John Silzel , N6HCN

CWops # 1914, from Yorba Linda , CA , USA.

Hi everyone.  Since 1982, CW has been the “gravity” pulling me back to radio after orbital apogees of (mostly) QRT raising little kids and getting buried in a career that has gone from biotech R&D to chemistry professor and back, with lots of moonlighting as a jazz violinist.  When I was younger I tended to obsess on building gear– radios and electric violins and stuff–that (and practicing) drew me away from just getting on the air and operating, and this held my CW back.   Maybe teaching taught me the joy of communicating, or maybe it was just getting older, I don’t know.   But several years ago I took a sabbatical from the violin and tried an experiment:  tossing my pencil and listening to novels in CW using gutenberg.org and the Linux app ebook2cw.  The first novel took me nearly a year, I think.  But approaching the code with “jazz ears” and a relaxed focus made a huge difference and I found myself adding QRQ.  Around that time Randy, WB6ZFG suggested I read “The Art and Science of Radiotelegraphy” and I  discovered my “experiment” was not so crazy.   I still fall asleep every night ‘reading’ a CW ebook– I never lose my glasses and there’s no light to disturb my XYL, Lisa, who also loves CW because I do.

I am a hopeless sentimentalist about my station gear, which is better suited for  leisurely CW ragchews than for competitive contesting.  I enjoy the CWTs but have to be careful not to break the plastic T/R toggle on my TS520S in the adrenaline frenzy!   Try not to laugh at my scores.   I’m a “working stiff” and so have to miss weekday openings on 20m, but (if nothing’s broken around the house), I’m there weekend afternoons, listening for a well-sent CQ and hoping to snare a QTX about jazz, hiking, boating, chemistry,  rural or military life, or whether the grass is really greener outside Southern California (something I have long suspected).  Not surprisingly many of my favorite ragchew “victims” have turned out to be CWops members.  So bless you all, I’m especially honored to be aboard.