For those of you who came here looking for the story behind the above image that appears on the front of my QSL card, see below under the heading "My Breadboard Radio"
I first became interested in radio (and electronics technology) at a fairly young age (10?), building a number of crystal sets and eventually having someone give me an old WWII National Receiver, an NC-100. Listening to the SW broadcast stations, NSS (dah-dit, di-di-dit, di-di-dit is STILL burned into my brain), and hams on that old clunker made me want to get on the air myself. In 1959, at age 14, I took my Novice in a local ham's basement hamshack and eventually went to the FCC offices in Philly to get my General. With parts bought by my Dad and help from electrical engineer neighbor Harold Cassidy (later became K3OMX, now SK) I built a dual-6L6 transmitter and upgraded to a Heathkit AR-3 receiver with Q-Multiplier. But college, marriage, fatherhood and having a busy career (in electronics, thankfully) quickly pushed ham radio right out of my life.
On a Saturday in August, 1999, my XYL called from her volunteer job at Pigeon Point Lightstation in Pescadero CA to tell me about some hams who had set up there for a ARLHS event. I went over to the lighthouse, made friends with Frank N7FF and Randy W6JZE, and quickly caught the ham radio "bug" again. I studied for the Technician and went to a VEC session in September. After passing the Technician, the fellows administering things said "Why not take the General too? You already paid your eight dollars and it'll be good practice even if you fail!". Guess it's a bit like riding a bicycle. I passed, and with the help of the Vanity program, quickly became K3KOA again! I went to the local HRO store and bought an HT while contemplating what to do about HF. I quickly tired of the often-inane drive-time chatter on 2M and gravitated back to HF and CW. I found that I could make lots contacts for the WAS and DXCC during contests but quickly began doing the contests for their own sake. I upgraded to Extra in 2000 and eventually became K6RM. I joined NCCC and after a few years served as a Board Member and Secretary/Treasurer for a year.
Moved here in 2011 and I'm still adjusting to the local ham radio scene. We have a nice local club (Brunswick Shores Amateur Radio Club) that meets for breakfast every Wednesday AM and does a few other events like Field day in a low-key relaxed manner; just my style! I joined the Carolina DX Association and also finally managed to attend the mandatory two PVRC meetings and became a member of same.
My Breadboard Radio
After moving to North Carolina, I became friends with two wonderful people named Sharon and Tony. They asked me if I was shopping for anything in particular at the hamfests I was driving off to weekend after weekend. I explained how I had a hankering for a nice "Breadboard"-style radio, like an old 1920's Atwater Kent, to put on display in my new home. I also explained that nice ones can be very costly and showed them a photo of one that recently sold at auction for $1200.
Neither Sharon or Tony are hams, but Sharon is VERY artistic ("paper clay" sculptures are her favorite) and for my first birthday in my new home they surprised me by unveiling the "radio" you see on the front of my QSL. What a wonderful and thoughtful surprise! I'm no longer shopping for a breadboard radio. I already have the best one in the world!
By the way, the label partially obscured by the fishing reel handle reads "Swampwater Kent", a joking reference to our Lowlands location here on the North Carolina coast.
More to be added later,
73, Barry K6RM
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