First of all I would like to thank Raoul (ZS1C) for nominating me and my sponsors who supported my nomination!
I have been a licensed ham since 1996 and a SWL long before that when I was still at school. I still clearly remember my first short wave receiver, it was a Phillips valve set. The magic of the glowing valves in the dark while listening to exotic stations will always be with me, and then there was the smell of hot valves and Bakelite, maybe that is why I still love old radios and valve amplifiers even though I no longer use them!
I built my first (CW) transmitter when I was 10 years old, long before I had a licence. My first call was ZR6VE, restricted to 50 MHz and above only. To get HF access I needed to do 12 wpm CW. Since DX was my main interest I started learning CW immediately but I soon found out that I hit a “barrier” at around 8 to 10 wpm, I struggled to get my speed consistently above that.
I almost gave up but fortunately a very good friend, who was a radio operator on a RAF bomber in WW2, suggested I start at a higher speed, around 25 wpm and listen for words and not dots and dashes. I followed his advice and only a few weeks later I managed to pass my CW test at 25 wpm.
This allowed me to upgrade my call to ZS6VER with full HF privileges. I soon changed my call to ZS6DX because I found that the VER suffix on my old call caused many repeats on CW. I also hold the calls ZS2M that I use when at my second QTH. When I am on holiday in Namibia, where I was born, I am on the air as V51VE.
Since passing the CW test, CW has always been my main and preferred operating mode. The only time I can be found on SSB is when chatting to a few local friends, the rest of my time on the air is spent DXing and partaking in contests.
Towards the end of 2002 I had worked most DX entities that was on the air during those years and I became a bit bored looking for a new challenge. Up till then I was running between 100W and 400W, our legal limit at that time, but this felt all too easy. I made the decision beginning of 2003 to start my DXCC count again from scratch but this time QRP only, so from 2003 I have been running QRP exclusively for all my CW activities. It is not always easy but it sure is fun!
Other than DXing and entering contests I do enjoy a good rag-chew on CW and I have a few regular QSO’s with friends and anyone else who wants to chat. I also enjoy restoring and collecting older radios. My collection of older radios is slowly growing, at the moment I am concentrating on older “flagship” radios from the three major players in the field. I often use them on the air so they do not just collect dust.
I have quite a few other hobbies as well, the main ones being photography, mostly landscapes, astronomy and microscopy. I have also been flying radio control planes since I was around 13 and I still fly competitively today. My model aircraft hobby resulted in me studying aeronautical engineering, learning to fly full-size aircraft and building a few aircraft at home over the years.
My one other big passion is sailing, I currently own a 53 foot Bruce Roberts yacht that I hope to take on an extended trip in the future. I did spend 28 months at sea on a 37 foot yacht from 1999 to 2001. So look out for me with a /MM added to my call!
Thanks for accepting me into the group, I hope to work many of you in the future!This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.