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I got my start in ham radio at the age of 14 in the spring of 1969 when my best friend and I built a pair of 432MHz FM transceivers from a book called the Handbook for Radio Communications.  The project we built said that the authors got upwards of 30 miles from mountain top to mountain top and we were just trying to talk about 400 yards between our houses so we thought this would be a snap, right?  Well, we did get them to work but the best distance we could get was about 50 yards and my Dad could see how disappointed both of us were.  Since my Dad had owned a General Electric Franchise for about 20 years, he knew a lot of people in all the surrounding counties and he said he knew someone who could help us.  That "someone" turned out to be Butch, WA8SHP, who ultimately became our Elmer.  When we first walked into Butch's radio room, I remember being in total amazement and when Butch heard our story, he told us: "you know boys, you're supposed to have a license to use these radios".  Of course we didn't know and Butch subsequently got on his 2 meter radio and talked with another operator on the other side of the county to ask some technical questions about the project we built.  After watching and listening to Butch talk with several hams all around the county, I was "SOLD".  I knew this was something I needed and wanted to learn and the 432MHz project ultmately went to the back burner in favor of studying for our licenses.  Dad got his ticket with me and we were lucky enough to get "back to back" calls: WN8LOL and WN8LOM. I subsequently built a couple of Heathkits in my high school years: An HW-16 and later an SB-102.  Project building was a wonderful hobby during the cold Ohio winters.  I still have my HW-16 and I am saving it to restore some day when I retire.

< Our first QSL Card >

My Dad held a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering and later was awarded an honorary Doctorate from Rutgers University.  His knowledge about electronics was an inspiration for me to study Electrical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati with a specialization in Semiconductor Fabrication and Microwave Design.  While I was a Senior in college, I took the Engineer In Training test and later completed the requirements to become a Registered Professional Engineer here in Texas which I still hold today.  My education brought me to work at Texas Instruments in the summer of 1978.

In August of 2013, after living for 21 years at our QTH in Plano, my wife and I sold our home and purchased two acres in Celina, TX where we have designed our retirement home.  When we do build, I plan to have a modest tower and (finally!) a decent yagi so that I can truly enjoy the HF part of this hobby again.

Today, I have memberships with the Denton County Amateur Radio Association (www.dcara.net), the Metrocrest Amateur Radio Society (www.kb5a.org) and the DFW Contest Group (www.dfwcontest.com).  I can be found most often on the Metrocrest Amateur Radio Society (MARS) repeater located in Carrollton, TX 145.21- and occassionally on one of the local DMR repeaters.  From my home in Frisco, I operate with a Flex-Radio 6500 and have managed to sneak up an LMR Precision 10-40 end fed antenna.

Married for 33 years, 3 grandchildren and still loving ham radio.

Best 73's.

Tom - K5LOL

Registered Professional Engineer, State of Texas; Life Member ARRL; QCWA, Dallas Chapter 41; Ten-Ten # 7156; Eagle Boy Scout

 

8392330 Last modified: 2017-10-16 14:46:35, 3718 bytes

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