CWops # 1907, from Cape Coral , FL , USA.
I was a sophomore in high school when a neighbor’s son visited his dad. The son was a ham (W7LIV) and arrived with his car loaded with HF gear and an impressive center-loaded whip to boot. What really impressed me was how he loaded the transmitter using a florescent lamp held near the antenna and tuning for max brillance. That experience motivated me to build a small broadcast band transmitter for me and my classmate who lived a block from me and we began our adventures in learning code. I am a keyboard musician and the rhythms of CW came natural and we soon were on a Greyhound Bus off to the big city of Milwaukee, WI and the FCC office for our Novice exams. That was in the spring of 1952. I received my ticket, WN9UCR in June and by that time was ready to go back to Milwaukee for the General class exam. My code speed had exceeded the required 13 WPM and once I got on the air and participated in traffic handling (my first love) it continued to improve.
College got in the way of ham radio and although I operated occasionally from the Marquette University club station (W9ODD) during my undergraduate years it wasn’t until I graduated from Carnegie Mellon with a Ph.D. In Electrical Engineering and had my first full-time job that I found the time to get back into the hobby. I secured the call WA4UFQ while teaching at N.C. State., in Raleigh NC and was active in the CW and SSB traffic nets there.
In 1967 I took the responsibility of E.E. Department Chair at Marquette and got my old call back. While in Wisconsin I put together a nice shack with 60′ 4-element monoband beam on 20 Meters and was very active in the local CW traffic nets as well as other NTS duties (9RN and CAN). After ten years, the sailing bug hit and we sold our house and everything in it, bought a sailboat and took off for the Islands. I discovered the Waterway SSB net and found it extremely handy for cruising sailors and was Net Control for a while and also VEC coordinator. After we moved off the boat in 1996 I put together a modest station and got back to my first love, CW.
I’m now the manager of the Waterway CW net (daily 7 a.m. ET 7057 kHz) and invite any of the CWops family to join us. You don’t need to be a boater to join in. My code speed is modest but participating in the weekly CWT’s is helping me get back up to speed. We run the WWCW net at 27 WPM and faster but will QRS for anyone who wishes to check in. I’m looking forward to becoming more active thanks to the CWops organization and when time permits I’m considering helping with the Academy program.
I want to thank my sponsors (W4EDE, KP3W, N1GKE and N5TOO) for helping me join the group. 73 all from sunny S.W. Florida.