K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities
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Eric - KC0IOX

Hi John: First of all, let me congratulate you on your fine web-page. I've visited it before, and have found it to be useful for a number of different things. Well designed and very informative!
Now, let me tell you my story. I grew up with my Dad being a ham radio operator, so I knew what it was all about, and found it interesting, but nothing I wanted to really pursue at the time. Dad was always trying to get me to learn the code and get my license, but I found other interests. You could say that ham radio was the family hobby, as my uncle got his ticket back in 1941, shortly before Pearl Harbor, and after the war, became an electrical engeneer on the GI bill. Matter of fact, he spent about 20 years at Collins Radio helping design radios. Also, my cousin and my brother are hams, so the discussion of ham radio always seemed to come up at family gatherings.
Fast forward 20 years to the summer of 2000. I'm now a school teacher and husband and father, 34 years old, taking his first summer "off" and like most teachers, looking for some sort of self improvement project over the summer. My uncle suggested I get my ham ticket, and my brother told me of the recently relaxed CW requirements in the wake of restructuring. I decided, "Why not?" so I bought study guides, dug out a piece of code software my Dad had previously given me, and decided to go for it. I passed my code, Tech and General on the first try, and became a ham.
I live in a deed restricted (no towers, I use a wire antenna) neighborhood, and after setting up my station with some complaints of RFI from the neigbors, looked into QRP. The RFI has since been taken care of, but I still will do QRP sometimes. Your page helped convince me about that option, but I knew that to do it, I would probably need to brush up on CW. I threw myself into those efforts, and found it came easy the more I used it.
In looking at the history of amateur radio, I think the old 1 year non-renewable Novice license was a stroke of genius. You had to use the code, and you got better. While I passed at 5 wpm, I wanted to work on my speed and be a CW op.
Field Day of 2001 at my brother's club in Iowa was fun, and the ARRL section manager shows up to help out on the operation, and runs CW on 40 meters. He's tearing up the keyer at about 35 wpm and within 2 hours, bags about 100 contacts for the cause. I'm amazed, and that clinches it. In the next year, I start running a whole lot of CW, and finally am comfortable with 20-25 wpm and on a good day 30. Having upgraded to Extra Class, I now run contests, ragchews, and some DX all on CW. For field day this year, the local group out here in South Dakota asks me to operate, and these are all older hams, and they ran nothing but CW, and I kept right up with them, and our little 1A station makes almost 1000 QSO's.
I recently built a keyboard keyer kit and also have a bug, straight key, and paddles in my collection. I have found that CW ops are courteous, genuine, and friendly. CW is all I run now, except for some SSB with my relatives and local and section traffic nets. I recently applied to join FISTS, and think CW is really the way to go. It's been fun. As a musician and music teacher, I find it to be fascinating, as it is very similar to learning music. The 5 wpm requirement got my foot in the door, and once I used CW, discoverd that I liked it. Anyway, that's my story.
73 Eric W. Stover KC0IOX Belle Fourche, SD

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