My love for Amateur Radio started many years ago, but it was a while before I actually got my license. My first exposure to radio was CB, but that grew old fast. I had started building my own antennas and I suppose that fueled my passion to learn more. I got my Novice ticket in 1981 and never looked back. The interest in the hobby caused me to change my field of employment from HVAC to electronics and after a couple years of schooling, I went to work for Quintron (later called Glenayre), testing and repairing paging infrastructure hardware. I have spent the past 25 years in mostly that industry and have managed to put a lot of my work experience into the hobby as well as using what I learned in the hobby to augment my work experience.
One of the side benefits of working for an electronics firm was access to some really nice test equipment and also to a large inventory of parts. I managed to get my hands on some of the engineering prototype equipment that I was able to make use of in the ham bands. If you ever see a Quintron/Glenayre QT-6501, QT7505 or QT-8505, don't let it get away, they make great ham transmitters or amplifiers. Our local club used several QT-6501's for 2 meter repeater stations and packet radio transmitters. We even used a QT-7505 in repeater service for close to 20 years! I also converted a QT-8505 500 watt paging transmitter into a 600+ watt 2 meter linear amplifier. Another side benefit was locating low loss feed line for my VHF adventures, sometimes just for hauling it away. Who says Ham Radio has to be an expensive hobby?
I enjoy weak signal VHF/UHF, experimenting with different digital modes, observing propagation, playing with antennas, some contesting, chasing DX, public service and emergency communications, storm spotting, teaching Ham Radio classes and ragchewing. I have a full time APRS WX station and I-gate, NG9R. I also have a CC Cluster DX spotting node running, NG9R. It can be reached via telnet at ng9r.homeip.net port 23. I also run NG9R-10, a Winlink 2000 RMS Packet gateway for EMCOMM communications. I have spent time in drag racing, target archery and bowhunting, as well as being involved in my church. You can also catch me on my vintage Goldwing, when time and weather permits.
My wife, Gay, KA9VIM, got licensed as a Novice and even upgraded to Technician, but if you have ever worked her, it is something rare because she hasn't made more than half a dozen QSO's in her life. Gay is a craft person and her current preference runs towards using polymer clay. If you are interested in what her work looks like, it can be found here. She is very supportive of my hobbies and likes to get out and travel once in a while, so she really doesn't even mind if it is to a hamfest or the racetrack! Gay is also an accomplished target archer with 2 state titles and a sectional title to her credit as well as a very respectable showing at the national level.
We both enjoy our families and especially our grandchildren, who all live close by. My son-in-law is Todd, AB9QW. His eldest daughter, Amber, got licensed in July of 2007. Her call is KC9NYN. I may have to start sharing the shack after all.
You can find me on Twitter or Facebook.
I am a member of the Western Illinois ARC, Central States VHF Society, Great River DX Club, KC VHF Grid Bandits, SWOT, Society of Midwest Contesters and the ARRL.