I first would like to acknowledge my sponsors Eric SM1TDE, Gert PA3AAV and Bob I2WIJ. Thank you, Eric, for your nomination and Gert and Bob for your sponsorships.
The strange thing is – I haven’t even been an active ham for more than six months. I got licensed back in 2000 but never really had any time over for the hobby then. See, when my interest in radio first started, I was a young teenager. This was in the early 90’s and I had just set up my first CB-station. I had mounted a 15ft loaded vertical on the chimney and surfed the down slope of solar cycle 22 with 5W FM, working the better part of Europe (as I recall it now, that is). This spurred my interest for “heavier drugs”. So, I started reading up about ham radio. But the timing was a bit off and I never took the test.
After school, was drafted to military service as a telegraphy radio operator and got my basic CW training. After leaving the army I got a job in SIGINT. This meant additional speed training up to 25 WPM. At this workplace, there was a volunteer examiner for ham license! I got my extra class license as SM0XHM. But I left that job in 2001 to go to medical school. Thus, began my CW-hiatus.
About a year ago I’m on the phone with a friend of mine, Peter SM6WKB. He starts talking about what has happened in ham radio the past 20 years. I remember getting excited about DMR! And better still – there was now a plethora of HT’s from cheap to high end. And just like that – I was back in ham radio! Now as SM6XHM.
In the fall of 2020, like a restless child, I was gradually losing interest in DMR. Now my thoughts started wandering about HF. Could I set up a reasonable station at my house? A few months earlier me and my wife opted to take down ALL the trees in the back yard, so there was nowhere to hang any antennas. But I found a Yaesu FT-2000D for sale from a ham in Germany and got it shipped over. I hooked it up to a 130 ft end fed random wire sloping from the house down to a 7 ft curtain pole in the garden. And this is still my setup today! Unfortunately, just 100 ft from the tip of the antenna runs an electrified railroad at about 16kV. Needless to say – there is a fair bit of interference!
At this point I am happily striding along with my newfound hobby doing occasional contests (CWT!) and if I’m still this “hooked” in a year – I am seriously going to start looking for a remote site. But I also have a family with two girls to care for and a house that constantly craves attention. Nevertheless, I am honored to be part of a club that keeps CW alive. It is, to me, truly a noble art that deserves to be preserved. I have still long ways to go before I am as proficient as my peers in CWops, but this journey has just begun.