Wow. Last month turned out to be a real barn burner which is especially welcome given that winter finally, finally found us here in Wisconsin. Nothing wards off the snow and cold better than a big ham radio week: Winter Field Day, the MN QSO Party running as a mobile, ARRL DX CW and then the coup de grace, being invited into CWops. Big thanks to Jim, N3JT for the nomination and of course for the follow up sponsors. It literally came out of the blue catching me completely by surprise. A really nice surprise.
I’ve been a ham since 1972. That makes me old enough to have gotten to sit down at the FCC office in St. Paul, MN for my general test. Funny, but my recollection of the experience centers on the wooden chair/desks which littered the room. Not real comfortable. I left knowing I’d passed and never made a return trip. Future upgrades were under the kind proctoring of the very nice VE corps. A welcome change. My sense of timing on the license upgrades always seemed to be just off. In addition to the FCC office testing, I managed to have to take the 20-wpm code test for Extra too. Just before they waved it. It didn’t matter, code speed was not the issue for me, but rather getting a decent antenna matched to reasonable gear eluded me for many years.
Though I’ve been licensed for 45+ years, my activity and interest in the hobby have come and gone. My current activity, which I call the third evolution, finds me involved in a very socially active fashion. Rather than do the Lone Ranger gig, this time it is all about the local ham club, portable operations, group operating activities, contests, QSO parties, sprints and putting my energies into the people equation more so than the equipment. I am having a great time in the hobby this round. Seems like making ham radio friends and acquaintance’s gets easier with just a bit of practice.
I made a decision when I re-fired up the hobby 3 years back to get gone all the remnants of gear I had laying around from the 90’s. And so out it went. My mantra for now is to have a small footprint. So, I find myself working QRP most of the time with my Flex 1500 and occasionally working “QRO” with my Hardrock 50 amp. The nice thing is the whole setup sits on the corner of my desk and makes very little impact. But by golly, it works all modes and plays nice with my home office computer. The antenna farm consists of a single 150′ doublet with manual tuner.
I am totally thrilled to be a member of CWops. CW has always been my default operating mode. I very much enjoy the short time duration sprints and have been poking away at CWTs on Wednesday night for some time now. It is a welcome break from the norm given the brisk code speed and of course the evening event is NA dominated so that plays well with my station capabilities. Might be tough to hold a freq with QRP, but it isn’t hard to make Q’s. Wednesdays are a bit crowded schedule-wise, but things usually free up in time for the final 30 minutes or so.
A big thanks to the group. As of this writing we plan to operate the WI QSO Parties as a mobile CW only entry. If the weather plays nice, it should be a lot of fun. If the weather is poor, well, they take on a whole different aspect. Regardless, they are ham radio and CW events, how could they not be fun? We ran mobile in last year’s WI QSO Party and turned in a terrible score. Mobile operations require some finesse…the kind that’s earned via some difficult lessons. I am hoping to improve greatly this year. One thing’s for sure, we won’t be needing the air conditioner in the SUV.
73/72 to all. I look forward to many, many logged CWops Q’s.This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.