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My story, how I got here from there…

My first ham license was way back in 1957, or about – it was so long ago that I can’t remember for sure. My Novice call sign was KN6VWO. There was a hiatus before upgrading to tech. Back then the exams were held only three or four times a year and as luck would have it, not very close to home. As a young teen, without a driver’s license, I had to rely on an adult, during the work week, to take time off and drive me to, wait for me to do and then drive me home. It took a year or so before that became a reality. I passed the written part of the exam okay but the code speed wasn’t sufficient for the General Class License but I was a Tech and a legal ham again.

That license was set to expire about the time US Army invited me to join them on extended picnics and hiking field trips, even spending a year in the tropics to study the local flora, fauna and indigenous peoples. In that day and age privates were only good for doing the menial odds and ends jobs, KP, mow the grass and what have you. In those rare moments that young soldiers had a free moment, those grizzled old sergeants found something for you to do such as police call. Idle hands were the bane of those old NCO’s and they surely didn’t think personal hobbies such as ham radio had a place. If there was a club station on post I wasn’t aware of it; if there were, to go there I would have to “ghost “or go to “S-5.” But that is another entirely different story to tell. Later, serving with Dr. C. Stewart Buchanan, I was his jeep driver and RTO (radio telephone operator) when I was in camp, not in the field. Sometimes the Doc was on foot at a forward aid station. That was when I got to hump the PRC-25, a 25-pound radio and extra 10-pound batteries. That was about the only radio experience I got while serving in the military.

Returning home from overseas, I found that the home situation had changed dramatically. Parents had divorced, remarried others, the family home sold and all of those precious ties to the previous life mostly gone, lost in the transition. That included my ham radio gear. Someone made off like a bandit at that yard sale. In the change to become a totally self-sufficient the ham gear was not replaced and being a ham radio operator just “sort of” became part of the past, something I used to do.

Over the years I would think about getting back into ham radio. I would even, sometimes, start code practice but never carried through. There were just too many other things, work, children and earning my private pilot airman’s certificate. After I retired and had a lot more free time, I again toyed with the idea of getting my amateur license back. It was mostly an idea because I kept coming back to my bane, the code requirement. Nor too long ago, my nephew who was toying with the doomsday-prepper mania, called and asked me about ham radio. He had looked at the CB radios and had listened to them on the air. He didn’t think that was a useful means of reliable radio communications. I rattled off all I thought I knew about ham radio; that is information that was current in the 1960’s. Whenever I do that, rattle off from memory, I get the feeling that need to go back and check my information just to be sure. I checked and I found out that al of the information I had given my nephew was correct, correct in the 1960’s. I also found out that there had been a lot (and I mean a lot) of changes since then. The two most striking changes that made me sit up and take notice was that the code requirement had been abolished and now there were VE’s, friendly Elmer sorts, available almost any week you chose and not the scowling Federal examiners who might come by your city maybe three times a year.

It was study time to try and come up to date. It was amazing all the changes; software define radio, side band instead of AM in most cases, transceivers instead of separates and the transmit and stand-by switches, satellites for hams, earth-moon-earth bounce, the ubiquitous HT’s and repeaters just to name a few. I could have gone back and passed an old general level exam but the new question pools were very daunting. I had to unlearn some things before I could make any headway. It was a busy several week home-study cram course, off to see the VE’s.  And the rest, as they say, is history. “Why shucks, yesterday I couldn’t spell amateur and today I are one.”  Glad to be back.

I joined a local radio club, The Saint Petersburg Amateur Radio Club. It is one of several area radio clubs and organizations filled with some wonderful people. They are all about radio, the fun hobby and the obligation to fulfill the obligation to public safety. There are untold hours of volunteer time dedicated to the betterment of the hobby and public service. When a common sign-off tag line is, “Rah, rah Field Day,” you know you are in the right place.

I use this QSL card for QSO's from Florida

For QSO's from Florida













As a net control operator, I try and add some interest. On this occasion, I went to a local island and conducted the net as a 2-meter mini-DXpedition.

2 meter mini-DXpedition to Mullet Key and FOrt DeSoto, FLorida



6167597 Last modified: 2015-07-16 00:20:50, 5736 bytes

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