Somewhere back in 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! For quite a while all I heard was a steady hiss of static. 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. But I had already heard of Ham Radio, so it was only a matter of time.
In 1972, at the age of 15, I looked up the Morse Code in an encyclopedia and copied it 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. Two years 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 that scrap of paper on which I copied that message. It never occured to me that to obtain a Ham License, learning CW would be 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.
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. I had a weekend job at a small service station pumping gasoline to make the $10 monthly payments. My Qth was Trees City, La., 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 I had passed the elements for the General Class license before an FCC Examiner in Shreveport, La. ( Oct. 6, 1976 ).
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 320 DXCC entities worked and 314 "on the wall". On Oct. 4, 2013 I qualified for the CQ Worked All Zones award, almost all CW.
No computer logging. All logs on paper having recorded over 22,300 hf contacts.
The highlight of my Ham Radio operating occured on March 6, 2010. During this my third tandem skydive I operated " parachute mobile " with a Kenwood TH-K2 2-meter handheld transceiver secured in the cargo pocket of my trousers. We bailed out from an altitude of 10,000 ft. After the main canopy deployed ( and my stomach caught up with me ) I managed to make 7 contacts via local repeater beginning at an altitude of 4000 ft. Therefore with my first 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.
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. Antennas include a Cushcraft A3-S at 33 ft. mounted on a homebrew foldover rotatable mast I constructed from second-hand oil field 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 and that big antenna keep away the U.F.O.'s. Without them 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 explain," I used a slingshot, fishing line and a 1-oz. lead weight to get the string over the tree limb, after approximantly 10 attempts." Then 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 15 straight keys, 3 vibroplex "bugs", the oldest made in 1924. A Bencher Paddle, Vibrokeyer and a keyboard. I'm proud to be a KNOW code Ham!
I love Dxing. The big pile-ups really stir up my adrenalin. 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 QSL 100 % direct, sase appreciated but not required or via bureau. No e-Qsl. No LOTW.
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 do know how to conduct myself over the airwaves so as not to lessen the pleasure of others. I know how to have fun with my privileges. 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.
Thank you for taking the time to read my bio.
Blue skies and 73
Last modified: 2014-04-16 00:02:38, 8417 bytes
You must be logged in to file a report on this page
Currently updating logbook display.