Celebrating 50 years in Ham Radio!
I got my Novice class license in October 1964. The picture to the right was taken just after upgrading to General (WA4VXR) the following summer. In 1970 I upgraded to Advanced Class. In the mid-'60's I was a member of the Huguenot High School Amateur Radio Club in suburban Richmond. That club hatched a number of hams who are still active on the air today. We get together on 40 meters on Sunday mornings and every year for Field Day.
Following several years of college I joined the US Coast Guard. From 1971 to 1974 I was an Electronics Technician (Radar) aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Ingham. We primarily stood Ocean Station duty in the middle of the Atlantic which included taking frequent weather observations, providing navagational fixes to ships and aircraft, and making ocean-science measurements. We were always ready for search-and-rescue. During those years I was active as WA4VXR/MM on Maritime and Hurricane nets and with a lot of help from some very generous hams back in the US, handled personal phone patches to connect our crew and their families.
Today, Ingham is a floating museum on the waterfront in Key West, Florida. Please visit http://www.uscgcingham.orgfor more information about the ship and Museum. And be sure to work Ingham's ham station, NR4DL, during the Museum Ships Weekend and Coast Guard Day on-air activities. NRDL was her military callsign, thus the very appropriate ham call!
In 1978 I received my Extra Class license having passed the exam, as I did with the pervious tests, at an FCC Field Office. Then in 1989, with a new block of callsigns opened up by the FCC, I decided the old call was too long and cumbersome for VHF contesting so I switched to the present one. Its not a vanity call, doesn't represent anything special, its just what popped out of the FCC computer at the time.
My primary radio today is a Ten-Tec Orion. The second radio is an IC-7000 and I have dusted off my old TS-711A / TE amp combo for 2M SSB and CW. Antennas are a Force12 C3ss yagi at 50 feet, a HyGain 4-el 6M yagi 5 feet above that and in between them is a 6-el InnovAntennas LFA yagi for 2 meters. 80 and 40 is covered by a trap Inverted-Vee and for 30 meters I have a home-brew wire ground plane hanging from a tree limb. VHF/UHF FM and D-Star duties are handled by an Icom ID-880H using a Diamond dual-band vertical side-mounted on the tower.
Over the years, my on-air activity has varied, some years more active than others. I am frequently on 80 - 2 meters, phone, cw, and digital including PSK, JT65 and now JT9, plus 2m and 70cm FM and D-Star. I enjoy RTTY contesting, VHF meter openings, various QSO Parties, and can be found chasing DX. Several times a year I team up for multi-op contests with long-time ham buddy N4HB at his station near the Chesapeake Bay - that salt-water ground works wonders on 160!
Operating Awards include DXCC on 8 bands, DXCC Challenge, WAZ, VUCC (6 mtrs, close on 2) and WAS Triple Play, all running 100w or less. I usually finish quite well in RTTY contests in the Low Power Single Op class.
If my name looks familiar to those of you in the Amsat world, yes, I was active on the satellites for a while in the early '90's but my Uncle Wray was W8GQW (sk).
My working career has been a direct extension of the Ham Radio hobby. Beginning part-time in the mid-'60's, I have been in the engineering and operations side of television broadcasting and have spent much of that time responsible for the installation and maintenance of analog and now digital high-power VHF and UHF transmitters and microwave systems. I have been with Richmond's NBC affiliate WWBT since 1977. I held a Radar-Endorsed First Class Radiotelephone License until the FCC downgraded those to General Class, which I hold today.
QSL info is good here on qrz.com. I upload to LoTW frequently and answer all paper and eQSL's. SWL reports are always welcome.
73 and hope CU soon!
1150507 Last modified: 2014-08-03 21:20:54, 7157 bytes
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