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My Ham Radio Story

I was first introduced to Ham Radio when I was 13. I had learned to recognize the code from boy scouts and ordered an exam from the FCC for a novice license. I made contact with 2 local hams to take the test, but it was obvious to them that I was not able to copy code at the required 5 wpm. One of them, Norman Hontz K2DBN, offered to teach me the code and about Ham Radio. He was an engineer with Carrier Corp in Syracuse, NY where I lived. He built a code practice oscillator that we could use and I spent many nights with him learning. My father, who knew nothing about electronics, would often answer the door and it would be Norm, asking for his teenage son. We had a great relationship, and although Norm is now probably a silent key, as I lost contact with him over the years,  I will always be grateful for his help, and I have told our story many times. He was a real hero for fueling my interest and setting me on my eventual career path.

Soon, I was able to pass the Novice test and was licensed as KN2PAA in 1955. Then K2PAA, in 1956 which I held for many years but college, relationships, and work took their toll on my time and I let the license lapse. I married my wonderful wife Carolyn in 1968 and settled down some, and after a few years, I took the Advanced test and became WA4PXS, and then KK4CT which I let expire in 1996. During that time I was very active with 20M nets and contesting, but a tornado took down my tower and Mosley TA-36 which lead to the demise of my activity.

Forward to present; I recently stopped at a local restaurant for breakfast and met about 60 members of a local radio club who meet each Friday for coffee. I introduced myself and began talking about my radio experiences. One of the members suggested that if I could show my license history and retake element 2 of the exam I could re-qualify for a General license since the FCC had eliminated the Advanced class. A week later I took the exam and was issued KM4YXH. I then re-applied for my first call K2PAA, which was issued. I recently upgraded to Extra since I missed the lost frequency spectrum from when I was Advanced. The bug has bitten again, but wow what a change in the hobby. Of course gone are the days when everybody home brewed their equipment, ran AM, watched the mercury vapor rectifiers glow blue, and spend nights breathing solder resin smoke. But the internet and digital control have expanded a whole new vista for exploration.  

I am an engineer and computer programmer, so of course, all of the new digital communication is great fun for me. I have always run Yeasu equipment and now have the FTdx 3000 as my main rig with a Heathkit SB220 amplifier.  I live in a community where very large antennas are prohibited, so I am running a CushCraft R7 vertical, and a Force 12 3css at 33ft. working all modes and the combo works great. Its good to be back after so many years off the air and I am like the young kid when I got my first license,  especially when that rare signal comes through.



My QTH is 5 miles from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Its 4th of July every day!

Mobile rig

The grandkids like ham radio too, as well as swimming and having fun!














It all started 49 years ago.



















The way we were with my wife Carolyn.

8420287 Last modified: 2017-10-30 17:23:19, 5487 bytes

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