KA8MNP - SKCC # 11954 - The full story
I was first licensed somewhere in the late sixties or early seventies, I can't remember which. I had a novice call sign WN8SMT. At that time novice calls were only good for two years and were non-renewable. Due to circumstances beyond my control I was unable to upgrade and keep my license.
Upgrading required a trip to Charleston, WV and a test session in front of an FCC examiner. A long way from my home in Logan County, WV in those days and such sessions were not frequent. I had a driver’s license but no car of my own so I depended on Mom and Dad's generosity and the use of their car. I just didn't think they'd let me make a trip that far away on my own. Looking back they probably would have. Anyway, I had a used Halicrafter transmitter and receiver that I worked the novice bands with. Crystal controlled and seventy-five watts maximum output. About this time the FCC began to allow novices to use a VFO and I bought a Heathkit QRP rig and put it together. Long story made short, I let my license expire and put my equipment on the shelf. How I wish now I'd have upgraded somehow and kept that old call sign. Of course the FCC would have changed it from a WN call to a W?.
Important note: See below.
Fast forward to about 1980. I had a conversation with my good friend and co-worker about ham-radio as opposed to CB and I mentioned that I had been a ham. Well, I had always wanted to get a new license and he was interested too. We started studying together and before long had managed to learn or in my case relearn the code and get our speed up to 5 WPM plus. A local ham gave us our novice test and before long we were licensed. He was KA8MN0 and I was issued KA8MNP. I had a Ten Tec Century 21 that was fairly low powered but I made dozens of contacts with it. I had a ball. KA8MNO and I continued to study and build our code speed up to 13 WPM. Another of our local friends KA8GMX studied with us and soon we all made the trip to Charleston, WV and came back with our General Class Licenses.
I traded my Century 21 for a Kenwood TS 530 S and started using SSB for the first time. Lots of fun but I still loved the CW. Around 1996 circumstances dictated that I sell my equipment. I was trying to build a house and needed the money and really didn't have a place to set my stuff up anyway.
During this time KA8MNO moved to North Carolina and also was away from ham radio for a while. We kept in touch via email talking about music and other things. In fact he is a real musician and attempted to give me guitar lessons via email and video. The lessons were very good and I do believe he could have recorded them and sold them commercially. Unfortunately, I wasn't a good student. I tried hard and still try to play but I just don't have the talent.
Somewhere around January 2013 he got some equipment and got back on the air. I was very happy for him and just a little envious. He kept sending me emails telling who all he had talked to and how much fun he was having. He tried hard to encourage me to get back on the air. Even finding deals on cheap used equipment. Finally around income tax time he sent me a list of good used equipment and I called him and asked to pick up a Kenwood TS 430S for me. He did and I sent him a check in the mail. A couple of weeks later I went down and picked it up. He pulled an antenna tuner off his desk and sent it home with me and saw that I had a dipole to put up when I got home.
I took my prizes home and after a few weeks struggling trying to get the dipole up I was on the air. Some QTHs are just not antenna friendly and mine is one of the worst. I still need to do some work on the antenna and maybe get a 40 meter dipole up but at least I'm on the air. I have since put up a tri band fan dipole for 80, 40, and 20 meters. I use a Tokyo High Power tuner and manage to work all the HF bands. The antenna is resonant on 80, 40, 20, and 15 without the tuner and the other bands tune rather easily with it, of course i know that just because the SWR is tuned flat that doesn't mean the antenna is resonant but it seems to work OK. I have tried without success to get the antenna higher in the tree but that's another story for antother time.
I enjoy SSB and CW. I try to operate as much CW as possible but through the years of inactivity my ear and fist have become very rusty.
I'll QSL (paper) to anyone who wants one and on eqsl sometimes but I have to admit I don't really understand how do the the electronic QSLs. Oh well maybe some day.
I forgot to mention something very important above. In 1976 I married Brenda the love of my life and to me the prettiest girl in Logan, WV. She has never understood this Ham Radio thing but has always encouraged me. I guess she thinks it keeps me out of trouble. In 1983 we had our first child, a daughter we named Jaime Nichole but I always called her Sis or sometimes “Skis” sounds like Sis with a K not the plural of ski. In 1990 we had our son, Randall D. Sizemore II, we called him Randy or "Paly Waly". They both showed some interest early in ham radio, I think Jaime used the rubber duckie antenna on my Kenwood two meter HT for teething but I didn’t really mind. Randy was part of the reason I sold my Kenwood TS 530s, I came into the temporary structure (barn) we were living in and saw him twirling the attached MC 50 microphone around his head like a lariat. No place for a radio in that little house so I thought it was time to sell. Also about that time the meter reader from the power company ran over my Gap Vertical I had lying beside the driveway, at least that’s what my wife said. I didn’t do a tire mark comparison or anything, some things you just have to take on faith.
Upgraded to Amateur Extra on 12-14-13
7998149 Last modified: 2017-03-29 10:54:34, 6418 bytes
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