1) How did you get involved in Ham-radio and how many years are being a ham now?
My Dad was a radar technician in the Army Air Force during WWII on an island out in the pacific. About 10 years after the war he got his license. He was a machinist by trade, radio and electronics was a hobby. I remember being with him in the basement while he was operating. I got to throw the transmit - receive switch. When I was about 14 I got my novice. I was active and made lots of CW contacts. Back then the novice was only good for one year. My license expired. It was during my first year of college that I got my General and got back on the air. That was about 1971 and FM was taking off. I had a 26 tube converted RCA radio in my car with two channels for 2M FM. I attended Rochester Institute of Technology and got a degree in electronics technology. I was also involved in television broadcasting. I worked in the TV studio at the college and with a company that did remote broadcasts. So I was involved with electronics with my classes, at work with television and with my ham radio projects. Myself and WA2MQX built a 2M FM repeater during those days. It was a lot of fun. I am still involved with television today as I work as a Sales Engineer for NVISION, a manufacturer of digital video and audio switching systems.
2) What attracted you the most in being a ham-radio operator?
The equipment, building, tinkering, and hanging out with a bunch of fun guys.
3) What is your favorite mode and/or band?
I have been though most modes, CW as a novice, and not much since then, FM, years later when owning a house I got into HF, I played with satellites in the AO13 and digisats days, RTTY with teletype machines, now RTTY. SSTV, HELL, PSK with the computer. I am on 80 - 450.
4) What equipment do you use?
TS-2000, FT990. Henry 2 K Classic, FT-897, FR-817, plus several HTs and MFJ antenna tuners. I run ARPS in the car with my TH-D700.
5) Do you hold DXCC and what is the score?
I never was really interested in DX until I got my FT-817. I hooked it to my TH6DXX to see what I could do. I had fun making many DX QSOs, but it was a bit more work with 5 watts than with 1500. So, as I got more into DX, I used the FT-817 less. I am currently at 263 worked, 231 confirmed mixed, and 177 worked and 133 confirmed RTTY/digital. I have DXCC # 1632 for RTTY. Someday I will send in the cards for my mixed DXCC.
6) What has been your most memorable story related to ham-radio so far?
I think my most memorable QSO was with NA1SS Bill on the space station. We talked for several minutes. He was going to have pork chops for dinner that night after I finished with him.
7) Do you think CW had it's best time since you don't need it anymore to get a license?
First, I'm not a CW operator. I think CW may be increasing in popularity. Now that it is not required, people want to learn it as a second language. I have a friend that just got his license. He studied real hard, as he wanted to take the CW test before the CW test was eliminated. He sees himself sitting in a darken room, pounding on the key to someone in a far away place. It doesn't get any better than that!
8) How would you explain our hobby to someone not familiar with ham-radio?
Seems like everyone had an uncle or knew an old guy down the street that had a radio setup. When they hear about what we are doing today, they are amazed. The equipment is all new and very sophisticated. The one thing that everyone remembers is the QSL cards on the wall. We still do that today. Today with the Internet VOIP and video, people are interested in what we can do without being tied to a network connection. Consumers today are all using wireless, cell phones, blue tooth, wifi, satellite TV, PDAs and so on. They just don't think about it. It all started with hams. I remember making auto patch calls in 1971 from my HT.
9) Do you have other hobby's besides Ham-radio?
Making videos to be posted on youtube about ham radio. Computers, keeping my network happy, and anything else geeky. I like to travel, I was in Brazil last week, I like going to Beijing and being on narrow boats on the UK canals. When I was on the narrow boat last year I had my FT-857, THD7 for APRS, laptop, camcorder, GPS, and digital camera. All in a backpack and without any trouble going though airport security. I don't travel without my toys!
10) Any final words to the people reading the interviews?
Making the youtube videos has been an interesting experience. This is how Rob learned about me. I try and focus each video on a subject, either something technical or just on the air operating. I have received emails from people all over the world. My wife calls everyone my youtube fan club. I have viewers that can't get on the air watching. From a fellow out in the pacific studying real hard to upgrade from his VHF to HF license to be able to talk off of the island. From a fellow teaching radio merit badge to 50 boy scouts. I have had fun chatting with ZL2MAT from New Zealand on 20 meters. We got linked up with email, then on the radio. I was tuning across the band the other night, and there he was. I hardly get on the air thinking about should I roll tape. I can't believe that I have 225 subscribers, as of today, to my videos. I received an email from a fellow that saw my Memories video. He owned the GE Prog 2M FM radio seen in the video. Now, this is radio that I sold over 30 years ago that this fellow had just spotted while watching my video. It is a small world. Lots of people are watching. Hey, if it isn't fun we all wouldn't be playing with radio.
Get on the air!