George Cooley , NG7A

CWops# 2206, from Cedar Rapids , IA , USA.---->View on Google maps

Thanks to K7AZT, W8TK and friends who sponsored me for CWOps as well as the many that have taught me over the years.

My first introduction to Morse code was at age 8 when I built a telegraph with electromagnets that pulled down a tin plate when a home made switch connected the current from a pair of dry cells. A transistor radio kit followed and I was pretty much hooked on radio when my grandfather gave me a pair of walkie talkies. By age 11 I had acquired many better models and had the whole neighborhood experimenting with “range tests.” My older cousin took notice and introduced me to ham radio and Morse code lessons.

Around that time my Dad switched careers to become an international shortwave broadcaster at Voice of America. As a journalist he knew little of hanging antennas or electromagnetic theory, yet his enthusiasm for radio was infectious. He bought our first Shortwave radio and often took me along on assignments where his engineering colleagues, many of them hams, patiently answered my questions and let me “help”.

Improving antennas to better receive programs through my grandparent’s Hallicrafters short wave tube radio filled my summers and honed my love for radio and electronics. Besides math and physics, I took Radio TV servicing in High School.

While studying Electrical Engineering with an emphasis on Advanced Microwave Techniques, I was fortunate to intern with the Army’s Radar Simulation and Instrumentation Laboratory. There I attended my first Field Day and, with the encouragement of Elmers, finally passed the Morse code test and earned my amateur radio ticket.

With my work in RF design, I’ve been fortunate to make my hobby also my career. My colleagues and I (many of them hams) developed the world’s first FAA certified WAAS GPS capable of guiding air planes to within 200 feet of the ground. Using GPS, we pioneered Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B), which has made aviation safer and was awarded the Collier trophy in 2007.

My friends and family joke that little has changed since I was a kid, except for the price of the radios. While my HAM activity has ebbed and flowed over the years, in 2007 I got re-bit by the bug, after my XYL encouraged me to get back into the hobby by threatening to throw away the tribander that was hogging up space in the garage. Shortly thereafter she surprised me for Valentine’s Day by getting her ticket. Many of our young friends followed suit and we’ve enjoyed combining a variety of outdoor activities such as skiing, camping, hiking and biking with radio. One of our favorites is Summits on the Air (SOTA) using CW. During our first activation, when a little boy asked “what is that man doing”, the father replied “he’s like R2D2 talking to C3PO!” Based on the kid’s reaction, CW made his day!

I am very honored to be a part of the CW Ops community and look forward to participating in many contests and CWTs.

This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.