David McNeil , W6PHO

CWops # 1903, from Columbia , CA , USA.

At age 13 fell in love with CW and ham radio (in that order), studied for my novice (reading breakfast cereal boxes in code), and built Heathkits.  I was hooked for life.  My Elmers were in the University of Arkansas club (W5YM); I was a charter member.  Soon I was contesting, and as K5GRT I won the CW Sweepstakes for the Arkansas section in 1959.  I also qualified for copying W1AW at 20 wpm, in 1958. 

I lapsed into inactivity during my college years.  When I acquired a family, a Stanford Ph.D. (in European history) and a teaching job (San José State University), I was too busy for the hobby, although I missed it greatly. My half century of QRT included several years living and working in France and Italy.

Then came retirement and a new wife, who provided me with a radio shack. It’s a cottage in her back yard among tall pine trees, in Columbia, a rural foothills community outside Sonora, California. I invested in an IC-7600, began making wire antennas, and got back on the air in 2014. My new Elmers are in TCARES: the Tuolumne County Amateur Radio and Electronics Society. With their encouragement I recently upgraded from General to Extra and finished my DXCC (sixty years after my first DX contacts).

I have also set up a station at my San Francisco home (IC-7300 to a 80/40 dipole barely off the roof). It was there that I stumbled into one of K6RB’s CWA sessions. When I later signed up for the CW Academy, Will (WJ9B) helped get my copying speed up to well over 25 wpm, and I got over intimidation about CWT speeds. In keeping with my desire to improve my code skills I work only with paddle and ears. I also enjoy the further challenge of operating with only 100 watts and wire antennas (no amp, no keyboard).

I am delighted to be part of the CWOPS club and look forward to QSOs and other activities with you.