Rich Stafford, K2GJ

I am honored to become a CWOPS member and thank Chris W4ALF, Joe KK5NA, my classmates and many others for their excellent instruction and support.

I grew up in a very small town in rural Iowa. Corn, cattle and hogs were kings. It was a great place to grow up. I lived across an alley from the grain elevator where my father and grandfather worked, a coal yard, lumber yard and just a block from the railroad tracks where we put pennies on the rails to be flattened by steam engines. Tom Swift, Buck Rogers and Godzilla ruled. Shortwave listening was big then and I built a Heathkit GR-91. Fortunately, there was a welding shop nearby where I hung out at night. There I met Roger K0HCL (SK) and John when I was about ten, and they became my Elmers. My family supported ham radio fully and I was licensed as WN0CGM. A trip to Chicago followed for the General exam given by a crusty examiner who gave me a second, successful, run at code. My shack was a converted coal bin in the basement. Rig was a borrowed Heathkit DX40 and the GR-91. Summer jobs and generous parents allowed the acquisition of an HT-37 and Drake 2B; pure gold!

Eventually other interests developed and amateur radio fell by the wayside. I was a math major in college, then attended medical school in Iowa. There was further training in Las Angeles and Boston. I became a pediatric gastroenterologist. My wife, Carole, and I lived in Minneapolis for about 35 years where I practiced and taught. We have two fine sons, one of whom is KK4NOC.They blessed us with five grandchildren. We moved to Niskayuna, NY about four years ago to be with four of them, all under nine years old. They are all a source of pure joy.

As retirement neared I rediscovered radio. I became KD0NPM in 2011. Current rigs include a KX3 with KXPA. City living poses severe antenna limitations. Morse code was always special to me, and fortunately I found CWA. Level 2 was great, and level 3 introduced me to a new realm. I am very fortunate to have this endeavor shared by many talented and interesting colleagues. I hope to see you all on air.