I grew up in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and was first licensed in the spring of 1984 as a Novice with the call KA5TLK. Later that year I upgraded to General class and received the callsign N5HEI. I had tremendous fun working the world with 100 watts and a wire on CW with my Icom 745. I went off to college, and eventually ended up getting a job at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC as a software engineer. But life intervened, and my interest in ham radio lay dormant for many years. That changed in 2007, when my job took me to the California desert to work on wireless datalinks for UAVs. This work rekindled my interest in ham radio, and I decided to dive back into the hobby. By this time my original license had expired, so I had to re-take both the Technician and General tests. After passing both tests, I applied for my old N5HEI call through the vanity call system. I operated with this call until early 2018 when I decided to finally take that last step and upgrade to Extra class. After passing that test, I got lucky and on my first attempt won the lottery for the vanity callsign WK5N.
I’ve come to CWOps primarily through the CW Academy, taking the Level 2 class in May/June of 2018 and then completing the Level 3 class with Rob K6RB in Oct/Nov 2018. I’ve really enjoyed the shared learning, camaraderie, and the challenge of developing my CW skills in the academy classes, and I’m looking forward to continuing my involvement next year as an advisor.
These days you’ll most often find me operating CW and occasionally digital modes, and my main interests are kit building, homebrewing, contesting, and QRP. But I also love trying new things, and so I’ve been dabbling in aspects of the hobby that I’ve never tried before such as SOTA/POTA, satellite ops, antenna design, and new (to me) operating modes. That’s one of the things I love the most about ham radio — it’s always changing and evolving, and there are always new things to try.
My main rig currently is a Kenwood TS-590SG, but I also have several QRP rigs, including a kit-built Elecraft K1, an Elecraft KX3, and a Yaesu FT-817nd. Antennas seem to always be in flux as I’m constantly trying out new antenna options, but currently I have a Butternut HF9V in the backyard along with various temporary and semi-permanent wire antennas.This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.