I got into Ham Radio via a science elective at New Braunfels High School (Texas) taught by my Elmer WA5VTT. The stated goal of the two semester class was to get your general class license. This was 1978 and CW was mandatory. Most of the class including myself passed our 5 wpm test and the written test for Novice in the fall of 1978 and I was licensed as KA5DXZ. Those were heady days of a solar cycle working DX from the club station during class easily and even more after school. There was a spirit of competition in the club and we were all working hard getting our speed up for our general exam in the spring.
The culmination of the class was a field trip to the FCC field office in Houston, TX to take our General Class exam. Long story short I got talked in trying for an Extra license. I passed the 20 wpm code but failed the extra module by 5 questions, but I passed my Advanced!
After high school I was active in the club at the University of Houston. Around 1985 I passed my Extra exam. I was still using my novice call, KA5DXZ because I wanted a WB5 call and they ran out before I got licensed. I waited and finally put in for a callsign change in 1987 when the timing seemed right to get a 2×1 WB5 call and got my present call, WB5N. I also fell in with the Texas DX Society. While a member of TDXS I was very active at multi-op contest stations K5LZO and NR5M. I had my first taste of contest expeditions to Grenada, Belize, Jamacia, and Mexico.
From the mid 1990’s to the fall of 2020 I was off the air but my radios were there on the shelf waiting for me. One day the wife told me to used them or get rid of them, they were taking up space. I put up a 20 m dipole but it barely worked. I was delighted to find out the venerable HyGain 4BTV was still available. So I got one and installed it. I worked more things. I thought I had retained my code skills but I could barely pick out a CQ anymore. I got involved in Parks on the Air. I kept seeing CW spots for park stations on CW I couldn’t work and I got motivated to get my skills back. I used the CWops Morse code trainer online and in three weeks I was back on the air with CW. Slowly my speed picked up, 18 wpm, 20, 22, 25+. Now to tell the truth I don’t feel like a new country is real till I have it in CW.
In 2016 I retired after 35 years from the University of Houston where I was manager of Public Safety Systems.
In the twenty-five years I was inactive I was very active in the Texas birding world and served 16 years on the board of the Texas Ornithological Society. I’ve been a freelance birding guide leading trips to Belize, Costa Rica and all over Texas. I have now made more than 35 trips to Belize. I actually invented a popular birding game here in Texas that is now sponsored by the Texas Ornithological Society that I based on County Hunters and DXCC. The goal is to record 100 species of birds in 100 counties in Texas. I of course called it the Texas Century Club.
This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.