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My intrest in radios and Ham radio started as a child growing up.  My earliest radio memories were during family road trips which always involved citizen band radios.  My father Ronald L. Karcher, Shortcut, and my grandfather Louis F. Karcher, Shrimp Mate, and my were always on their CB radios while traveling.  I also became involved in Citizen Band radios as a child and teenager.

My grandfather worked as the chief radio engineer at a local radio station WJBW in New Orleans between 1936-1946.  He was also the announcer when the station went on and off the air.  While at WJBW he worked with Ted "The Old Redhead" Andrews.  He worked for a short time as a radio operator on a banana boat that traveled between Mobile Alabama and Cuba. During WWII he also worked as a radio operator and CW operator for the Port of Embarkation in New Orleans.  During WWII he also worked as a civillian radio operator and CW operator for the Navy and Army.  My father has since given me my grandfathers Bunnell Martin Flash Key which he used during WWII.  My enjoyment of CB radio, hearing about my grandfathers radio experiences and seeing pictures of my grandfather at the radio station all furthered my interest in ham radio, but I never made the effort to get licensed. 

In 2015 my son and I saw a ham radio demonstration at a Cub Scout event at the USS Kidd in Baton Rouge Louisiana.   My son loved the radios and the CW keys.  That day my son asked me to get a ham radio.  That made up my mind and I started studying, in 2015 I passed the Technician and General exams. One day my son will get his license as well.  I have been studying for Amateur Extra.  When I finally pass the Extra exam I hope to learn CW and put my grandfathers Flash Key back on the air.

I took my Technician and General exams through the Jefferson Amateur Radio Club, W5GAD, http://w5gad.org/.  After testing I became a member of the Jefferson Amateur Radio Club.  My wife, son and daughter attended Field Day 2016 with me at the Jefferson Amateur Radio Club.  At the time my son was eight years old and my daughter was thirteen years old.  During Field Day 2106 Everyone in my family made their first HF QSO's with the help of Michael C. Coulter, K5DKQ, Jerry Burg, N5GKJ, and Nicholas D. Frederick, W4NDF.

After her great experience at Field Day 2016 my wife Liz Karcher decided she wanted to become licensed.  In July of 2016 she passed the Technician exam and got her call sign KG5ONB.  She has also become a member of the Jefferson Amateur Radio Club and is active on 2 Meters and 70cm. 

We now have our first base station which covers the 2 Meters and 70cm bands as well as D-STAR.  It is made up of an ICOM ID-5100 and a Diamond X300 antenna mounted at 27 feet.  We look forward to adding our own HF rig.  I now have a temporary HF station up and working.  My Hf rig is a Kenwood TS-440S with a homemade End Fed multiband antenna with 71 feet of wire.  The End Fed antenna is now mounted at 27 feet.  I have to give Jerry Burg, N5GKJ, and Mike C. Coulter, K5DKQ, credit for loaning me equipment and knowledge to get both radios up and running.

I enjoyed being a "Chaser" during the ARRL National Parks on the Air event.  On November 6th, 2016 Jerry Burg, N5GKJ, Mike C. Coulter, K5DKQ, and I activated HP17 for the ARRL National Parks on the Air event.  It was a sucessful activation and I earned my "Activator" status.  HP17 is the Jean Lafitte Natioanl Historic Park and Preserve.  We activiated from the Chalmette Battle Field which is land administered by the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve.  The Chalmette Battle Field was the site of the Battle of New Orleans which was fought between January 8th and January 18th in 1815.  It was the Final major battle of the War of 1812.  On December 26th a group of opperators including myself from the Jefferson Amateur Radio Club again sucessfully activated HP17 from the Chalmette Battle Field.  

On December 30th a group of opperators including myself from the Jefferson Amateur Radio Club activated HP31 the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park.  This also was a sucessful activation and we all had a great time.   

I started the D-STAR Net of Southeast Louisiana which is sponsored by the Jefferson Amateur Radio Club.  This net meets on the third Thursday of each month at 9:00pm.  We meet on the W5GAD B Module 444.925 +5.00MHz D-Star Repeater.  You do not have to be a member of any organization to participate and all are welcome.

I enjoy participating in local nets, making D-STAR contats, making HF/DX contacts, attending Jefferson Amateur Radio Club events and exchanging QSL Cards.


Scroll down for pictures.

Below is a picture my grandfather on the air at WJBW.

Below is a picture of the Bunnell Martin Flash Key my grandfather used during WWII.

Below is a picture of my grandfathers Port of Embarkation ID card.

Below is a picture of my wife Liz Karcher, KG5ONB, making her first HF QSO with the help of Mike Coulter, K5DKQ during Field Day 2016 at the Jefferson Amateur Radio Club house.

Below is a picture of my wife Liz Karcher, KG5ONB, making the homemade Slim Jim multiband antenna we used for our temporary VHF/UHF station.

Below are three pictures of my HF and VHF/UHF base station antennas both mounted at 27 feet.  The HF antenna is a homemade end fed multiband with 72 feet of wire, the VHU/UHF antenna is a Diamond X300.



Below is a picture of me from our NPOTA activation of HP17.

Below is a picture of myself, Jerry, N5GKJ, Mike, K5DKQ, from our NPOTA activation of HP17 from the view of a cannon.

Below is a picture of me from our NPOTA activation of HP31.

Below is a picture of the Jefferson Amateur Radio Club, W5GAD.







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