Mark Finkelstein, KB2PIZ

CWops# 3219, from Forest Hills , NY , USA.---->View on Google maps

Thank you to all that helped me along in this journey! Mac (who got me started), Mark/GQ (who opened my eyes to a whole new world of Windows and how to really learn Morse code), Joe (showing me what is possible), John/KHZ (sitting up with me figuring out how Windows works), John Burgess (having fun on our Zoom sessions) and Chris (a good friend pushing me forward), Pat, and all the others too numerous to mention. Thank You!

A special thank you to John (AJ1DM) for taking the time every week to ragchew with me and nominating me. I look forward to getting better and better at that. I appreciate the time you spend with me.

My journey in radio started when I was a little boy. My father was a WW2 First Class Radioman and we would build radios, tinker with TV’s, and fix just about anything electronic. I learned to read schematics and solder. To this day I still inspect all joints I solder and put a dab of red nail polish on it! My father could head copy 30+ WPM and that always amazed me.

The funny thing though was that we never went to get a license.

I joined the US Navy in 1971 (to avoid being drafted), and wound up as a Communications Officer with the 7th Fleet. I really liked the Navy and wound up staying for 21 years, retiring in 1992. I served on 5 ships and spent most of my career at sea (USS Oklahoma City, USS Gurke, USS Virginia, USS Peoria, and USS Fort Fisher).

When I retired I came home to New York City and took my father to Barry’s Electronics on Broadway where we both sat down and took the Technician Plus test. We both passed the first time! He was KB2PIY (SK) and I was KB2PIZ.

We built a small QRP transmitter, strung a 28 foot wire around the inside of the attic in Queens, NY. The counterpoise ran down the stairs to my mother’s dismay! My father would go up to the attic all the time to copy “skeds”! He would paper copy all the high speed code he could find, yet rarely transmitted. I guess he was still afraid submarines would find him!

I bought a SGC 2020 and home brewed a 20 meter dipole on the roof. I worked mostly CW as I always saw Voice Comms as something “too easy”. However, I never felt comfortable with higher speeds in Morse Code and always wanted to get to the point where I could copy and rag chew easily.

After I retired from the Navy, I started a business teaching people how to play pool. Pool has always been a passion of mine and since my wife didn’t want me working in the military/industrial world, I figured at least I could work at something I really loved.

At about the same time, my brother opened a Burn Unit at a Hospital in New York and asked me to help him administer the Burn Unit for a few days every week. I did that for 12 years, until he died and the hospital wanted me to become full time. I declined and worked at my pool business full time.

About this time I discovered CWops and thought it was finally time to really learn Morse code. I am thankful I did and am thrilled at my progress!

I still make things, have a collection of QRP rigs (Elecraft KX1 (3), Mission RGO 1, Lab599 TX-500, and a new FX-4C. I pretty much only use CW, but with the FX-4C I may try to set up some of the digital modes.

I am thankful for all the support I received along the way to become a CWops member.

Looking forward I am interested in starting some sort of program to bring high school kids into the world of Morse code. I am a mentor to a high school billiards club and would like to bring that approach to the Morse code world. When I look around and only see old people, it scares me!

This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.

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