Matt Wilhelm , W1PY

I first became interested in radio as a young kid spending time at KBOX radio in Dallas, TX where my dad was the Operations Director. Those tall AM towers, studios, and consoles with tons of knobs and buttons must have planted some sort of seed in the back of my mind. Although I would regularly cross paths with amateur radio over the years and considered obtaining a license, there was always some other project that kept me too busy to follow through on it.

In 2009, my wife took a faculty position at Smith College and I found myself moving from California to Western Massachusetts, unemployed, and with all the time in the world. I took advantage of this opportunity and was licensed for a hot minute as KB1TCL before quickly changing my call to W1MSW and then to W1PY in 2017. Not long after I was licensed, I was back at work with a new IT position at the University of Massachusetts and able to afford some gear. The timing was perfect.

The last ten years have been a lot of fun. I have a history of trying to accomplish things that are considered challenging (mountain unicycling anyone?), so I knew early on that CW was something that I wanted to learn. Thanks to Fab, DJ1YFK’s Learn CW Online website (lcwo.net), I made quick work of the basics. CW contesting is my favorite aspect of the hobby and I became decent at copying simple exchanges at fast speeds, but I felt like my CW skills had plateaued (and forget it if someone sent me something off script at more than 20wpm). That’s why last fall I decided to try CW Academy Level 3. My instructor Christian, W4ALF, was a huge help and provided lots of tools to help me improve copy of conversational CW and manual sending at speeds of 25+. Not only did my CW skills improve tremendously, but I also had the pleasure of making new friendships with others students in the class.

A big thanks to NA4J for the nomination and to all my sponsors. I’m truly excited to be invited to join CWops and believe strongly in the mission of the club. I look forward to working other members on the air and oh how I love those Wednesday CWTs when I can make them!