Ham History: I have been a ham “on” and “off” for many years. I was a Ham/SWL as a young teenager but never got on the air except for a few qso’s at an Elmer’s house. I heard my first ham radio signals on a Zenith “Carosel” portable radio that my dad had. It was strictly a tradition AM radio, but if you tuned to the top end of the dial you could hear hams chatting on 160 meters AM. I distinctly remember the first ham radio conversation I heard was between two hams discussing the sinking of the USS Threser submarine that had been announced that day (1963). That gave me the bug to be a ham. My first rigs were a Knight Kit “Span Master” and later a borrowed Hallicrafters S-38. At that point I got my Popular Electronics WPE SWL call sign (don’t remember??) and even passed a novice exam, but never got on the air (also don’t remember call). I explain my loss of memory and interest in radio to the discovery of girls. My interest in radio went dormant until 1972. Got involved again with the call WN8QDE and spent my time on the novice bands. Had lots of fun, but yet again my interest fell off until around 1980. At that point I took another test for a technician class license. I passed and was issued the call KA8IUP. But yet again dragged my feet and did not become active until 1985. At that point I jumped back in “whole hog” and have been very active ever since. I upgraded to “extra class” in 1986 and was assigned the call NU8Z.
I work all modes, but mostly CW and digital modes. I’m an avid DX’er and a “casual” contester. I’m on the #1 DX Honor Roll having worked and confirmed all DXCC countries. I have the DXCC on 9 bands and I’m inching up on 2500 band/countries confirmed (2470). I also enjoy rag chewing on any mode and like chasing awards. I recently received my 6 Band WAS Award and obtained obtained 99% of needed QSL’s using the ARRL’s LOTW.
Radio Clubs: I’m a long time member of the Adrian Amateur Radio Club (W8TQE). This club has been in existence since 1947. I’m also a member of the Mad River Radio Club (MRRC), The Southeast Michigan DX Association (SEMDXA), QRP Amateur Radio Club International (QRP ARCI #1867), and FISTS (#15716). Like most clubs we have an aging population and are in search of new blood. We have a good website (Webmaster K2IBM) and a nice club newsletter call the “Tickler” (Editor K8AQM)
Occupation: On the non radio side of things, I have worked in a number of areas. I worked for 30 years for the Tecumseh Products Company. I started in 1972 as a lab technician and retired as the engineering testing laboratory and product safety manager. I took a voluntary early retirement that afforded me an opportunity to start a new career as a consultant. I then worked for 5 years or so as a consultant in the automotive industry. I was a project manager for the Phoenix Group. I managed projects at a number of different Big Three automotive plants. I retired from the Phoenix Group to start my own one man consulting firm specializing in product safety and the development of international safety standards. I completely retired in December of 2015.
Military: I also had a second concurrent career in the military. I joined the US Army in 1968 and attended the Warrant Officer Candidate and rotary wing flight training school. I did my basic training in Ft. Polk, Louisiana in July and August of 1968 (HOT!). I did my primary flight training in Ft. Wolters TX. where I learned not to crash the Hiller OH-23D. That was followed by advanced training in Ft. Rucker, Alabama where I learn to fly the greatest helicopter of all time, the UH-1 “Huey”. I did three years active duty with a 69 – 70 tour in Viet Nam. Upon return from Viet Nam I was trained to be an instructor pilot at Ft. Hunter-Stewart in Savannah Ga. I left the Army and after a 4 year hiatus from duty I then spent an additional 20 years in the National Guard piloting UH-1H’s and OH-58’s. I met many great like minded friends in the military and later the guard. We still get together and swap stories and play golf a number of times each year. I still can’t believe I was paid to do this! I retired at the rank of CW4 with a Master Aviator rating in 1996.
Family: On the family side of things, I have been married to the same woman for over 40 years. She is wonderful! She is into home restoration and remodeling I’m blessed that she tolerates my ham radio hobby. Thank God, I would hate to lose her! I still have not convinced her that an antenna is a thing of beauty. We have two grown up sons and three grandchildren. My two boys were never interested in ham radio. In fact they developed there own vocabulary of ham lingo. My hat with my call on it was called the “nerd hat”. According to them I made a trip every year to the “Dayton Nerd-Fest”. Both my sons are cellphone geeks. You know, checking their phones every 10 minutes, I have told them that this is a sign of deeply embedded latent “ham radio tendencies” bubbling to the surface. Someday I’m sure they will want to be hams… hi.
Life is good!
Hope to hear you on the bands!