First, let me thank Christian, W4ALF, for nominating me to CWops membership, as well as my sponsors, Bryan, N3FZ, Woody, WD9F, and Dave, K1VUT. CWops is a first class organization and I’m very pleased to be part of it.
It seems as though I’ve always been interested in the magic of communicating via the airwaves. I didn’t know any hams growing up. When I was very young my father built a Heathkit color television and we received Heathkit catalogs at our home for many years after that. I eagerly read about the amateur radio equipment offered but took no action to learn more about the hobby. I’m not ashamed to admit it, the closest I came to being a radio operator in my youth was a fairly brief foray into CB radio with some of my buddies in high school. 10-4!
After establishing my career as a prosecutor and state court trial judge, I got my Technician ticket in 1999 at age 41. I quickly upgraded to General and, true to my roots, began operating mobile HF SSB, which I really enjoyed when there were plenty of sunspots. Then I taught myself CW and never looked back. After upgrading to extra, I took a break from ham radio around 2009 to pursue other things, such as riding motorcycles, climbing big mountains and going to our sons’ athletic events. Those things along with work made for a very busy time.
Last November I decided to get back into radio. I’m retired now, and am enjoying it more than ever. I’m only doing CW, though I may do some FT8 while the sunspots are low. I read about CWops and was able to get into an Academy Level 2 class with Ted, WA3AER, in January of this year. After a month respite, in April I entered a Level 3 class with Christian, W4ALF. Wow, what difference structure makes! Both Ted and Christian are fantastic teachers who have set me on a CW trajectory I would not have imagined back in November. I love everything about CW, particularly its musical qualities, the concentration it demands, and the kind of people who tend to gravitate toward it. I see improvement as a lifetime pursuit.
Going forward I’ll be enjoying the CWT’s and other sprint type contests, chasing DX, QRP fox hunting, ragchewing, and operating QRP portable, including SOTA and POTA activations.