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I was first licensed at age 17 in 1972 as WNØGQP, primarily Elmered by WBØDYV, now KJ7PC, then upgraded to Extra and NØAX in 1975. Ham radio led directly to electrical engineering studies at Univ of MO – Rolla (now the MO Univ of Science and Technology, radio club WØEEE) and a BSEE degree in 1978. I spent the next 20-something years in field and product development engineering.
In 1983 I moved to the Seattle area (specifically, Vashon Island NA-065/WA-060S) and after our twin boys grew up to allow their parents some personal time again, started putting up antennas and getting on the air more regularly in the late 1980s. About that time, I discovered the Western Washington DX Club (www.wwdxc.org) and found a community of like-minded operators with a pretty good sense of humor about ham radio. You have to have a good sense of humor if you're going to be active on HF from the Pacific Northwest!
During the 1990s I became more active in contesting and DXing, eventually appearing in the DXCC Honor Roll, lots of contest Top Ten boxes, and on a few Record lists. I was fortunate to be among the founders of the World Radiosport Team Championships, first held in Seattle in 1990. I continue to support the organization as the Sanctioning Committee Secretary. A few years ago, I joined the YASME Foundation (www.yasme.org) as a Board Member and enjoy extending a helping hand to amateur radio around the world that way, too.
Competitive operating really gets my ham radio juices flowing, whether individually or in teams, operating from stations such as K3LR, HC8N, VE7SV, N7WA, N7BV, and others. I finally got to go on a Real DX-pedition in 2005 as part of the K7C team's adventure to Kure Atoll and managed not to wreck the boat, even though I was permitted to pilot it more than my experience at sea warranted.
In 2000, I began writing and teaching in earnest, releasing “Ham Radio for Dummies” in 2004 and now two additional “Dummies” titles; Two-Way Radios and Scanners for Dummies (2006) and the new Circuitbuilding for Dummies (2008). I’ve written a lot for QST magazine, including the Hands-On Radio column, now in its sixth year. (www.arrl.org/hands-on-radio). I was honored to receive the second Bill Orr Technical Writing Award (2003) from the ARRL and have a couple of QST cover plaques.
Somewhere in there, I authored the ARRL's online courses Antenna Design (EC-009), Analog Electronics (EC-012), and Digital Electronics (EC-013). While my list of publications continues, the best reward, is hearing from readers that have found my writing helpful in understanding some aspect of electronics or radio.
While living on Vashon Island I worked closely with community leaders and the Vashon-Maury Island Radio Club (W7VMI - www.w7vmi.org) to provide effective emergency communications. Working together, the fire district, CERT, and radio club members have created one of the best local communications systems in the state of Washington. The club is active in recruiting and Elmering new hams, performing public service, and having a good time on the air, too! I'm now a member of the St Charles Amateur Radio Club WBØHSI (www.wb0hsi.org) and active in the ARES Rapid Response Team (RRT). I'm also a founding member of the Mississippi Valley DX and Contest Club (www.mvdxcc.org).
A couple of years ago, I received the humbling and unexpected honor of being selected as the Dayton Hamvention's "Amateur of the Year" for 2008. It is very gratifying to be recognized as having made a contribution to this amazing hobby and service. I owe a lot to the friends and readers that have encouraged me to continue to write and provided me with ideas, corrections, and guidance.
I will continue to pursue a variety of writing and editing projects with the ARRL, such as the training manuals for all three license classes and the ARRL Contest Update biweekly newsletter (www.arrl.org/contest-update-issues) read by nearly 26,000 subscribers.
Ham radio continues to open doors for me and I am honored to enjoy the friendship of my many ham radio friends in every corner of the globe, whether it has corners or not :-)