CWops # 2947, from Maple Grove , MN , USA.
I am a seventeen year old amateur radio operator out of the Minneapolis Minnesota area. My first sparked interest in radio was when I was eleven, when I took a class in AC and DC currents at a local broadcasting museum. I built a decently large crystal radio set with an audio amplifier, but what really got my attention in the museum was the ham radio station. They had a large wall map that displayed all of the contacts that they made around the world, even Antarctica! It amazed me that a person with a radio could make contacts like this. I assumed that they had to have had a very powerful radio.
The next step toward the hobby for me was a handheld radio from Amazon (you have probably already guessed the radio, as they are everywhere these days), a Boafeng BF-F8HP. I tried it out, and it really wasn’t all that exciting, nothing that I had anticipated. I soon put it on the shelf, only getting a few weather stations. Two years later, that radio would reignite the radio spirit within me.
I don’t really remember why I bought a Technician Class book online, but the Boafeng radio came off the shelf and I started listening to local repeaters around my area. I started studying with the book, and soon I was ready to take the test in August of 2018. Almost passing with a perfect score, I soon got on the repeaters around my area after receiving my original callsign in the FCC database, KE0STO. I soon realized that I had much to learn about ham radio. I hadn’t accomplished the actual part of talking and communicating around the world, but through the internet, as technicians did not have the privileges to get on the “extremely hot” HF frequencies.
In the winter of 2018, I decided that it was time to upgrade to the General Class license. I got a book and started studying over Christmas break of that year. I took and passed the General Class license on February 2, 2019. I remember that day very well, as I went to the nearby club and got on HF that day, making my first HF contact to Canada. That felt like making a contact with North Korea to me. The Minnesota QSO Part was going on, but I had no clue at that time what a contest was. I would soon find out from an ARRL book from the local library.
I picked up contesting very quickly after I received my General Class license, getting on voice contests like WPX and CQWW, but I had not learned CW yet. I talked to Larry, K7SV, about learning CW, and he gave me some great tools to work on over the summer of 2020. I practiced and practiced, and I eventually could copy around 60 WPM of callsigns in about 6 months after I started.
I enjoy a subscription to the Remote Ham Radio Youth Program. This program lets youth in ham radio enjoy free access to superstations around the globe through their remote software. I am a part of the Remote Ham Radio contest team along with the K1TTT M/M contest team. I also am a member of a few ham radio clubs, including the Minnesota Wireless Association, Maple Grove Radio Club, Remote Ham Radio Club, Deep Dixie Contest Club, and now CWops #2947! I have been recently upgrading the home station, getting new dipole antennas (thanks to N0KK, K0AD, and N0AT for helping me put those up!) along with an SO2R low power setup, which has done decently well in the CWTs.
Outside of contesting and DXing, I enjoy working satellites and antenna making. I am always striving to get the highest antenna possible to work the most DX in my area, without putting up a tower. I currently have 140+ countries confirmed on LOTW at this point, and it is growing by the month! I plan to attend the Youth on the Air camp in Cincinnati, Ohio in July of this year.
Outside of ham radio, I enjoy sports such as cross country, basketball, baseball, and sailing (racing). My other hobbies that I enjoy are flying RC airplanes, and trumpet in a high school jazz and symphony band. In cross country, I have made it to the Minnesota high school state meet for the second year in a row as an individual, and I hope to eventually get all state in the 5K race. My current record is 16:57.
In the future years to come, I hope to go to school for some kind of RF engineering and work on the Deep Space Network satellite communications for NASA someday. Amateur radio has really helped me find my passions that I would have never found. I hope to never cease this hobby and to keep exploring it. Thanks to CWops for helping me accomplish my goals in contesting!