I grew up in Winchester, VA, and as a little boy was fascinated by astronomy, astronautics, and radio, probably because of the attention given to the Apollo Moon flights of my early childhood. But I have no aptitude at all for mathematics – social “sciences” such as history are easier for me – so I did not end up with a career in science or engineering but rather majored in political “science” and became a lawyer.
My interest in radio spiked with the CB craze of the mid-1970s, listening to SW broadcasters (I recall a nice lady reading a series of numbers!). But playing with the radios was more fun than studying (remember, no aptitude) so I did not get licensed until 1989. I began as a Technician Class, passing 5 wpm, and was assigned N8LMW while living in Cincinnati, OH.
Moving back to Virginia, the next Summer I upgraded to General (KC4TDT) and soon thereafter to Advanced (KN4VV). I recall taking (and I think passing) the Extra written, but not the 20wpm. Code is another thing for which I don’t have raw aptitude, but something I enjoy working to improve.
Most of my early operating was SSB, though I dabbled in CW contests, using a Kenwood TS-440sat, Yaesu FL-2100, and primarily a Butternut HF9V. I confirmed over 100 DXCC entities (though I did not apply for DXCC until 2017 – #62,646; I now also have CW #23,214).
I then moved to Tennessee … and lost interest. When Prince (the musician) died, the XYL wanted to listen to a tribute being played by a local FM station. So, I dug out a portable stereo, complete with external wire antenna, and positioned it for best reception, which got me thinking about radio again. To be honest, I presumed the internet obsoleted amateur radio. Was I ever wrong!
I told myself that if I could pass Extra, I’d get back in; I passed in September 2016 so here I am.
The house has HOA constraints, but I’m able to get a weak signal out there, particularly if conditions are good. I also make use of RemoteHamRadio, which is why my CWT exchange varied from “John VA” to “John NY” or “John CT”, etc.
I’ve joined ARRL and Vienna Wireless Society.
On HF, I operate exclusively CW. In addition to CWOps, I’m also in NAQCC (#8914), SKCC (#17032), and FISTS (#18283). My main interests are antennas and propagation, mostly reading – ARRL antenna, antenna physics, and propagation/radio science books; Carr & Hippisley’s book and (once it’s delivered) the English translation of Rothammel – as my living situation precludes most antenna experimenting. I’ve a lot to learn about those fascinating devices!
How did I come to get into CWOps? Word of the 2017 North American CW Weekend was posted on the Vienna Wireless reflector. Wow! A meeting of CW operators….a mile from my house!! I could NOT pass this up! This led to a friendship with N3JT, and to my enrolling in CW Academy. Level II with KC4D and Level III with KK5NA. I could not have asked for better instructors than Bill and Joe. The encouragement I’ve received from Bill, Jim, Joe, and others has been a big help. Plus, the classes were a lot of fun. At the end of the 8 weeks, I actually missed our meetings.
Perhaps because working CW has never come easily to me (currently I have a love/hate relationship with Rufz), I count being a CWops member as a highlight of my life. I particularly want to thank N3JT for nominating me, and those who sponsored me.
I’ve had the chance to meet several CWops members at the CW Weekends and traveling to Dayton. I don’t think there’s a better group of ambassadors for amateur radio and CW operating!