Steve Hopley, G4YTK

CWops# 3449, from Cannock , Staffordshire , UK.---->View on Google maps

Before I start my story I would like to say a big thank you for my nomination and to my sponsors: I5ECW, K0MD, G3WW, I5EFO and M0NGN. Without these I would not be a member of CWops.

I was born in 1958. I remember way back in the early ‘70s when I became interested in ham radio. This interest came from my father, G4ETA. I must say at this point my granddad was a ham before the war with his call 5FG. His station was confiscated on the outbreak of the war.

Around 1980 I started to work towards the RAE, I passed my exam and I was given the call G6NOC. My RAE tutor was an old friend, G4DBR, who loved Morse. He was a former Royal Signal Army Operator.

It wasn’t long before I decided to study Morse code. I passed the exam at 12 wpm at a coastal radio station and I gained the call sign G4YTK in 1984.

My first HF radio was an old KW200B and the antenna I used was a half size G5RV. I soon become very keen on CW, later exchanging my old KW for a FT-901 and then later for a TS450s, buying an R5 Vertical and a Samson paddle. By the way, my grandad did visit my shack and even though he was in his 90s and hadn’t listened to Morse code for over 40 years he could still write down what he was listening to.

In 2004 I joined the police force and family life and the job was getting busy so this took me away from the hobby.

In autumn 2019 I retired from the police force and started to have more free time. Along with my wife and our border collie dog, we started to tour the UK in our caravan, did more walking and took up kayaking. Spring 2020 Covid and lock down started: what was I going to do now?

I looked in the cupboard and wondered if the TS-450 would work, well it did. Would the old R5 vertical work? I spent a couple of weeks stripping the vertical down, cleaning and rebuilding it. The country was in lockdown so my interest was re-ignited.

The big day came and the antenna worked. I dug out the old Samson paddle and found it was as rusty as me. My 20 wpm of yesteryear was long gone but I made a few QSOs.

Covid lockdown was still continuing and I decided to buy a new radio, an IC-7300, spending my daughters inheritance. Later I changed my old R5 Vertical for a DX Commander Classic, spending more of the daughters inheritance. My Morse was getting better and I had found my love for CW was coming back, spending my time chasing SOTA and POTA stations, and rag chewing.

Covid ended and one day I paid a visit to a local ham radio store and walked out with a new FTDX10 before my wife noticed I had once again spent more of the daughter’s inheritance. January 2023 I spent even more, buying a Begali Pearl twin paddle. What a dream of a Morse key.

Now I have another thankyou to K9KJ (CWOPS 3228), I found TJ on his YouTube channel during summer 2023. I don’t know why I stopped on his channel, he talked about contests which I had never taken any interest in and also the CWops group. I never would have thought that I could become a member of CWops, as my Morse code speed fell way short of 25 wpm and I also have a problem with dyslexia. I believe anyone working me who was a member of the group would think my pauses were due to a poor Morse code, but I decided to give the CWT a try on a Wednesday. I struggled, only making 6 contacts over the hour. The next week I worked 10 stations and I was hooked. But how would I get over the dyslexia, yet alone build my speed? On YouTube I found lots of Morse videos on common 100 and 250 words. I ditched the pen and moved onto head reading concentrating on the word. My speed and accuracy in receiving and sending was improving. I noticed when we returned from our holiday which was once every month, my speed in receiving had increased. A week’s break seemed to have helped.

So that’s my story, come November I was nominated and had sponsors, 1st December I received a congratulations e-mail from CWops. Wow talk about being pleased, I can’t explain how it made me feel.

I have found in life that whatever your hobby is, surround yourself with people who are better than you, (that’s certainly true with CWops) because the love and commitment for the hobby will be passed on to you.

So I hope one day my love and affection for Morse code might be passed on to someone else, you never know one day my grandson or daughters might take an interest, they do like to have a look at what I’m doing.

Other hobbies I have are weather forecasting where I have over 24k followers on Facebook, Cannock Chase Weather. I enjoy flying and filming with my drone and I present a musical show on the local radio station.

This biography is what appeared in Solid Copy when the member joined CWops.

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