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ARRL Volunteer Examiner
Alamance County, NC ARES AEC

2014, 2015 President, Alamance Amateur Radio Club


I have been interested in radio since I was in elementary school. My father was an Electrical Engineer, so the interest came naturally. All of my school science projects involved radio and electronics.  I learned Morse Code listening to an old silver "Command" receiver that Dad acquired in a crate of junk radio parts.  We got it working and whittled a wooden dowel to replace the missing tuning knob.  I spent hours listening to the world through a set of uncomfortable surplus headphones. 

I joined the US Coast Guard in 1972. After taking the Naval Battery Tests, I qualified for Radio, Radar, and Sonar Schools. As it turned out, there weren't many shore billets for the Radar or Sonar ratings so I applied for Radioman school. After 6 months at RM-A school in Petaluma, CA, I graduated and was assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Gresham (NODB / 4YH) where I copied my first SOS. I was on the Gresham for 3 Ocean Station Hotel patrols before we sailed to the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, MD to prepare her for decommissioning.

After the Gresham was decommissioned, I was stationed at COMMSTA Portsmouth (NMN) in Pungo, VA. At NMN I operated mostly CW. I monitored the 500KHz International Distress frequency and worked merchant ships on the 12, 16, and 20 MHz watch stations. We used split headphones so I had a call freq in one ear, my working freq in the other, and yet another watch freq on speaker.


In 1974, I volunteered for isolated duty at LORSTA Cape Christian (NJZ), on Baffin Island about 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle. I was the only communicator on the station. Most Loran Stations didn't have a RM onboard, because they primarily used voice comms. Isolated stations in the Arctic had an RM because sometimes atmospheric conditions shut down voice and only CW could punch through. I caused a real stir at First District headquarters in Boston when I tested the emergency transceiver, hand-cranked generator, and antenna to make sure that they all worked. HQ thought that a disaster had occurred at the station because no one had tested the rig before. If I'm going to rely on equipment in a disaster situation, I want PROOF that it works! Besides that, there was a station SOP that said that the emergency comm gear was to be tested at least once a year.


When we decommissioned the station in July 1975, I returned to NMN for the remainder of my enlistment.

After I got out of the Guard, I went to community college and got an Associate's degree in electronics. I got my General Class amateur ticket (N4AKK) in 1978. After graduation, I went to work for Western Electric and spent the next six years mostly in the field and at sea. I didn't get much of an opportunity to operate, so I let my license lapse (again).

I got interested in comms again and got my Technician's license (KJ4AZM) in December 2007. I upgraded to General in August 2010, and to Extra in December 2010. I applied for my current C/S in December 2010.

I'm back in Gibsonville, NC after a bit over two years living in my RV in Lexington, SC. I was working for the State of SC as an Oracle Database Administrator. I loved the work, but was lucky enough to find a job in Burlington that is only minutes from home.

The RV lets me follow the work if necessary. Once I retire, I plan to travel the U.S. in the RV with my XYL and cats and work short-term contract jobs as an Oracle DBA.  Will work for gas money!

Hope to talk to you on the air!

73 de N4WFL

7696159 Last modified: 2016-11-14 17:29:58, 6318 bytes

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