I became a ham radio operator in 1975 (age of 12) when I got my novice class ticket. The FCC issued call sign WN0RUR. At the time, Novice licensees were allowed a small spectrum of band space – usually about 50 kcs – on each of the HF bands. (There were no WARC bands then. They were created in 1979.) Maximum input power ON CW MODE ONLY was 75 watts! And the transmitter was crystal controlled. My first rig was a set of entry-level Hallicrafters radios that my stepfather, Bill K0DEW provided.
The HT-40 transmitter and SX-140 receiver fit nicely on top of an old school desk in my bedroom and there was still room for the straight key. The relay made a satisfying “CLUNK” when you threw the transmitter into “TRANSMIT” mode, too! I passed my General license exam in 1976. In those days, you had to travel to the nearest “federal” building to take the written and code elements. For those of us in my hometown, that meant Kansas City. I passed the General AND Extra class code…and passed the General written test. (I had not studied for the Extra exam.) In 2006, I decided to take the Extra class exam at a local hamfest and had a week to study. I passed and have certainly enjoyed the extra frequencies available.
I’ve always worked a great deal of CW. In recent months, I’ve begun working digital modes – particularly PSK31 – and some limited SSTV. There may be some satellite experimentation somewhere in the future, but there’s no time for that yet.
Current radios include a pristine Kenwood TS-830S that I use for digital modes and my Kenwood TS-570s for CW/SSB. Recently purchased a Heil PR-781 microphone and boom that I’m pleased with. I’m working some JT-65 digital mode. I got into APRS in June 2015 with a dual band Kenwood in the car…and resurrected some older gear to get my home weather station on APRS a few months later.
I finished a two-year tower and beam project in April 2012 and am enjoying being able to “hear” better . The extra transmit dB gain is great, too! I’ve posted some photos here on the website. I’m no expert in tower building, but I know what worked for me (and what didn’t).
Contesting and chasing DX are two of my favorite ham radio activities. I’ve confirmed over 295 DXCC entities and am actively “hunting and pouncing” on new ones. Operating awards include Worked All States, Worked All Continents, Triple Play and DXCC. I upload all QSOs to LotW. I hope to meet you on the ham bands! 73 !