Les Lechowicz , NI1L

First of all, I would like to thank Buz AC6AC for his nomination. I enjoyed Buz’s Advanced Class immensely, he is a wonderful teacher and a great asset to CWops.

My adventure with amateur radio started back in Poland where I grew up. I joined SP2KKB radio club in high school and I credit Stan SP2FLE with encouraging (or I should say making) students learn CW. I was also active from SP2KAE club, where I got a lot of support and encouragement from Andy SP2BLC. I got my own callsign SP2OVL in 1986 when I was 17 years old. My home station initially consisted of an OCF dipole and a surplus RBM-1 military radio. I later homebrewed a 5W QRP transceiver for 80m and a 50W power amplifier.

Ham radio activities took a long hiatus during my years at Gdansk University of Technology where I earned two master’s degrees – in electrical engineering and computer science. In February 1997 I visited the US on a business trip for the first time. After accepting a job offer, I moved to the US permanently in November 1997, becoming a citizen in 2007.

Shortly after my move I started thinking about getting a license, so I attended a VEC session in April 1998 and passed all 5 exams and the 20 wpm test in one shot. I got my first US call AA1TK shortly thereafter. Since I lived in an apartment at the time, my activities were limited to CW running 5W into a wire loop around the ceiling. Still, I managed to work 80+ DXCC. Ham activities unfortunately took another long hiatus when I was working part-time on my dissertation at Northeastern University while holding a full-time job at the same time.

My very modest home station currently consists of a K3 and Expert 1.3k-FA. The antennas are a Big-IR vertical and a rather low hanging inverted-V for 80/160m. While obviously with these antennas I cannot be competitive from home, I still enjoy working in CW contests. I also enjoy working in multi-op operations from big-gun stations (K1TTT, W1KM, K2LE, K1IR).

I love DXing – on both sides of the pileup. I was fortunate to go on a few DX-peditions – XR0Y in 2009, JX5O in 2011 and VK9LN in 2015 and 2016. Working full time makes it exceedingly difficult to take significant time off to travel around the world but I would love to go on many more expeditions in the future.

My big passion are mountains. I’m an experienced 4-season hiker and an aspiring mountaineer so it is only fitting that SOTA activations have been my obsession in the past few years. KX2 is the radio in the backpack and White Mountains in NH my stomping ground.

My other passions include sailing, running, reading and single-malt whiskies from Isle of Islay. Slainte!

Thank you all for welcoming me in the club. Stay safe and healthy!