I would first like to thank Gary Stone N5PHT for my nomination and all those who sponsored me. I would also like to thank Serge Nikiforov NS6K who was my advisor for Level II CW Academy and my current advanced class advisor Rob Brownstein K6RB.
When I signed up for electronics at my high school, I discovered they had a radio club and a club station K7KIR. This was my introduction to amateur radio. I was fortunate that I was learning the theory in my classes while learning Morse code and FCC regulations through my club.
I passed my Novice class in 1966 and after what seemed like forever received my call WN7FTW in the mail. The following year I upgraded to General with a call change to WA7FTW.
My first rig was a Heathkit HR10 receiver and DX60A transmitter. My dad helped me put a 40 m dipole along the roof of our house. I was fortunate to get into the hobby at the height of a good sunspot cycle. After getting my General license I built a Heathkit SB101 transceiver.
Because I had my amateur license I was recruited and joined the Utah National Guard 19th Special Forces Signal Company in 1969. At the time I was pursuing an EE degree from the University of Utah. My dad retired from the US Army after 30 years. Growing up in a military family I learned the value of service.
After basic training I attended radio school at Fort Jackson, SC. This is where I really got a taste and appreciation for radio operating procedures and increased my Morse copying speed to between 25 and 30 wpm by hand. This was for five letter encrypted word groups; definitely not head copyable.
Between work and family I was in and out of the hobby and now that I have more time I have gotten back in and have an Amateur Extra Class license. Getting back into the hobby my code speed had fallen. While working to get my speed back I was told about CWops. The more I have learned about the organization the more I have come to appreciate the commitment and mentoring that is done. I will be offering my help as an advisor to help others and keep Morse code part of the amateur radio toolbox.
I love trying to work DX and like trying to work those stations on every mode they are on. I am a member of my local ARES and state RACES. I participate in NTS nets and EMCOMM exercises. I still enjoy building; especially antennas. I look forward to CWT each Wednesday and look forward to contacting more members during the contest and just rag chewing on the band.