I first became a ham in 1981, when I received my Novice license, and the FCC-assigned call — KA8JXG. Two years later I upgraded to Technician. I remained a technician until April 2000, when I made an administrative upgrade to General by virtue of the new FCC requirements of a maximum of 5 wpm Morse code needed for all license classes. My XYL, a college professor, calls this “ham grade inflation.” Nonetheless, I was very happy that this new standard allowed me to upgrade to General. At that point, I began rather serious DX work, compared to my earlier sporadic DX activity. When I upgraded to General, I also became quite active on the then-new mode of PSK31. About half of my DX contacts have been on BPSK and that newest of modes — JT65. I’ve now achieved mixed mode DXCC and WAS and am working on all JT-65 WAS and all-digital DXCC.
In April 2002, I took the written exam for Extra and passed with a score of eight wrong answers. I used the Gordon West study materials (book and computer program) and the online sample tests and flashcards that are available at W8MHB.org. I highly recommend all of these study aids to the aspiring Extra class operator.
On May 18, 2002, the FCC website showed that my application for the vanity callsign — N8VZ — had been approved. Thus began the next chapter in my amateur radio “career.”
My station equipment includes: Kenwood TS-590s, Drake MN 2700 Matching Network, an Elecraft KPA500 amp, a KPC-3 TNC, and a Kenwood TM-V71A (with RD-D710 replacement head) 144/440 rig. My portable and mobile equipment includes an Elecraft KX3, Zeus ZS-1, and two 2 meter transceivers — a Kenwood TH-F6 HT and an Yaesu FTM-400DR. I am the proud owner of a “built-it-myself” K-2. After an almost two year construction period, with a number of delays and periods of “downtime,” my K-2 (S/N: 03116) finally had its first QSO in the summer of 2004.
My ham radio interests include: PSK31, Packet (HF & VHF), JT-65, Feld Hell, SSB, RTTY and QRP. I have done some (small gun) contesting on SSB and RTTY. I still enjoy working 6 and 10 meters, when band openings allow. I’m a member of 10-10 International (72675), the ARRL, the Christian Amateur Radio Federation (www.carf.net), and the Athens County Amateur Radio Association.