in 1977 and was licensed as WB7NXL. Being young and broke, I never did get on the air. My ticket expired and my interest in ham radio lay dormant for over 40 years.
When the pandemic hit, and as retirement approached, I decided to study up and get my license back. My closest friend from high school, Mike K7NT, was always an active CW operator, and for that and many other reasons I decided that I would only operate CW. The tools available now are far superior to what I had in the 70s and I set out on a program of self-study to re-learn the code. I don’t remember how I learned of the CW Academy, but in January of 2022 I landed in a beginner’s class, and by the end of that term I was on the air and making real QSOs. I never imagined that I would get any faster than the old 13 wpm General standard, but I found that, like many other skills, it’s neither easy nor difficult, but simply a matter of putting in the effort. Simply doing the homework and participating in the Intermediate and Advanced classes was all that was needed to enjoy success far beyond what I thought possible.
One very memorable highlight of my journey came this June, when Mike and I were invited to drive out to Montana for Field Day. Our host was Chris KL9A, and I found myself in the company of ops who were light years ahead of me. I wasn’t sure I’d even be permitted to touch a key, but Chris plunked me down in a chair and said “you got this.” I ran for many hours and heard nothing but the most encouraging words the whole weekend.
I enjoy portable and QRP operating, and tinkering or experimenting in general. When not on the radio, I can often be found out in my shop doing woodworking projects. I especially enjoy building furniture and cabinets. I’ve built three Dobsonian telescopes, including grinding the mirrors. Stargazing on a clear night is a special joy. And on clear days, I still enjoy throwing a leg over the Harley and heading out on two wheels. I’ve done quite a bit of long-distance riding, including an epic, five-week ride across North America, going east in the northern U.S and back on the Trans-Canada Highway.
I would like to publicly acknowledge and thank my CWA advisors. In temporal order, I am forever grateful to Randy N1SP, Tom WA9CW, Steve WD4CFN, Phil NE0S, and Christine K0ALT. These people provided endless encouragement and support, and believed in me before I believed in myself. The hobby is in good hands with these people.This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.