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VE2XB Canada flag Canada

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First of all, with the beginning of 2014 upon us, it's time to reflect on how I got started in ham radio some 30 + years ago. Actually, it goes back earlier to my first Elmer, Bill Still, W2GJR/VE2 (SK- RIP). Bill was a friendly guy on my street back in Dollard des Ormeaux (DDO). He had a zillion antennas on his roof--yagis, loops, verticals, dishes, eggbeaters--and more.

He was a kindly man in the neighbourhood. He fixed people's radios,TVs, tape-recorders, and walkie-talkies for the Police and Firemen. He had movie night in his garage/driveway for all the kids nearby every other Friday in the summer--and it was FREE!!! All you had to do was show up with a lawnchair and enjoy. And of course, it didn't hurt to get there a little before 7/1900 for a good place to put your chair. He even supplied the popcorn!

From those humble beginnings, a friendship ensued and I became Bill's helper. He was divorced with no kids and had lots of errands and chores to do and he gave me a few bucks to help him out. One day, he needed some help cleaning up the basement. When we went downstairs, I saw that it was filled with radios. I mean, it was like being in an airplane cockpit--radios wall-to-wall. I was just 10 years old and was instantly fascinated with the lights and dials of his Collins, Drake, Swan, Pye, Hammarlund and Hallicrafters rigs. He also made a lot of his gear built to his specs. He used to say, if you want it to be rugged and durable, then build it yourself. So, he had lots of homebrew amps, receivers and xmitters that filled the basement and were an easy reach from his bench and  operating desk.

While I was cleaning the floor and emptying boxes, he turned on his minty Collins 51J4 and I heard my first sounds of cw. I was hooked after that and did as many odd jobs for Bill just to get a listen here and there to those melodic sounds of cw. After a few weeks, he saw that I was keenly interested in cw and began to teach me code and electronics. And of course, he gave me odd jobs to do-- but only after I listened to the 51J4 and read back to him what I copied from W1AW. I got better and better at my cw and made a few bucks here and there to get tools and supplies to make go-karts-- but none of this would have happened without him nurturing, encouraging, and cultivating my interest in cw and electronics. None of this would have happened without his patience, understanding, sensitivity, encouragement and support. Nada, zip. zilch and squat.

I am very lucky to have an Elmer who is alive and kicking, my dear friend, Don, ve3rm. He lives just across the border in Ontario on a lovely spread out in the country with no pesky neighbours nearby. He has some nice antennas out back and a classic oldie but goodie, an Alpha 87A. Don taught me electronics at what was then Westhill High School in the evenings as part of the Montreal Amateur Radio Club's ham radio classes. Together with Ron, ve2kw (SK-RIP) who taught me cw, I was able to get my first ticket then my advanced soon after. I was also a member of the West Island Club and some guys in the Club lent rigs to new hams, so I was able to get a rig and get on hf quickly. My first rig was a Heahkit or Griefkit, dx-60/hr-10b and then advanced to hw-100. I had several paper routes at the time to earn some bux. After several months of saving (my Dad didn't believe in allowances!), I got a Heathkit sb-300/400 combo then a sb-303/401. My first commercially made rig that I bought was a Yaesu ft-101ex, which was barebones, no options. After trying that I waited until one of the Clubs had a deal with Radiowarehouse in Texas at the time and we kids were able to get a new ts-520s for a decent price. That was 6 months of savings from 3 paper routes! That was my greatest rig for several years! Then I upgraded to the ts-530s, when the warc bands became assigned to hams.

Don remains a dear friend and a constant inspiration and a pure joy to visit--I try to visit as much as I can. He has a lovely Calico cat that jumps up on the desk near the computer when he wants food or to be stroked on his silky smooth coat. This kitty opens doors with his paws! He even goes out in the rain or snow! Most cats dread rain or snow and avoid them. He is certainly a different cat from others, much smarter and curious and always thinking about the world outside. He is very unique. What do they say about cats and their owners? That they often have similar character traits of their owners.

I raise a glass to you, Bill, W2GJR/VE2 (RIP) for inspiring me to study and get my ticket, Don, ve3rm who taught me electronics and made learning fun and Ron, ve2kw (SK-RIP). Cheers buddies! You are all smiling and watching over me.

I lucked out with Ron, ve2kw now (SK-RIP) who taught me cw and really prepared me well for the Industry Canada exams. He used lots of exercises to make learning cw faster, easier and more fun. One exercise was to say out loud the word or number in cw every time I saw a street sign. It worked. I aced both cw exams and the electronic theory exams too! The examiners were surprised this little kid could do so well. I remember seeing their jaws drop!

God bless all the Elmers out there! You may not realize how much of a difference you make in people's lives. You inspire the next generation of hams!

I also want to say thanks to Greta and Brad Quintin who are dear friends in lovely Vermont. They had a another son this year, Andrew Jackson, or AJ.

Greta is a lovely person and friend that I have known many years. She acts as my defacto personal assistant when I travel.

I am in the process of establishing a few memorial stations: One to honor my Dad, Harold, and that will be mostly Icom with an Icom PRO, Heil PR-781 with boom and foot switch, IC2-kl amp combo, R-75 rcvr and a Cubex quad from Roger, a dear and kindly fellow. One to honor Ted Quintin, the Father of Brad with some older Yaesu classics, including: Ft-1000D, ft-990, ft-920 loaded, Kenwood ts-950sdx, Drake B and C LInes. One Drake C Line has custom made aluminum spinners on the tuning dials.The amp will be a hefty Icom PW-1. Antennas will be a Wilson 5 el tribander, 3 el yagi on 40m and Mosley 4 el yagi, the tw-34xl warc for 12, 17 and 30m. And my 2014 project is to make a 3 el delta loop beam for 75m. This will be a large antenna! Another station in the works will be for W1KOO with FT-5000MP, Alpha 87a, Heil headsets and mics. I donated some KLM antennas to them but they have not put them up, yet. And I will see W2IR this year for Field Day. Hi, Denis, Stan and Michelle!

I helped John, W4JML with some antennas (Mosley ta-34xl and Cushcraft A3WS) and a nice Icom 756 PRO, and a Heil headset with mic and hand triggers, so he will have a happy holiday!

And Bill,KE7FPV, a volunteer fireman in Nevada and his devoted team of firemen with a nice ft-840 for a song.

My lovely and charming XYL got me a Tentec Eagle 599 for Xmas with every option! it is quite neat and sits beside my fully loaded K3 and Icom PRO 3 with inrad roofing filter mod. I run a Tokyo 550fx amp and LDG 1000 tuner.

73, dx, good health, god bless

Mike, ve2xb (Catch you in the pileups...)

RIP Nelson Mandela, a great inspiration to all mankind. He preached tolerance and non-violence and kept his word by not seeking revenge on his oppressors.

I do qsl dierct and thru the buro for ve2xb/w1, V31xb, ve2xb/VY0, VY0BRR, J79XB, VP2MXB, and recently active as FP/ve2xb. Just send a self addressed envelope with CDN stamps or 2 IRCs or 2 greenbacks. I am NOT qsl mgr for any other calls!!! Planning a trip to 8Q7 and 7Q7 soon. Thanks a lot/Merci bien/Taima/Gracias.




20681 Last modified: 2014-01-19 03:16:14, 7961 bytes

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