I am a retired radio operator from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. My licensing as a ham in 1980s led to the career. For many years, the requirement for the job was to hold the First Class General Radio Telephone license. Not too many applicants so they welcomed Extra Class amateur radio operators. That prompted me to get to 20 wpm which wasn’t really a problem because I was mostly into CW ragchewing anyway. I got the job but, turned out one still had to get the First Class license within 18 months. So…I can relate to those that got their ham license at the FCC office. I squeaked by, but even in the 1980s, that FCC clerk was intimidating!
The DX bug bit and luckily I found the Route 66 DXers on 2 m simplex spotting DX. This was before the internet and DX clusters. But chasing rare DX doesn’t sharpen your copying skills too much, so when I discovered CWops, and even though I wasn’t a member, I felt inspired to really increase my speed. After all…You can’t just join, you have to be asked! I buckled down focusing on CW ragchews above 30 wpm, but you can’t always find one. When I couldn’t, I copied and pasted QRZ bios into Morse generators at 35 wpm to push myself.
I am also an avid bicyclist. But I am slowing down and the CWTs are just perfect for the need for speed. I never know ahead of time if I will run or S&P but I am always impressed by how talented some of the ops are. For example, once in a while, someone gets my call wrong and before they are done with the exchange, they send my correct call. I know they figured it out while they were sending. Wow! There’s a lesson for me to learn every session it seems.This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.