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Please note: QSLs for OA4/WP2B, HP1/WP2B and HP5/WP2B operations are direct or via LOTW only.

We're currently remodeling our St. Croix house from top to bottom. The project also includes a new hamshack away from the house. This was not necessarily my first choice, but my XYL assures me it will be a very good thing. Progress has been slow, but our new 6KW solar power system is up and running with net metering, thus far netting out to $0 per month electric bills. You gotta love renewable energy when the price of electricity in St. Croix is more than 50 cents per kilowatt-hour!

On the Stateside front, we just changed our northern QTH from Rochester, MN to Chippewa Falls, WI. The good news is that the new home is on Lake Wissota (the lake mentioned in TITANIC) and the association takes care of all the yard maintenance. The Bad News is that there are antenna restrictions. Looks like St. Croix is going to be the primary site for my ham activity by default unless I can find a stealthy solution.

I first became a ham in 1968 with the original call WN9ZZV. Since then I've held several calls including WA9ZZV, DA1ML, OE7ZAI, VK4MF, K9BZ and have also had fun operating from HB9, HB0, HP1, HP5, I, KH6, KL7, KP2, KP4, OA4 and VE3-7. Ham radio interests include ragchewing, DXing, operating the digital modes and playing on my favorite band (6 Meters) when it's open.

A memorable radio experience for me was my first station. Radio gear was hard to come by as a young teenager, so my buddy (WN9ANP) and I pooled our resources. Dan had a homebrew HF receiver and I had a Heathkit DX-20 transmitter purchased for the gigantic sum of twenty dollars. Every other week I got to have the station at my QTH and alternate weeks we moved the equipment to ANP's house. When I finally raised enough money from my paper route to buy a receiver (Drake-1A), I was thrilled at being able to operate full-time from my own QTH.

It's also fun to recall my first QSO and QSL (WN2HIH), my first DX QSO (ZL3JC) and a QSO with JY1 (King Hussein), all over 40 years ago.

The Pursuit of Knowledge: Managed to obtain a BS in Engineering from the US Military Academy, West Point, New York and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota even though I found it as necessary to get on the air as to eat, sleep and study.

Ham Radio at a Military Academy: I was the West Point cadet who, in true clandestine fashion, erected a steel tower, complete with tribander and rotor, on the Cadet Activites Building so I could get on the air with a decent signal. Unbeknownst to yours truly, it turned out that this marvelous feat of amateur engineering could be clearly seen from the reviewing stand of West Point's hallowed parade ground. The "unathorized improvement" to the picturesque academy buildings, statues and monuments was eventually noticed by a certain 3-star general who ordered it unceremoniously dismantled because it didn't fit in with the circa 1800's landscape (more proof that it takes a ham to fully appreciate the beauty of an antenna). Fortunately for me I got several months of good operating time out of the antenna system before it was "decommissioned" and more importantly - the mystery man responsible for the unathorized tower(me) was never identified.

I also operated regularly from my small room in the cadet barracks with a Swan 350 transceiver and Webster Bandspanner mobile antenna temporarily hung from the window frame (after dark of course). I was an undisputed qualifier for the WAS (Worked All Stereos) award with that particular set up.

Lots of water over the dam since those days and several career changes from soldier to running a business. I did move to the Caribbean for the first time back in 2007 to retire, but work eventually found me again and an opportunity associated with the challenging new field of telemedicine lured me from my St. Croix consulting job to a Minnesota start-up company as their Chief Operating Officer http://www.avumedia.com. I'm also owner of a Rochester, MN clothing store my wife and I partnered with our youngest daughter to open http://www.nuonuboutique.com. I'm the defacto accountant and IT guy since I know nothing about fashion (or so I've been told). The commercial lease for the store says no antennas on the roof there, but when does something trivial like that stop a true ham?

Some of my other hobbies/interests are physical fitness, running, martial arts (Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Qigong), skiing, an occasional round of golf and of course scuba diving. I have a wonderful wife Donna, six great kids (4 girls, 2 boys) all grown and six grandchildren (3 girls, 3 boys). We currently have three hams in the family and for fun operating activities we formed a club with the callsign KZ0J. The "KZ" prefix is in honor of my Dad, who one day back in the early 60's brought home two AristoTone walkie talkies as an incredible surprise for a 10-year old boy with a somewhat unguided enthusiasm for the radio art. (I always suspected his intent was to make a trade for the metal hose extender I'd borrowed from the family vacuum cleaner to use as the "DX" antenna for an old shortwave receiver.)

73,

Brad - WP2B

 

   

   C19XR on 55' US Tower with Buck Island in view         One of St. Croix's North Shore wrecks at about 100ft depth

 

    WP2B/MM anchored at Buck Island National Park

 

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