First licensed as WN4CTY in Arlington, VA as an 8th-grader in April 1966, I grew up on 40m cw using a Globe Chief transmitter and Hallicrafters S-38 receiver. I mostly operated during the early morning hours, after delivering newspapers and before heading off to school, because the QRM was tolerable at that time of day.
Ham radio was my entré into a great career as an electrical engineer. Several of the projects I had a hand in developing are now on exhibit in museums, a fact that I am simultaneously proud of and dismayed by.
After college, a ham acquaintance introduced me to public service communications. I joined the local RACES/ARES organization in Montgomery County, MD around 1978, and that quickly became the focus on my ham radio activities. That time marked the end of the civil defense era and the beginning of all-hazards emergency management. Over time, I progressed to appointment as an Emergency Coordinator and later, Section Emergency Coordinator in Maryland/DC. I was privileged to serve at the scene of a major airline crash and other momentous events in and around the DC/Baltimore area. When the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) was created and developed in the 1980s, I was involved from the early stages, first as a volunteer and later as a full-time staff member of the US Public Health Service Office of Emergency Preparedness, the parent organization of NDMS.
In my experience "on the ground" in any number of major disasters, I have found that my technical skills were as useful as my operating skills. My motto at NDMS was, "We don't buy radios, we build communications systems." I'd like to see more technically-minded hams get involved in emergency preparedness and disaster communications.
In 1996, my wife and I belatedly started a family, and I gave up the life of a Federal disaster responder and went back to a 9-to-5 job. So now I've gone full circle and my emergency preparedness activities are again conducted on a voluntary basis at the local level as a member of Montgomery County, Maryland Auxiliary Communications Service.
I am a long-time member of the Montgomery Amateur Radio Club and the National Institutes of Health Radio Amateur Club. I'm also actively engaged in building a regional broadband microwave network with the Mid-Atlantic IP Network.