Way back during my long lost youth ( Late 1960's or early 70's ), I was poking around in an local trash dump. As fate would have it, I found a toy walki-talki. Replacing the battery, I turned it on. It worked! An Appliance Operator was conceived! 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 was allowed 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.
I discovered Radio Shack! At the time they sold an am broadcast receiver/cb " transceiver " with a built-in code practice oscillator. Actually it was an overgrown walki-talki. In response to my Dad's question of, " Why in the world would you want such a thing ? " I offered an somewhat amusing discertation which resulted in him shelling out the $29.95 needed for me to begin my awkward journey into the world of Ham Radio. I never talked to anyone on the "thing ", but I did learn how to " send " code. 40 plus years later I have yet to save the world.
A few seasons later, a summer job hauling 5 gallon buckets of cement and grout for my brother, who was a ceramic tile setter, produced a Radio Shack hand key, code practice oscillator, morse code cassette tape and the necessary study material for the Novice license. Eleven days later I added a DX-160 shortwave receiver to my collection of educational devices. My first stop on the dial was 40 meter Cw. I had my first experience with total compounded bewilderment ! I was completely lost. A month passed before I learned to copy Cw off the air. July 19, 1974 at 0110 utc 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. Nine months later I qualified for an W1AW code proficiency certificate with an first endorsement of 20 w.p.m. 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.
August of 1974, I finally got the nerve to knock on the door of Earl, WA5UAJ (sk). A cantankerous sort, but he did invite me into his shack. He made a contact on phone and allowed me to speak to Ron in Illinois. Earl had me introduce myself to Mr. Dell, W5FHF (sk), who showed great patience with me by administering my Novice exam(s). Three sittings at Mr. Dell's kitchen table to take my written tests qualified me for " fuller " membership in The Dummies Net. Our motto, " DUH ". It never occured to me that to obtain a Ham License, learning the associated theory, ( at the least memorizing the answers to the questions ) was an inconvenience or that it was a cruel method of " weeding out " the " undesirables " by an uncaring Federal Bureaucracy.
Licensed 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. When was the last time you had someone to pump your gas for you ? 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 !
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.
After a successful trip to the bank, I attended the Little Rock, Ark. Hamfest ( Aug. 1979 ) with my Elmer, 2 other oldtimers and a pocket full of borrowed money, 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.
Of course it was after sunset when I finally made it home. I had to read the manual, figure out how to " dip the plate " and all the other knob turning required to put a tube type rig on the air. The swr was high on the inverted vee for the phone portion of 40 meters. Which way to go with the wire? Trim or add ? Monday I had to go to work! Long day. Aug. 6, 1979 I made my first unsupervised phone Qso on 40 meters!
Sept. 20, 1983 I passed the Advanced Class exam ( 2-nd attempt ) before an FCC examiner in Dallas, Tx. I "nailed" the 20 w.p.m. code test but miserably flunked the Extra written exam. Jan. 12, 1985 I finally aced the Extra written test at a V.E. session in Shreveport, La.
Dxing is my primary interest. 333 Cw/Phone entities have been recorded in my PAPER logs and I have good old fashion PAPER Qsl cards, HANGING ON THE WALL, verifying 331 entities confirmned! My DXCC award ( #26,396 ) is dated April 7, 1986 with 103 entities credited. I have never applied for an endorsement. As far as confirming DX is concerned, it's far more fun for me to open my mailbox and rip apart an envelope than it is to click a button and stare at a computer screen. As the adage states, " To each his own ". The " truth of the matter " , I'm addicted to the anticipatory anxiety associated with discovering an routinely empty mailbox on a 6 day a week basis. My " condition " goes into remission on Sundays and holidays.
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 mounted this prize beside my DXCC certificate. Patience is a what ? My previsously mentioned " condition " really " spazzed-out " on this one.
July 25, 2014 I received the 300 Club Award ( for working and confirming 300 countries ) issued by K9PXV-Great Lakes DX/Contest Club.
My pile-up philosophy - When the World says, " Give up ! ", Hope whispers," Try it one more time. "
Logging program: Spiral bound PAPER. Having recorded over 25,100 hf contacts.
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE ......
The highlight of my Ham Radio operating occured during my third tandem skydive. ( March 6, 2010 ). 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 " vertical dxpedition ", 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 this jump on my QSL card. The return rate is most gratifying. For several years I made my own QSL cards using Wal-Marts " picture making machine ". I finally went to a commercial printer. The quality is " more better " Hi ! Check out these websites, Images for cool qsl cards.com and parachutemobile.org ( archives March 2011 ).
EVERY JUMP IS OPTIONAL. EVERY LANDING IS MANDATORY. IN OTHER WORDS, THERE WILL BE A LANDING.
