During the 100th Anniversary of W1AW and the ARRL in 2016 we saw how far we have come from the beginning of radio. I consider myself fortunate to have enjoyed the second fifty years of amateur radio, and now well into the third half-century. So many changes! Like many of us, I learned CW listening to the 40m Novice band – first with a three tube Knight Kit Ocean Hopper regenerative receiver and later with a National NC-60 superhet. When I got my Novice license in 1959 my first transmitter was a Heathkit DX-20. With my general license I upgraded to a Hammarlund HQ-110C, a WRL Globe Chief and a homebrew plate modulator. Eventually I was able to acquire a used Johnson Viking Ranger, my dream rig! All the while, CW was my favorite mode as it is today.
Along the way there have been many mentors and friends, amateur radio is as much a social hobby as it is a technical and communication hobby. Here in the Seattle area we have always had an active group of hams – fellow members of our Novice class of 1959: K7SS, K7HBN, K7CW, N7UA, and W7FI are all still active. There have been many other friends and mentors along the way, K7LXC, W6SZN (SK), K7ZR (SK), N0AX, and W7OM to name a few. I have been active in the Western Washington DX Club over the years and have been fortunate to operate from the Caribbean twice in the CQ WW DX Contest with P40V (1988) and VP5W (2007).
Like many of us, amateur radio was a big part of my career as well. I worked for W7DZ (SK) at Nye Viking, building Match Boxes and fabricating metal parts for other products. My friend K7UU (SK) hired me at The Boeing Company for a lab technician job which became a 21 year career until retirement in 2001. Since then I have enjoyed traveling with my wife Sharon and occasionally meeting hams along the way. In 2017 she reserved a room at a B&B in Florence, Italy, and when we arrived there was a SteppIR antenna on the roof! What a wonderful surprise that was!
I continue to be active from our small city lot QTH in Seattle with limited antennas – a tri-band dipole for 20, 15, and 10 meters and a wire dipole for the WARC bands. I chase DX when I can hear it and participate in contests as well. I’m looking forward to the CWT activities and many more years on the air.