Just a note so there is no confusion as of 3/29/2014 I am inactive so if you hear my callsign it was not me!
As a child I grew up in a Naval community, Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, CA (where I was born and raised) and I used to visit the shipyard and the WW II subs that were always offered for display on military holidays. Mare Island stored many WW II submarines for many years after the war. I was always fascinated by the radio rooms on the subs and surface ships and the huge radio station at the shipyard at the time. I retired from this shipyard as a civilian electronics mechanic many years later. Just a tip~~if you don't like working on sonar don't go to work on the nuclear subs! Sonar is king there. I was pretty rare to even get a surface ship into our shipyard during my time there.
I first saw a ham radio station that belonged to a friend who was a couple of years older than I was around 1959 or so and took notes for him at his all CW station while he was in contact with Alaska after the earthquake of 1964 and I found that type of public service interesting.
A couple of years later I got drafted into the US Army during 1966. During the interview process they asked if you had a license for or any knowledge of ham radio. I told them I knew someone that had a station and had observed its operation. That was close enough for the Army and they sent me to Radio School at Fort Ord, MOS 05B, intermediate code speed Phone/CW operator. I guess it beat infantry at the time which is what most draftees got. In the fall of 1966 out of some 192 draftees in my BCT company only about 8 were sent to training other than 11B, infantry.
I arrived at my first duty station, Fort Huachuca, AZ and was assigned as a radio operator but within a few months I was selected for instructor duty at the Radio Operator's Course. I spent the next 2 years or so teaching map reading, some CW, and in the VRC-12/43-49 lab. I taught the operation of that family of radios (VRC-12 and VRC-43-VRC-49) and PRC-25 and wire integration with the SB-22 and other switchboards into the field phone systems. I also sub taught the GRC-19 lab and set up the GRC-106 lab when we got the radios in 1968. I was hoping for that instructor slot but I got out ranked by an E-6! Rank does have it's privileges after all.
I will say this about CW, not all could learn it and many stumbled with the 10-13 WPM testing. And they had incentive to learn it as if they didn't at the time they were usually reassigned to infantry training.
I signed up for another 4 years with the Army and was sent to Germany. I was expecting Vietnam and this was a surprise to me. I had little to do with communications from that point on as I was with a brand new Hawk self propelled missile outfit in Germany and 155 mm howitzer self-propelled outfits once I returned stateside. They just had me do whatever they needed me for in addition to minimal communications duties in a couple of artillery outfits. I guess once you leave communications outfits your fate is doomed.
After discharge from the Army in 1972 I went to work for the U.S. Navy at Concord Naval Weapons Station as a civilian at a type II calibration lab as a trainee. There was not much training there (they wanted you to get it on your own on your own time) however so about a year later I applied for an old fashioned four year apprenticeship as an electronics mechanic with the U.S. Navy at another base, Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California. I got my first ham ticket, a Novice, right after radio schooling with the Navy about 1974. That was KA6HRS if I remember correctly. I was only active for a little over a year or so but schooling, work w/overtime and the family were all interfering with one another so I sold the station off and let the license lapse.
While in the Army we used CW rarely and certainly not enough to maintain the proficiency of 15 WPM which was the graduation requirement from radio operators school. I got much more use out of CW as a tool as a novice than I ever did in the Army. But today I don't use it much at all and never considered myself a good CW op. I play with it once in awhile today but I am slow. After letting my license lapse about 1976 I did not get active again in a ham radio until about 2000 starting out with a Tech+ test, then to general class about a month later followed by Extra a year or so later. After my wife finally retired a few years back we landed in Prescott Valley, Arizona. She is a native Arizonan who was born in Tombstone but for many reasons we did not want to be that close to the border with Mexico. We purchased a home in an HOA area and I was prepared to operate in a stealth mode but they allowed me to erect my 33' vertical antenna. I also planted a couple of fast growing trees in the yard for a future wire antenna install~assuming I live long enough to do it. Following my lead it appears a couple of other hams in this area have also now applied for and got permission for similar antennas within this HOA.
Other interests are fishing in the local lakes (but I do miss the bigger salt water fish I grew up with), handgun shooting for sport (don't hunt anymore), digital photography and riding around in the mountains of AZ with my little Mazda Miata. I also play with some electric RC aircraft~~well I crash a lot!
Please note that my eQSL card is not my direct card which is shown below for triple letter collectors. A sample of my direct card is shown below. Your card gets mine, no SASE needed.
73 and enjoy life, it can be all too short for many.
Last modified: 2014-03-31 14:01:49, 7779 bytes
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