I'm in a 1 step program - " 1 step out the door "
August 11, 2013 I had the pleasure of operating 2-meter aeronautical mobile from a glider ( 3900 ft. ). A very quiet experience.
Equipment : Icom IC-718, driving an Ameritron Al-811h amplifier. Audio powered by an Heil Proset headset/foot switch. Back up rig is an Kenwood TS-440s. Also in my possession are 2 second-hand Heathkit HW-16 / HG-10b vfo's. Both suffer from deep states of malfunction and I don't care. They may appear only as " desk pieces " but - THEY ARE ON THE DESK! My original HW-16 was stolen by a "ham" who claimed he could " fix " it. He undoubtely " fixed " it. He " fixed " it, so it would never again sit on my desk. My HW-16 / HG-10b vfo was never returned, replaced nor purchased.
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 18-inch pipe wrench. Other antennas include an 160 meter inverted " vee ", fed with 450 ohm openline, on a tree limb at 74 ft. and a 40 meter Delta Loop fed with 450-ohm open-line, feed point up at 20 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. I then 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 20 hand keys, 3 vibroplex " bugs ", the oldest " born " 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. With the exception of 1 bug, 1 hand key and the keyboard all keying devices are connected into the IC-718. Also in my collection of "dit-dah " artifacts are 5 antique code practice oscillators. Realistic, ( 2 ) Heathkits, AMECO and Speed-X. 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, why not allow 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, nor Qrz logbook. If not for the existance of DX Summit and QRZ.com I would not own a computer. I also collect stamps. Have you ever tried to paste an computer entry in an album or tape one on the wall ?
I admit I am not an electronic genius, or for that matter a computer wizard, 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 utilize the " magic " of radio and " spin the dial ". I can also press the band switch, turn it off, lower the a.f. gain, or disconnect the antenna. All of which will cure my problem with Lids. I refuse to give them an audiance. I spent too much of my time studying for my license and spent too much of my hard earned money on my equipment for anything less. I know how NOT to be an unknown, unseen asinine jerk who hides behind a microphone. One 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 so called " D-Qrmer's " do what they do just to get " us " to add to the qrm by having " us " make our unimportant comments. ( And like them, without identifying with a callsign ) Let's not satisify the LID'S. Fot the LID'S silence is punishment. We only stroke their ego by responding to their 'stupidity". (Stupidity can be compared to drug addiction, everyone see's it, except the one so afflicted). That is what they strive for. Why should we make ourselves a part of the " LID Brigade " ? These so called " D-Qrmer's " remind me of the individuals who spray paint graffati onto railroad boxcars - While they are having their fun, they carry with them, the hope of not getting caught. They do their thing in total anonymity. Their one reward is to hear our reactions. Only when caught do they show remorse. These so called " D-Qrmer's " are like sand traps on a golf course, if not for them the game might be dull.
Three pile-up stratagies that work for me. # 1 If I don't need it for a " new one ", I don't waste much of my time in the " Zoo ". I find that entities Qsl card on the wall, chuckle to myself and SPIN THE DIAL. # 2 After ( if ) I work the DX, I switch off the rig, log the contact, retreat to the front porch, stare at the sky and take deep breaths. #3 Should I feel the urge to voice my opinion or give instructions on how to operate a split button, I do so into a dummy load. I experience the identical results as if I had spoken into a microphone with an antenna connected. Try it yourself. You will feel like a genuis just as I do and the DX frequency will be minus two less LIDS.
I realize my biography is rather lengthy. I appreciate you for taking the time to read through it. The honest truth is .... I have way too much time on my hands.
I will never apply for a vanity callsign, for I am WB5OSD and WB5OSD is me.
Blue skies and 73
Bob, WB5OSD ( Or is it WB5OSD, Bob ? ) I go by Bob. Bobby is reserved for licenses, diplomas, summons, indictments, and other official papers.
DX CODE of CONDUCT
I will listen, and listen, and then listen again before calling.
I will only call if I can copy the DX station properly.
I will not trust the DX cluster and be sure of the DX station's callsign before calling.
I will not interfere with the DX station nor anyone calling and will never tune up on the DX frequency or in the QSX slot.
I will wait for the DX station to end a contact before I call.
I will always send my full callsign.
I will call and then listen for a reasonable interval. I will not call continuously.
I will not transmit when the DX operator calls another callsign not mine.
I will not transmit when the DX operator queries a callsign not like mine.
I will not transmit when the DX station requests geographic areas other than mine.
When the DX operator calls me, I will not repeat my callsign unless I think he has copied it incorrectly.
I will be thankful if and when I do make a contact.
It is not the class of License the Amateur holds but the class of the Amateur that holds the License
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