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In the early 1960s my Dad purchased an antique, roughly 1940s era, Philco console radio. It had a shortwave band and a pretty good built-in loop antenna. I discovered HCJB in Quito Ecuador and was hooked on the magic of radio.

Morse code, however, with the records of the time, completely eluded me. The theory was fine but I just could not get the code. I did continue with shortwave listening and really enjoyed collecting QSL cards from around the world.

After my U.S. Air Force stint, I ended up in Merriman Nebraska where a kind ham helped me with the code and gave me the exam for the Conditional Class License, since we were well over 125 miles from an FCC examination location. My first call sign was WBØJXY in 1973. My activities were a few CW contacts, building some gear, and experimenting with 2 meter quad antennas.

On moving to Michigan and working for Heathkit, I traveled to the Chicago FCC office and took the exam for Advanced Class. With that, my new call sign was KB8CE in 1978. At that time my activities were RTTY with teletype machines.

After a long hiatus, I passed the Extra Class exam in 2006 and managed to snag the call sign K5ND. My early activity was running QRP CW and then entering a few contests mostly to chase DX. That transitioned to an entirely new approach to RTTY and contesting. Right now I’m focused on VHF-UHF contesting as a rover as well as satellite operations.


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