So excited to be a CWops member and a proud know-code Extra!
My grandfather was a radio/tv repairman from the 1930s until the 1970s. He built me a XTAL set when I was 6. Later on I sat next to him as he built a Tandy Globe Patrol regen receiver with a Weller pistol soldering iron in one hand a cigarette in the other. Later I picked up a Hallicrafters S120. I was all SWL, collecting QSL cards from Radio Tirana, Moscow etc. until I got a CB license in the late 70s. I’m not sure why my grandfather never got his ham ticket.
In 2014, a former ham buddy’s daughter joined a Morse code club at school which led them and me & my 13 year old son to get licensed again. The 4 of us formed the Newburyport Electronics & Radio Society, aka NERDS (licensed as K1YRD). We built Rockmite 40s and played with CW across town at maybe 500mw.
One day I was practicing calling CQ with the Rockmite feeding a quarter wave piece of wire strung around my apartment when KN1O came back to me. I must have asked him to repeat his call 3 times and was sweating bullets trying to copy K N 1 O. The op lived a few streets away and became my 1st QSO and my 1st mentor.
I purchased a NORCAL40 kit and took it everywhere and made my 1st DX contact with DJ6ZM using that rig and a low inverted V wire. Of course he had a beam mounted atop his 3 story building but I have the QSL card!
I really enjoy operating outdoors, next to my firepit, on the beach or activating a SOTA summit. My latest kit was a KX1 which taxed my meager kit building chops. I love that rig. I either use that or my fancy FT818 for summit activations.
For me, CW is the best mode. I love CW operators and appreciate their patience with new ops. There’s something about a CW ragchew that is so much fun.
Al, KN1O and a small group of newish CW ops have been maintaining a slow speed, learning sked for about 3 years under the NERDS moniker and we have brought a few former hams back to the hobby and to CW as well as a couple of newbies.
CW Academy has been instrumental in teaching me how to use paddles and to head copy. I feel like there’s more progress to make, but I love the confidence it has given me to enjoy ragchews that go beyond sweating out a quick signal report exchange.