NM5PS - Peter N. Spotts NM5PS

Peter N. Spotts
Edgewood, NM

QCWA # 34679
Chapter 112

I first became interested in ham radio as a tweenager in Santa Monica, CA. But Morse code gave me the willies. So, as a Boy Scout, I learned semafore instead. Big mistake.

Twelve years and three major relocations later, I joined a buddy at work (WB1BUO) in attending a Novice course given by the Wellesley Amateur Radio Society in Wellesley, MA. The dream finally came true. My Novice call: WB1BUP. Eventually, I worked my way up to an Advanced-class license. Then kids came along; the last radios (a Heathkit HW-8 and Heathkit 2036A) went into the closet.

After a 22-year lock-up, the hardware mysteriously began to creep back out of the closet in 2005. Its reappearance triggered the slow, inexorable purchases that brought my VHF/UHF and HF equipment into the 21st century. Those old Heathkits, sigh...they still have an honored, if temporarily disconnected, place on my shelf. But man, what changes! Move over, Rip Van Winkle. My HW-8 and my new Yaesu FT-450AT had virtually the same physical dimensions. But the difference in capabilities? How do you engineers say it? Exponential advances?

Oh yes, I learned along the way that morse code (a.k.a CW) rocks! Many thanks to the late Jim Hatherly, WA1TBY (The Boston Yankee), for showing the way. When conditions are so bad that the sound coming through your headphones carries all of the intelligibility dry leaves rustling across the pavement on a windy fall day, nothing cuts through that hash like the sweet on-off tone of a CW signal.

Jim's intro to CW ultimately led me to the world of QRP -- ham radio's version of fly fishing. Out went the FT-450AT and in came the FT-817ND, and Elecraft's KX1 and K1 transceivers. Previous calls include WB1BUP (Novice), N1ABS (General), KC1JB (Advanced), W1PNS, WB5BUP, and finally, NM5PS

April 27, 2017