I was introduced to amateur radio as a teenager in the 1970s, my late father David was a keen SWL and in ’76 he studied at evening class for the Radio Amateurs Exam and I tagged along. We both passed and obtained our class B callsigns. However I was always interested in Morse code, an early memory still etched in my mind was a visit to Pat G3IOR’s shack where I remember him talking to me whilst at the same time in a CW
QSO at what seemed to me back then an impossible speed. I was fortunate that my local club, the Norfolk Amateur Radio Club, was (and still is!) home to some really good CW operators and thanks to the wonderful help from Reg G8QR passed the morse test to obtain my full license G4IVV in 1979.
My interest in radio then defined my career direction and after university I have been lucky to have followed my passion and worked on many interesting radio products covering the spectrum from VLF through VHF/UHF RF design to embedded software for custom mobile telephone modems. But immersed in radios during the day and raising a family meant I drifted away from the hobby for many years.
Around 3 years ago I was rummaging around at the back of a cupboard and found my old ‘navy’ straight key which got me thinking again about amateur radio. I had also been a keen hillwalker in my student days and once I found out that SOTA existed there was no way out – I had to get back into the hobby again and relearn my CW.
I started with a few shaky CW SOTA chases but was soon hooked and joined Long Island CW Club where I received a lot of support and encouragement. And finally after all these years that teenage goal of being able to emulate my CW heroes feels within reach. There are still challenges, as someone who is mildly dyslexic my head sending can sometimes get a bit tangled up or stall, but it gets easier the more time I spend on the air. Sending faster to feel the rhythm of whole words seems to help me a lot with the dyslexia (just as I can talk fine, but not spell very well).
I took early part-retirement a couple of years ago to be able to help care for both my elderly Mum and also my wife who is registered blind. Caring is rewarding but it’s important to be able to escape sometimes and CW has become my special place. It keeps me sane, I enjoy chats and also operating QRP portable when I can occasionally get away. Recently I have started operating in the CWTs and I have been surprised how much I look forward to them each week.
I am very honoured and proud to be able to join CWops and want to thank Mike G4DYC for nominating me and my sponsors Roger G3LDI, Jim G3YLA and Steve G4YTK. Really looking forward to meeting many members on the air and hope that I will also be able to give back in the future.This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.