Sometime during the late 1960's or early 70's I found a single toy walki-talki in a local trash dump. After replacing the battery, I turned it on. It worked! An Appliance Operator was born! For quite a while all I heard was a steady hiss of static. ( Practice for future Dxing ). One day a voice came from that handheld piece of magic, a foreign voice. I was immediately hooked. Be as it was, CB was my first exposure to wireless communications. Not long afterward I heard of Ham Radio. It was only a matter of time before I "expanded my horizons".
As an 8-th grader I took a class called " Exploratory ". I got to study the subject of my choice, so I looked up "Radio" in an encyclopedia, which led me to Amateur Radio. That information led me to look up the Morse Code, which I copied to paper. Over a period of several months I gazed at that those mysterious symbols, eventually memorizing them. Dots and dashes in printed form. Not long afterwards my Dad bought me a Radio Shack cb/am broadcast receiver with a built in code practice oscillator. I learned to "send" before I could copy CW.
A year or so later, a summer job hauling 5 gallon buckets of cement and grout for my brother, who was a ceramic tile setter, produced a DX-160 shortwave receiver, code tape, hand key, code practice oscillator and the necessary study material for the Novice license. A month passed before I learned to copy CW off the air. One day my pen began to move with the flow of CW coming from the speaker of that DX-160. I still possess the scrap of paper on which I copied that message. It never occured to me that to obtain a Ham License, learning CW was an inconvenience or that it was a cruel method of "weeding out" the "undesirables" by an uncaring Federal Bureaucracy. After becoming a "fuller" member of the Dummies Net I passed the Novice written exam on my third attempt. Eventually I figured out how letters of the alphabet could be used in mathematical equations. Thats why it's suggested to study the ARRL Handbook along with the License Manual instead of simply attempting to memorize the answers to the questions.
Licensed on June 3, 1975 as WN5OSD. As an 18-19 year old Novice I qualified for W.A.S. endorsed 40 meter CW and took first place in La. during the 1976 Novice Round- Up ! My Rig was a WA5UAJ-constructed crystal controlled Heathkit HW-16. To make the $10 monthly payments, I had a weekend job, pumping gasoline at a small service station. The antennas were an somewhat horizontal 40 meter dipole and an 80 meter inverted vee. My Qth was Trees City, La. Population at the time was approximantly 40, located on the bank of Caddo Lake. To my knowledge I have been the only Ham Radio Operator to have operated from the community as a resident.
While still a Novice the FCC upgraded my callsign to WB5OSD. Ten days earlier, on Oct. 6, 1976 I had passed the General Class test before an FCC examiner in Shreveport, La. The first attempt !
On Dec. 2, 1976 I worked Maine, the final state needed to qualify for the ARRL Bicentennial W.A.S. award. ( all CW - all HW-16 ) . I possess the Worked 25 AA Award, for working 25 stations with only the 2 letters 'AA' in the suffix of their callsigns. It took 7 years to track them down. I have award #27, only 27 awards have been issued. Quite the coincidence today I am a member of A.A., a friend of Bill W. "Birthday" Nov. 28, 2001.
On Aug. 4, 1979 I attended the Little Rock, Ark. Hamfest with my Elmer and 2 other oldtimers with the intention of buying a brand new SSB rig. Earl suggested the Kenwood TS-520s but I was a bit short of cash. My Elmer and 2 traveling companions stepped up and chipped in toward the purchase of my first "big" rig. Once again many TNX gentlemen.
I passed the Advanced Class exam ( 2-nd attempt ) on Sept. 20, 1983 before an FCC examiner in Dallas, Tx. I passed the 20 w.p.m. code test but miserably failed the Extra written exam. Jan. 20, 1985 I finally aced the Extra written exam at one of the first V.E. sessions in Shreveport, La.
Dxing is my primary interest. I have 325 DXCC entities worked and 323 ON THE WALL. ( mixed Phone and CW ) On Oct. 4, 2013 I qualified for the CQ Worked All Zones award, almost all CW. Eleven months and 15 days after I mailed the application I hung this prize on the wall. Patience is a what ? My " pile-up philosophy " When the world says, " Give up " , Hope whispers, " Try it one more time."
On July 25, 2014 I received the 300 Club Award (for working and confirming 300 countries) issued by K9PXV-Great Lakes DX/Contest Club.
No computer logging. All logs on paper having recorded over 23,400 hf contacts.
