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In the spring of 2017 I re-located 85 miles to the east from Richmond, VA to near Reedville on Virginia's Northern Neck, a region between the Potomac River to the north, the Rappahannock River to the south, and the Chesapeake Bay to the east.  My new QTH is near water in all directions and about 3 miles from The Bay. I am still working on towers and permanent antennas but for now I'm making do with an all-band wire diople and a two-meter square loop hanging by rope about 30 feet up in a tree.  I'm active in the local ham club, the Rappahannock Amateur Radio Assn., W4NNK.

I got my NoWA4VXR, summer 1965vice class license in October 1964. The picture to the right was taken just after upgrading to General (WA4VXR) the following summer. In 1970 I upgraded to Advanced Class.  In the mid-'60's I was a member of the Huguenot High School Amateur Radio Club in suburban Richmond.  That club hatched a number of hams who are still active on the air today.  We get together on 40 meters on Sunday mornings and every year for Field Day.

Following several years of college I enlisted in the US Coast Guard. From 1971 to 1974 I was an Electronics Technician (Radar) aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Ingham. We primarily stood Ocean Station duty in the middle of the Atlantic which included taking frequent weather observations, providing navigational fixes to ships and aircraft, and making ocean-science measurements. We were always ready for search-and-rescue.  Luckily all of the SAR missions that we handled in those years were successful. While at sea I was active as WA4VXR/MM on Maritime and Hurricane nets and with a lot of help from some very generous hams back in the US, handled personal phone patches to connect our crew and their families.

Today, Ingham is a floating museum on the waterfront in Key West, Florida. Please visit http://www.uscgcingham.org for more information about the ship and Museum. And be sure to work Ingham's ham station, NR4DL, during the Museum Ships Weekend and Coast Guard Day on-air activities.  NRDL was Ingham's military callsign, thus the very appropriate ham call.

For two months during the summer of 1974 I was assigned to the Cutter Cherokee as an ET handling all of the electronics maintenance. Our mission was answering Search and ​Rescue calls in the Atlantic off the Virginia and North Carolina coasts.  I enjoyed that assignment however we were never underway long enough to justify a ham station aboard.  Apparently Cherokee is now a sunken artifical reef somewhere.

On to Ham Radio:

I earned my Extra Class license in 1978 having passed the exam, as I did with the pervious tests, at an FCC Field Office. Then in 1989, with a new block of callsigns opened up by the FCC, I decided the old call was too long and cumbersome for contesting so I switched to the present one. Its not a vanity call, doesn't represent anything special, its just what popped out of the FCC computer at the time.

Over the years, my on-air activity has varied, some years more active than others. I am frequently on 160 - 2 meters, phone, cw, and digital including RTTY, JT65, JT9 (and now FT8), MSK144 plus 2m and 70cm FM and D-Star. I enjoy RTTY contesting, VHF openings, various QSO Parties, and can be found chasing DX. My shack today consists of a TenTec Orion, and an Icom IC-7100 plus another 7100 in my truck.  Several times a year I team up for multi-op contests with neighbor and long-time ham buddy N4HB at his station also near the Chesapeake Bay - that salt-water ground works wonders on 160!  

Operating Awards include DXCC on 8 bands, DXCC Challenge, WAZ, VUCC (6 mtrs, close on 2) and WAS Triple Play.  During the 2014 ARRL Centennial I was one if the Virginia W1AW/4 operators, running mostly RTTY then in August of 2017 I was the op for both RTTY and the then 2-week old FT8 mode for the special event station K1CG celebrating the 227th birthday of the US Coast Guard.   My club memberships include our local Rappahannock Amateur Radio Association (W4NNK), the Richmond (VA) Amateur Radio Club (W4ZA/W4FJ), the Coast Guard Amateur Radio Club (W5CGC/K1CG), and the ARRL (Life Member).

My working career was a direct extension of the Ham Radio hobby. Beginning part-time in the mid-'60's, I worked in the engineering and operations side of television broadcasting. I spent much of that time responsible for the installation and maintenance of analog, and more recently digital, high-power VHF and UHF transmitters as well as microwave relay and satellite uplink and downlink systems. I held a Radar-Endorsed First Class Radiotelephone License until the FCC downgraded them to General Class, which I hold today.  I retired from Richmond's NBC affiliate WWBT in October 2015 after 38 years with the station and 49 years in the industry

QSL info is good here on qrz.com. I upload to LoTW and Club Log frequently and answer all paper QSL's. SWL reports are always welcome.  Please note: Bureau cards often take several years to get here!

73 and hope CU on the air soon!

Wray

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