I became interested in radio at age 5 when my parents bought me a Heathkit Crystal Radio Kit for Chanukah. Late at night when the local stations turned their power down I could hear stations from Upstate and Connecticut. I was fascinated. My interest in science and electronics increased and I used to take my red Flexible Flyer wagon around the neighborhood to pick up discarded radios and use the parts from several to make a working one.
I was first licensed as a General at age 12 along with two other young hams, Scott, WA2EQF, and Vince, WB2EZG but the local radio club made no bones about not wanting “kids” around so the three of us formed our own group, doing Field Day together for over 40 years, beating the local club many times because we were all good operators on both CW and SSB, and were young and hungry.
All of us were licensed in the era where to get your General you had to go to the FCC building in Manhattan and pass a 13 wpm sending and receiving code test with perfect copy and a tough written exam. In school I won nearly every school science fair, building a working Geiger Counter in third grade, was a finalist in the International Science Fair in 10th grade for my model of a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer and used my prize money to purchase an Eico Oscilloscope Kit. I was awarded a Regents Scholarship with the fourth highest score in my school and attended Stony Brook University. I am also a member of Mensa.
We built countless projects, many using simple items like twin lead and scavenged bamboo poles for antenna projects like the Scotsman’s Delight. We devoured issues of QST from the Golden Age of George Grammar, Doug DeMaw and Wes Hayward. We had little money, lots of curiosity and a thirst for learning that never left any of us.
We now all hold Extra Class licenses and have gone into technical fields, Scott as a Novell Certified network specialist, Vince to a career at Bell Labs, and while I started out as a EE major, switched to the Life Sciences and had a 42 year career as an Optometric Physician, upgrading my License three times. My office was loaded with state of the art instrumentation which gave me the ability to deliver better patient care. I built all the computers and wrote the software that ran the office.
Along the way I visited both of my sons classes in elementary school with my “Mr. Wizard” interactive demonstrations on sound, light, simple machines, LEGO Mindstorms robotics programs, and led a 4-H Science Club. I was asked to judge FIRST, FRC, and VEX robotics competitions, devised a summer robotics program for third graders, presented a program on ham radio for his Scout troop, bringing my TR-4, a longwire and helped them tune to the 40 m foreign broadcasters. The scouts were fascinated, and many of them signed up for my radio merit badge counselor course. I designed a station “kit” for that the kids were able to assemble themselves with our supervision, and participated in JOTA with my friend Scott, WA2EQF.
I feel that giving back is an important thing to do in life. In my professional career I have done charity work, school screenings, and served at the Chief of Optometry at a Geriatric Psychiatric Hospital, designing a unique screening program to triage patients. I have donated expensive equipment to establish a charity vision clinic.
After many years of private practice, I decided it was time to retire because I wanted to spend more time at home with my beloved wife of 43 years, and now work a half day a week, troubleshooting many problem cases using my expertise and experience. I am the Frankford Radio Clubs resident Optometric Physician, joining a Vet, two MDs and many other specialists. Now that I am retired, I rarely miss a weekend contest, State QSO Party, CWops mini-contest or Special Event, all of which I enjoy. I have a notebook full of certificates, and am proud of my “Most Improved” award from the Frankford Radio Club.This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.