The highlight of my Ham Radio operating occured on March 6, 2010. It was during my third tandem skydive. In the cargo pocket of my trousers was my Kenwood TH-K2 2-meter handheld transceiver. We bailed out from an altitude of 10,500 ft. After the main canopy deployed ( and my stomach caught up with me ) I retrieved the mic. and managed to make 7 contacts via local repeater. The first contact was from an altitude of 4000 ft. With that contact the "Outrageous Sky Diver" came into being.
Feb. 17, 2013 I made my fourth tandem skydive, pictured above, bailing out from an altitude of 12,000 ft. Once again I carried my 2-meter H.T. but no contacts was made due to local inactivity. I use the photography from these 4 jumps on my QSL cards. The return rate is most gratifying. Check out these websites, Images for cool qsl cards.com and parachutemobile.org ( archives March 2011 ).
Equipment : Icom IC-718, Kenwood TS-440s, audio powered by Heil Proset headset / foot switch. Ameritron AL-811h amplifier. I also utilize a secondhand Heathkit HW-16 / HG-10b vfo. My original HW-16 was stolen by a "ham" who claimed he could repair it. It was never returned nor was it replaced. ( Figure it out Brad ). Antennas include a Cushcraft A3-S 3 element tri-bander at 33 ft. mounted on a homebrew foldover rotatable mast I constructed from second-hand oil field pipe. Presently the rotor is out-of-order, so I turn the antenna with an 24-inch pipe wrench and an 3-foot " cheater pipe ". An G5RV "max" in an inverted vee configuration on a tree limb at 74 ft. A 40 meter inverted vee at 38 ft. All on a 150 ft. by 96 ft. city lot. No antenna restrictions, no city permits required. My neighbors appear to show no interest in what I do on my property, other than I being questioned with, " How did you get that string over that tree limb ? " and " Why do you have such a big antenna ? " I use the classic explanation, " Those wires were placed by U.F.O.'s. They use them as an geographical reference. The big antenna keeps away the U.F.O.'s. Without it the U.F.O.'s drive me crazy." To date no U.F.O.'s have been observed. Should one ( or more ) ever appear I will feel like a real idiot. Then I tell them the truth. " I used a slingshot, fishing line and a 1-oz. lead weight to get the string over the tree limb, after approximantly 10 attempts." I explain the directional and forward gain characteristics of the beam and that it is small compared to other antennas of the same design.
I collect telegraphy sending devices. I have and use 18 hand keys, 3 vibroplex "bugs", the oldest made in 1924. A Bencher Paddle, Vibrokeyer, an Heathkit HD-1410 electronic keyer ( vintage 1970's ) a keyboard and an Vibrokeyer " look-a-like " manufacturer unknown. ( Possibly homebrew ). I'm proud to be a KNOW code Ham!
I love Dxing. The big pile-ups really stir up my adrenalin, most especially for a new one. The K.C. "Cops" are another matter. During the next big pile-up, instead of yelling "Up !", "Up!", "Lid!" and other terms of endearment, how about letting the offender figure it out on his own, or send him a talk message on the packet cluster. We've all transmitted on the DX station by accident. Try to ensure you're not the one doing it. I support the DX Code of Conduct.
I QSL 100 % direct, sase appreciated but not required or via bureau. I even QSL simply because I enjoyed the Qso. No e-Qsl no Lotw. If not for the existance of DX Summit and QRZ.com I would not own a computer.
I admit I am not an electronic genius, nor do I care to be. I'll probably never hang an A-1 Operators Award on the shack wall. But I did demonstrate I mastered the knowledge necessary to operate an amateur station within the law by passing the prescribed exams. I know how to conduct myself over the airwaves so as not to lessen the pleasures of others. I know how to have fun with my privileges. If I hear " something " I don't approve of , I know how to " spin the dial ". I spent too much time studying for my license and spent too much of my hard earned money on my equipment for anything less. Most importantly I know how NOT to be an unknown, unseen asinine jerk who hides behind a microphone. Example: The so called "frequency police", the harsh speaking know-it-alls who can't control their own bladder yet believe they have the ability to control a pile-up. The ones who let us know we are on the wrong vfo, but they lack a callsign. A real Cop can produce proper I.D. Take a moment and think about it - a lot of these " QRMer's" do what they do just to get " us " to add to the qrm by having "us" make our unimportant comments. Let's not satisify the LID'S. Fot the LIDS silence is punishment.
Thank you for taking the time to read my bio.
Blue skies and 73
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