First licensed as a Novice in 1974 signing WN4JQX, I became WA4JQX with my General ticket and also used AA4JQX in 1976 during the bicentennial celebration. I established a secondary station at college and was assigned WD4DSB for a brief period. When I moved from Virginia to Maryland in the early 1980s, I relinquished the fourth call area designator and became KC3VI with the Advanced Class license that I had obtained during college. There was a long period that I was radio-inactive on HF and used VHF only while away on business trips. In 2005, I joined the ranks of disabled hams as a rare degenerative neuromuscular disorder began to take its toll on my body. Having been planted in a wheelchair for the rest of my life and slowing down a tad bit to "smell the roses," I rediscovered HF radio, local radio clubs and made many new radio-active friends. I now see what all I had missed out on during my busy years. My, my, how ham radio has evolved! Still a lot to grab my renewed interest in HF and plenty to keep me busy. In 2007, I decided to request a vanity call to reclaim my fourth call area designation where I still hold fond memories. I chose K4EET for Electrical Engineering Technologist but my wife prefers Ears, Eyes and Toes. I'm still her Mr. Potato Head! Hi, hi.
I want to cite a man that I have never forgotten although I lost touch with him long, long ago. He was quite a guy. Copied CW in one ear at 40 WPM and still carried on a conversation with me at the same time; all full duplex!. At the time, I was a recent high school graduate and had been bitten by the ham radio bug. This man took me under his "key" and taught me what I needed to know to pass my Novice license. Once I was licensed, he gave me an antenna tuner that he had home-brewed many years prior to compliment a Heathkit SB-102 station that I had just built and on the air I was! That man? My Elmer.
Bill Nighman W4ZSH (now an SK and he also held W4XR).
I'll never be able to show Bill where all ham radio has taken me but it did persuade me to specialize in Radio Communications Theory and VLF to SHF Propagation at Virginia Tech and land a job with Motorola Communications and Electronics as a Microwave Product Consultant and later as a Two-Way Radio and Point-to-Point Communications Systems Engineer. I "played" with radios all throughout my professional career and ended up using Motorola radios at the end of my career working in Public Safety within the State and Local Government sector as the Police Communications Systems Manager of a large 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center responsible for all of the Motorola Radio Consoles, Geac Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD), Plant 9-1-1 Phase II Telephone Answering System (TAS) with Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) for cellular telephones, and all mobile/portable Motorola radios used by the sworn Police officers. What an experience to know that people's lives, citizens and our own Police officers alike, relied on the systems that I had overall responsibility for. Talk about a heavy responsibility! I give all the glory, honor and praise to our loving God for giving me the necessary confidence and knowledge to keep everything operational with top-notch reliability.
If it had not been for my Elmer, Bill Nighman, W4ZSH/W4XR, I may have never known that radio communications
So here I am in 2013, using my Drake TR7 and Yaesu FT-757GX HF transceivers and an Icom IC-208H VHF/UHF transceiver and still wishing that I could enjoy a long rag chew with my Elmer. Thanks again Bill! You got me started in a great hobby that I would enjoy for my entire life.
73 to all es hope to have a nice QSO with you all one day! Dave, K4EET
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