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1) How did you get involved in Hamradio and how many years are being a ham now?

I got involved in ham radio by listening to a short wave radio at night. 

I was thirteen years old...I think?? 

The many strange signals and foreign broadcast stations were like magic to me.

Later I bought a "crystal radio" kit and put it together...when it worked I was "hooked".

I was licensed when I was 14 in 1956 and remained very active until 1980. 
Because of my business career and family I lost interest for over twenty years. 
After the events of September 11 I got to thinking about my old hobby. 
Because I let my license expire I had to retake all of the tests .. including the code. 
Through our "vanity" program I was able to get my original call sign back...K0GKD.


2) What atracted you the most in being a hamradio operator?

I was mainly attracted to the friendships that I knew would come from Ham radio. 

One of my best friends as a teenager was W0WER. 

We were the same age and lived in different small towns in Kansas. 

He got his license about six months before me. 

We talked several times a week on AM.


3) What is your favorite mode and/or band?

I used to do a lot of CW but now I totally am on SSB. 

I like to rag chew and get to know people.


4) What equipment do you use?

I have four rigs that I use from time to time. 

My number one radio is a flex-radio which is hooked up to my second home brew solid state amplifier......

the "Kahuna" (http://www.k0gkd.com/kahoonaii.html). 

It is tied to a 11 element log multiband yagi at 19 meters - 20-10M). 

It is a great rig for rag chewing with DX contacts around the world.

 
Rig number two is a Icom-756 PROII. 
I have it tied to another home brew solid state amp that outputs 600 watts and feeds a pair of phased 40M
verticals spaced 1/4 wavelength apart. 
The verticals are lined up East and West since I am more or less in the center of the US.
 
Rig three is a Kenwood TS-930S and it is combined with a Heathkit SB-220 and feeds a 80M dipole and a multiband vertical.
 
Rig four is an old Heathkit SB-104A that has been modified with a digital VFO.
I don't use this rig very much any more.
You can see pictures of my shack at http://www.k0gkd.com/hamshack1.html 

 

5) Do you hold DXCC and what is the score?

I probably could qualify for DXCC on several bands but I was never motivated to do so. 

I really enjoy DX contacts where I can "rag chew" rather then exchange signal reports. 

Lately I have become interested in writing articles about interesting hams around the US and the world. 

I plan on writing several articles a year, most of which will be posted in CQ magazine as their editors have been

encouraging me to write for them. 

My first article will appear sometime this year and will be about VP5JM...Jodi Millstadt (http://www.k0gkd.com/vp5jm.html). 


6) What has been your most memorable story related to hamradio so far?

The other night I had a lengthy QSO with a ham in New Guinea who has been down there for fourteen years. 
I am corresponding with him as I know there is a great story about his years in the Solomon Islands. 
He works with a missionary group working on their airplanes.
 

One of my most memorable experiences was years ago when I was in the Navy. 

We had been operating for about eight months off the coast of Viet Nam during the war years. 

After we left thaw war zone I was given permission to operate maritime mobile from the ship (a minesweeper). 

We were ordered to visit Australia and be part of their celebration of the Coral Sea battle of WWII - they still

celebrate this battle every year!

On the way down I made contact with a ham in Sydney who invited me to his home and to see some

of this work. 

At the time he was the lead engineer for a pacemaker that was being used in Australia and other parts of

the Far East. 

When we got to Sydney he took me to the University's Medical School where there was an open heart surgery underway. 

We were able to observe his "pacemaker" being inserted in a patient and the replacement of a heart valve. 

We became very good friends and talked for years on 20M. 

I lost contact with him after I dropped out of ham radio.

 

7) Do you think CW had it's best time since you don't need it anymore to get a license?

No answer.


8) How would you explain our hobby to someone not familiar with hamradio?

I am writing an article (it needs a lot of work yet) that I hope will get published in a retirement type magazine

that has expressed interest. 

There is a surge of what we call "baby boomers", or people born after WWII that will be retiring soon here

in the US. 

My thinking is that a  lot them might be interested in Ham Radio.


9) Do you have other hobbys besides Hamradio?

I love to play golf and also Tennis. 

When I can be with my friend Orrin I prefer to fish as he makes it so much fun!


10) Any final words to the people reading the interviews?

This is a GREAT HOBBY and we need to encourage younger people to discover its many facets.