Rick Dickens , KY0Q

I want to thank Jim, N7US for my nomination and my sponsors for their support.

I was born in 1952 and about the time I was ten or eleven years old, an Aunt and Uncle dropped off a small, AC/DC 4 tube radio at our house for some unknown reason. I thought it looked interesting as the dial was covered with the names of cities from all over the world. So, I started to listen to it. I found by trial and error that turning the panel switch to SW opened up the world. Like many hams of a similar age, I started out in the radio hobbies as an SWL. There was no BFO but there were still a fair number of hams on AM back then and I found I really enjoyed listening to them chat.

My dad was WWII Signal Corp veteran, so he understood radios and antennas and was always supportive of my interest in radio and electronics. He took me to an Iowa City ARC Field Day in about 1966 and that really lit the fire to get my Novice license. Their CW and theory classes helped me earn my Novice license WN0UVG in 1968. Mowing lawns and a paper route and I had the money to buy an Eico 720 transmitter kit and a Hammarlund HQ-140X receiver and I was off and running.

I found I liked the radio and electronics theory part of amateur radio so when it came time to decide what to do for college, there wasn’t any doubt in my mind that I wanted to be an EE. Off to Iowa State University and a few years later I had the BSEE degree. This led to a lifetime of employment working as an EE in the Chicago area at a number of good companies – Motorola, Northrop Grumman and Cobra Electronics. After always working in the radio/RF area, I finished off my career in 2018 with 3 ½ years at Electromotive Diesel, working on locomotive electronics. That was a hoot! Huge machines.

I met my wife at Motorola, so amateur radio directly led to a career, family, many friends and a lifetime hobby. I feel lucky to have been able to participate in this hobby for so many years.

But this is CWops so where does CW fit in? I’ve always had a small station – QRP to 100w, low wires in trees and ground mounted trap HF verticals. It didn’t take me long to find out that CW just works better from a station like that. I’ve always been predominately a CW op. Besides working better it’s a skill that you can acquire and work on continuously, trying to get better at it. I’m a long way from perfection!

Thanks for the invitation to join your wonderful organization.