I first became licensed in February 2017 by earning my Technician and then earning my General Class a few weeks later. I became an Amateur Extra in February of 2020.
It is funny how life plays out. I wanted to be a Ham much earlier in life but could never meet the code requirement. I was studying Morse Code via mnemonic charts. Not the best idea!
After getting my ticket, I quickly learned that phone is not my preferred mode and I found FT8 to be boring. As a result, I submersed myself into all things CW. Through my curiosity, I found the DitDitFM podcast where CW Academy was frequently mentioned. In June of 2019 I completed Level 1 (Beginner) and Level 2 Prep (Basic) concurrently and took Level 2 (Intermediate) that fall. I owe a lot to my advisors Eric, NM5M and Mark, K5GQ. Both of them are outstanding advisors and very passionate about teaching code.
At my home station, I usually run 25 watts to a homebrew stealth wire. No self-respecting Ham should pay for a wire antenna! I have a healthy addiction to QRP radio kits, so I do quite a bit of portable QRP work. I do participate in contests, but I am not a contester! I got lucky that there were not very many rookies in the CQ WW in 2019.
I am the Emergency Coordinator for Travis County ARES and a member of the Austin Amateur Radio Club. I also volunteer with the American Red Cross within the Disaster Service Technology group. I am a member of NAQCC, SKCC, and hold QRP Zombie No. 1389. These days, my operating mode is almost 100% code and love every minute of it.