When I started thinking about my ham radio bio, I quickly realized that CW is my main mode, and if there were no digital modes, it would be almost exclusively my only working mode.
I first encountered ham radio in 1980. A classmate proposed “to visit a radio club because they are giving away electronic parts for free.” Yes, there was an interesting surplus of E180F’s and 6L50’s (soon to be used, HI).
Our radio clubs took part in army preparation of conscripts, teaching them telegraphy and radio contact protocol basics. I knew “written Morse code” since young age, so hearing “real Morse” was an irresistible challenge. Our lessons would start after the conscripts were gone, but our progress was rocket-fast.
It didn’t take long and I made my first CW QSO on 80m at OK1KCU club, under encouraging supervision of Jarda, OK1DCU. (My counterpart was YU5FET. Why do I remember that?)
Shortly after I passed exams, so not only my regular CW operation became legal, but I also obtained my first license, OL4BEV, on 3 November 1981. Two 6L50 came handy for an illegal PA to improve my chances on 160 meters, my only permitted HF band.
A few years later I had to pass another exam to obtain a regular license to replace the temporary OL callsign and I got OK1FOU.
Over the years my country changed regime, split, I was busy in my new job, got married and let my license expire, like many others. Fortunately, friends from the “old” OL times later convinced me to renew. Since then, my ham radio activity became a permanent struggle because I never had any suitable house or land where I could place a reasonable antenna. Also, my event mismanagement was revealed: date of our marriage happens to coincide with 3rd Subregional VHF+UHF contest, in our land called just “THE Field Day”, an event not less important than Christmas or national holiday.
Thanks to loving patience of my XYL, I was able to dedicate more time and effort to the hobby. Last few years a group of my fellow ex-OL friends and ham radio veterans fosters a small group of youngsters who gradually gain more interest and proficiency in ham radio. I also had the honor to assist “basic education” in telegraphy of a small group of children led by Miloš, OK7ZM, at the National Technical Museum. It is a great fun, although lockdown and other inconveniences in the past year reduced our meetings significantly.
Since last July I have my own house, since October I even have a vertical on the roof, and thanks to the extensive home office regulations, I can go on air very often, almost at any time I wish.
Since I am not a passionate contester or expedition hunter, I also spend much of my hobby time developing ham radio software or learning software development. And finding bugs in my friends’ software. I became virtually a routine tester of HamRacer and SpiderKeyer.
I got used to work from portable locations, go SOTA when time allows, and operate from my wife’s family house in Slovakia, my beloved second home, as OM0RM.
I would like to thank Martin, OK1RR, for his sponsorship, nomination and his obvious influence on the speed of my nomination and membership admission. Without exaggeration, if I remember well, this is the greatest expression of appreciation by Martin that I experienced in my whole life.