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W9BIK is a vanity call that originally belonged to my father, Hugh Barkley, in Hinsdale, IL during the late 1920's & early 1930's. I still have some of his "9BIK" QSL cards from back then -- very interesting to read what they built back then, since there was very little commercial amateur radio equipment. He inspired me to become a ham when I was a young boy in elementary school in Chicago during the 1950's. Unfortunately he passed away when I was 15 and I did not carry through with getting my license until I was about 20.
I joined the U.S. Navy at 17 and stayed for a 21-year career. I went to boot camp at Great Lakes, IL in 1962 and studied aviation electronics at Memphis, TN and San Diego, CA. In 1964, just prior to getting my ham license, I helped provide communications for the Alaskan earthquake, running autovon phone patches between Fairbanks and federal government offices in Washington, D.C.under the watchful eyes of other military hams at the WA6TBY club station at NAS North Island, CA (San Diego). This stirred my long interest in EMCOM.
I was first licensed in 1964 as WA9LDU while serving in the Navy at San Diego. While overseas in the western pacific during the early days of the Vietnam War in the mid 1960's, I would often run phone patches for the other guys in the squadron using the military radios (ARC-38A, ARC-94, etc.). Later, in the mid to late 1960's, I was stationed in Memphis, TN, first as a student in the Avionics Intermediate (B) School, and later as an electronics instructor for several years. While there, I changed my call to WB4CBZ and was very active on 6M SSB with my SB-110 and a 4-element Cush Craft beam at 70 feet.
In the early 1970's I was briefly stationed in a squadron at NAS Quonset Point, RI, where I had the honor to "ride" the USS Intrepid on a couple of short cruises, once through a hurricane near Bermuda. The USS Intrepid is now a floating museum in New York City.
During the early 1970's I was stationed at NAS Lakehurst, NJ where I ran the Aircraft Maintenance Department's Calibration Facility. It was a great place to work, especially since I was rebuilding an R-390A from the ground up and could use the facility’s test equipment to align it! I was very active in the Jersey Shore Amateur Radio Club at the time and provided frequency counter service at the club meetings for the crystal controlled VHF and UHF mobile rigs used at the time. I was voted in as a JSARS life member just prior to being transferred to PMTC Point Mugu, CA in early 1976.
At PMTC Point Mugu I became very active with the ~300 member Sulphur Mountain Repeater Association, eventually serving as President of the SMRA. I was active with the ARES, serving on several occasions in support of floods or brush fires in the canyons nearby. I also was active with Navy MARS, especially at the nearby Port Hueneme Naval Station, the west coast home of the Navy Construction Battalion (Seabee’s). I would take a 4-hour shift once or twice a week at the Port Hueneme club station running phone patches for overseas Seabee’s. While at Point Mugu I petitioned for and started an amateur radio club, with facilities in a back room at the Station Theater and antennas on telephone poles installed by the Seabee’s as a favor. The transmitters often caused interference in the theater's audio system, so needless to say we had restricted operating hours!
In mid-1979 I was transferred to NAS Willow Grove, PA where I was initially assigned as the Avionics Division Chief for the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department, and later as the Maintenance Chief. My last year in the Navy I was assigned as the Command Master Chief for NAS Willow Grove, working directly for the base CO and XO for the betterment of the enlisted community. I retired from the Navy in 1983 and stayed in the SE Pennsylvania area. Shortly after retiring from the Navy I changed my call to KC3HK because I decided to remain in the PA, the U.S."3" call area.
During the mid to late 1980’s and early 1990’s I was very active in RACES, eventually serving as the RACES Coordinator for Bucks County, PA for a short time before my wife passed away in 1995. At the time I had a very young daughter and relinquished most of my ham radio activity as a single parent.
I am slowly increasing my ham radio activity, since it has always been near and dear to my heart. I obtained my fathers old call sign, W9BIK as a vanity call and often think of those days when he was a radio pioneer. I am active on 2M & 70CM FM in the mobile with an FT-8900, although my commute is only 5 minutes and that does not give me much time on the air. I also have an FT-857D & Little Tarheel II that will be going mobile soon. We have a summer house in northern VT, and the mobile rigs help make that trip a little shorter. I also have an FT-950 I use as a base station with a 40M doublet on 40M and up. Hope to have an 80M full wave loop soon. My old IC-740 still works well and is kept in reserve as a backup.
See you on the bands!
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