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I received my Novice ticket 5 days before my 15th birthday in 1978 licensed as KA9AUF along with my brother KA9AUJ.  We both upgraded to general in March of 79.  Our first rig was a used SWAN 350 we bought from the local ham club.  I made many contacts mostly on CW as our modest antennas and station meant CW was our most efficient mode.  I learned quite a bit about electronics, antenna building, and having fun meeting people all over the world.

On June 19, 1978 I made my first official DX contact with F6EAN on 15 Meters and I have been hooked on chasing DX every since.  It was on the 12th hour of the 12th day of the 12th month that Marconi received the first transatlantic radio signal on Signal Hill in 1901.  And thanks to the work that Marconi, Hertz, and others have done look how far we have come in 113 years.  Wow!

Some of my most memorable QSOs in my early Ham career included working the Falkland Islands, VP8AI, in the novice band along with my brother Mark, W9WHL, as well as working some of the YASME dxpeditions with the Colvins at the operations.  Those were exciting moments!

I participated in the Novice roundup in 1979 finishing 5th in Indiana with 27,122 points , 382 QSOs and 71 multipliers.  It was a lot of fun!  I have not operated seriously in a contest since.  I like the contests today and working rare countries, new ones, or new states.  I hope to do more contesting in the near future.

I continued to have fun with radio and then came High School graduation in 1981.  I left for College to study Electrical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Intitute of Technology in Terre Haute, IN.  Engineering studies left little time for operating on the radio.  By the time I graduated from College in 1985 and began my working career the old Swan 350 was quite up to snuff anymore.  It wasn't until 1986 that I bought a Kenwood 520S and I got back into radio.  I built a nice little station at home and eventually bought a tower and Cushcraft A3 both which I am still using today.  After marriage in 1987 and then in 1993 the birth of our children ham radio operations slowed down again.  I was on some and off some until I finally went silent on the airs for quite a while.  Between work, traveling for work, and helping to raise 4 kids I had little time for radio.  It wasn't until December of 2013 when I was talking to a friend who told me he had his ham license that I caught the bug again and built a 40M dipole and strung between 2 trees and got back on the air in December of 2013.  I have made over 2000 contact and worked over 200 DXCC entities in less than a year.  I sit back and wonder if it has become too easy.

I look forward to working you on the bands!!!!


Mat WD9Q


Some of my favorite QSL cards from the early days:

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