Hey, just for the record, although my name shows above as Charles, I go by my middle name, Fred.
Visit my Blog/Website at http://www.af7s.com for more current musings. I'm constantly writing thoughts about DXing, and many of them have been published on DX-WORLD.net
Follow me on twitter - @af7s. I tend to share a lot there.
I've been involved in emergency service and public service communications for many years, always on a volunteer basis while I made my living in another field - first selling large scale computer systems, and then for the past 16 years as a portrait photographer.
But recently, I was selected as the Communications Officer for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, and now I get paid very well for my passion and involvement in emergency service communications.
I adhere and heartily endorse the DX CODE OF CONDUCT . Wish everyone did; it would make our hobby so much more enjoyable! If you haven't read it, click on the link and do so.
Traffic Cops - you're worse than those who are calling on the DX frequency. Stick to your own knittin'. Oh, and four letter words, and insults have no place in this hobby. If that's your style, go back to CB
If you're trying for a DX station in a pileup, the first rule is LISTEN. Too many are so busy transmitting they'd never hear if the DX station came back to them. If he came back the the "W7Z" station, and you're a K9Q, why in the world do you think he'd actually respond to you just because you're calling when he's trying to hear someone else. Do you talk over others when you have a conversation in person?
Believe it or not, by using good operating practices, you'll probably work MORE DX and the DXpeditions will work more of us. It's a simple concept.
Above all, remember -THIS IS A HOBBY!!!!! You won't die if you don't work the DX station this very minute. Keep it in perspective.
I'm just a little peanut whistle, currently running a Kenwood TS-590 (fabulous radio) at100 watts and an OCF dipole. But so far in 2013 (through March), I've worked 180 countries for the year with that setup (203 in 2011, 215 in 2012). An amplifier is being rebuilt, and a tower and beam will go up later this spring.
I'm currently sitting at 309 countries worked and 292 confirmed.
_ . . . _ _ . . . _
First licensed as WN7GZA in 1966, I've been a ham for nearly 45 years now. For the past 20 years, I've been relatively inactive, with only occasional forays onto 2 meters.
But I've now caught the bug again, and starting to get active. A temporary antenna went up in late December 2010, and I now have an OCF at 65 feet, which is working gangbusters. I've worked 200 countries and all 40 zones since getting back on the air in January 2011.
Plans are in the works to put up the tower and beam this summer, because I think I'll need it to get the last 65 on the DXCC list.
During my career, I've been involved in nearly all aspects of the hobby. Dxing (292 countries worked), contesting, ARES, president of the local radio club and repeater association, founder of TOPS (The Oregon Packet System), satellite communications, even a couple of experiments with TV. You name it, I've probably been involved.
My daughter, Hollie, KA7SJP got her novice at the age of 6 and her tech at the age of 7. She was the inspiration for the Cindy Wall series of books on ham radio, and Cindy even used her call as the call of the main character, Kim.
Once Hollie got her license, my wife, Kathie, decided she could't be shown up by a six year old, and she got her tech, and is N7JFD. Following that, my father in law, Budd, got his license and became KA7TOG - Tired Old Goat, we called him. We lost him in 1998, but ham radio became a big part of his life.
I currently hold a DXCC, with credit for 239 Verified, 259 confirmed and 292 worked, CW-DXCC, WAS, 5BWAS, WAZ, WAC and PBS (Peanut Butter Sandwich). Working on 5BDXCC - still need 80 meters.
When I'm not hamming, I'm probably creating visual hugs for my customers, helping them keep those they love close, even when they're not (I'm a portrait photographer, specializing in photographing relationships between people who love each other), or spending time with my grandchildren (two granddaughters born a month a part, and a grandson who's coming up on 8.
If we exchange cards, you'll probably have a picture of my grandaughter Kennedy, whos my favorite portrait subject. My other granddaughter, Cecilia, lives in Alaska (her daddy is an Air Force Officer), so she doesn't get to be in front of my camera much.
I still like good old fashioned paper QSL cards, but everything is uploaded to LOTW. I also frequently upload to EQSL, and I'm AG, but don't yet actively puruse any of their awards. Bean a long term ham, I still prefer the traditional ARRL awards. It's just part of who I am.
The following is just so I can keep a record.
Took the Novice test in early March, 1966, license arrived on March 20, 1966, just before my 15th birthday.
First contact - W7AQL, March 22, 1966
General test July 3, 1966, License arrived 9-11-66
Advanced test April 76, license arrived 9-3-76, 18 weeks after the test due to the paperwork getting lost at the local FCC office. Working through Senator Hatfields office, got a special temporary authorization to work until license arrived.
Extra test December 8, 1978. License arrived Jan 2, 1979 with new call - AF7S, and that's been my call ever since. It's a great CW contesting call, so I'll never change it to one of those using my initials - plus I'm sure W7FM is long gone. (My first name is Charles, but I go by Fred, my middle name, thus the FM)