My interest in CW began well over 40 years ago when my father, Bill (G4EHT) taught me the alphabet in Morse when I was 10 years old. I became licensed aged 14, which was the youngest you could obtain a licence in the UK in the early 1980s. Initially I was restricted to VHF and above and had my father’s old Class B callsign re-issued, (G8HOA). I found little satisfaction in 2 m FM or SSB and CW was seldom used on VHF so I quickly upgraded to a Class A (full) licence in 1985 by passing the 12 wpm Morse and initially had the callsign G0DEZ, I was fairly active on the HF bands almost exclusively using CW in the mid-late 80’s.
My Morse test itself was not without controversy though… the examiner arrived late for the test and rattled through testing 10 candidates, failing every one of us, including myself. There was almost a riot at the test centre as the examiner had been clocked at sending code at 20 wpm, far in excess of the stipulated 12 wpm. After some colourful language, all candidates were re-tested at the correct speed and I think everyone passed later the same evening!
I left high school aged 16 in 1986 and became an apprentice television repair engineer, initially following in my father’s footsteps, hence the EHT suffix in his callsign. After studying three years to complete my apprenticeship I spotted a job vacancy advertised in the RSGB’s RadCom magazine. The job was for a Radio Officer with a UK Government department, qualifying criteria included the ability to read Morse at 20 wpm – which I was more than capable of. The vacancy offered the potential of overseas work too, so what had I to lose? And so, after a 9-month residential training course covering radio theory and high-speed Morse, plain text and cypher training, I joined the UK Civil Service.
The job advert lived up to expectations and in 1993 I spent 6-months on Ascension Island as ZD8DEZ where I learned the art of being at the hot end of CW pileups. From 1996-97 I spent a further 12 months on ZD8 enjoying more amateur radio fun during my free time. From 2000-2003 I took up a post in UK Bases on Cyprus and operated as ZC4DW, predominantly using CW which, after 40 years, is still my preferred mode.
In 2003 I got married and made a sideways career change. The overseas work ceased and I settled down to start a family taking on a role with the UK Communications Regulator investigating radio interference to safety-of-life services (aero, military, emergency services etc). The work largely involved radio direction-finding and HF signals analysis. Around this time, I inherited my current G3WW callsign along with the short and snappy contest call M6W.
In 2020 I moved into a management role and I currently manage a regional team of radio engineers who trace and resolve interference issues and investigate unlicensed use of the radio spectrum.
Over the last 20 years I have gone through periods where I have been less active on the radio, largely through the demands of shift-working or raising my family. Around 3 years ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and whilst I am still employed, retirement is looming ever closer. This will hopefully allow me more time to spend on the radio, experimenting with antennas and enjoying the things I can whilst I am still reasonably able of doing so.
Finally, I would particularly like to thank Ken, (G4RWD/CT7AGZ) for nominating me for CWops membership, along with Stewart (GW0ETF), Peter (W2CDO) and Panu (OH7CW) who have graciously sponsored me. I look forward to catching you on the bands, especially on ‘the key.’This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.