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In 1964 I came very close to getting my license but at the last minute chose a career in computer science. I worked in the emerging micro-processor field with the first 8008 and 8080's in Canada. When BBS's became popular I owned one of those and I also wrote a software article for Interface Age magazine in 1978. I then began to work in ground to air HF and VHF communications at airports around the world and I regretted not getting a HAM license but it wasn’t until 1987 that I finally got VE3XMT.  An earnest pursuit of improved antenna design and building of transmitter locating equipment kept me busy for a while.  In 1992 I designed the first wire-wrapped Mobile Digital Audio Repeater in Canada using Mitel CODECS and using a ROM controlled sequencer, not a CPU. This approach is now the foundation of many modern signal processors. In 1994 I designed a phased-array DF system for hidden transmitter "Fox Hunts". The stitch-weld and hand-wired unit was called the "Willenweb" and was eventually donated to a local club in Ottawa. It is still operational and in use today 16 years later. After organizing other successful group radio and antenna projects, and a patent application (based on phased array antennas),  I was promoted to a new job in California. Upon arrival I decided to retest as a “Rite of Passage” and at 5wpm earned KF6OWQ, at 13wpm earned KQ6ZN and finally at 20wpm AD6IA. During this time I travelled extensively overseas and in 1996 was one of the first users and developers of audio link communications (now known as VOIP) to North America from Japan. I applied for a shorter vanity call and got AB9U in 2000. With this new call I worked 135 countries from my various mobile stations (160M to 10M HF). My equipment included a Yaesu FT100, ICOM IC7000, ICOM 706mk IIg, two ALS500 amplifiers, more than 50 different mobile antennas (not all at once), a Mirage 5030 for 300 watts SSB on 2M, and an IRLP node on 2M. With newly  available computer enhancement I began to use SSTV, AMTOR, PSK31, STREAM, and a dozen other emerging digital data and packet protocols.  Commuting 500 miles per week in the Bay Area allowed for many contacts and daily testing. Yet, all things come to an end and in 2005 I retired from my job in Silicon Valley and went into horse ranching but maintained my antenna design hobby. I also began a Ham Call  Sign Engraving business using a 60 watt CO2 Laser and a CNC table. Then in 2007 I moved to Cottonwood Arizona where I now live. On arrival here I sold almost all of my HAM gear on eBay since HF propagation had almost vanished. Now that we are in a new sunspot cycle and conditions are improving again I am starting to collect new gear. This time though it’s going to be software defined radio all the way. WebSDR and Flex-Radio are my new windows to the Ham Bands. 73 and all the best from Wil - AB9U.

 

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