I was first introduced to ham radio on a week-long canoe trip I took with my Boy Scout troop in middle school. One of the leaders had a dry bag marked with a mysterious “AB1AV”. I asked what it was, but it wasn’t until the evening when the radio was set up that I saw how cool it really was. Back at home that fall I earned the Radio merit badge with Bill, AB1AV. He then offered to help me get my ham license. I took him up on the offer. He also convinced me to learn CW, and I practiced with him. After a few months of study and practice I was ready for the test.
My parents drove me to the testing location where I started with the code test. I managed to get a minute of solid copy, much to my relief. I then took element 2 and passed it. I went home with my Tech plus license that morning. My callsign arrived in the mail, KB1KXL. My birthday was a few weeks later, and I got a Small Wonder Labs SW-40+ kit which I assembled. With some help from Bill, I got a dipole into some trees outside my bedroom window and was on the air. I only made a few contacts with it, being a busy high schooler. I was more active on the local repeater with my HT. A bit more than a year later, I was ready to take the General exam. I passed this, but sadly my credit for element 1 had expired, so I was still only a tech plus. A few months later, the code requirement was dropped, so I quickly started learning the Extra material, so I could pass that test before my element 3 credit expired. I passed it, and now had an Extra license.
I was off the air for a number of years in college and grad school. After graduating with a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Rochester, I took a few months off to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Back at home after my hike I started looking for a job. I got one in the SF Bay Area and moved from New Hampshire to California. About two years ago I got back into radio. I only had my HT and CW rigs, so I started relearning CW. I quickly discovered SOTA, and after getting an MTR 3B I started activating. Since then I’ve gotten heavily involved with SOTA, activating most weekends. I’ve also discovered the fun of CW contesting, particularly the short, CWT-like sprints and big DX contests. If I’m not too busy in the evenings, I’ll tune around and listen for a CQ for a ragchew. After a year of heavy use of my old callsign, I decided I could get a better one. I had noticed that some SOTA chasers had calls that sounded really good, so I looked for one that flowed nicely. I think I’ve found one in AA6XA. It is a bit of a mouthful on voice, but that’s not a big problem for me.
My home station is a KX3 and KXPA100. I enjoy homebrew, both kits and designing my own stuff. When I’m not on the radio, I like to play the organ and piano. On Sunday mornings you can usually find me subbing for area churches. I also enjoy orienteering and rogaines, but haven’t had a chance to do ARDF yet. I’m looking forward to more CWTs and ragchews with all the members of this great club!This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.