When I was 13, my family moved to Australia for two years. We came back in January 1963, when I had just finished Grade 9. However, since the school year in Australia was skewed in comparison to North America (ran from February to December, instead of September to June), I was not permitted to start Grade 10, since it was halfway through the year. Therefore, I decided to work until September. I got a job with CN Telecommunications in the "shops" where they put together bays of equipment.
It was there that I first saw an ARRL Handbook. One of the Techs was a ham, although I must admit that I don't remember his name or callsign; he was only there a short time before being promoted to elsewhere. Reading through the Handbook, (as well as the Electrosonic catalog, which also contained amateur equipment) my appetite was whetted. I wanted to become a ham.
September rolled by and I returned to high school with a determination to learn electronics. I immediately joined the Danforth Tech Ham Club, but it wasn't until I had graduated and was working for Bell Canada that I was able to pass the 10 wpm code test in March, 1967, and become a licenced radio amateur in April. My call then was VE3BRT.
We were at the tail-end of the golden era of war surplus. I had purchased several different pieces of equipment, before being licenced, and used them as receivers. One of them was an MN-26K, a beautifully made receiver that had two RF stages and multiple IF stages. It covered from 200 kcs to 1750 kcs (no Hertz in those days, unless you were talking antennas). I also had a No.19 set, the venerable transceiver used in various Allied tanks. (They were produced in Canada for the Russians, among others.) I used the receiver only. Even after being licenced, I did not have the nerve to use the transmitter in the 19 set, since they were notorious as harmonic generators.
My first ham station consisted of a used National Receiver (an NC-140, I think) and a used Heathkit DX-35 & VF-1 VFO. It was all on a card table, which was disastrous for trying to receive code on a general coverage receiver; the warble from my copying it down was more than I could bear. I replaced it with a used Heathkit ham-bands-only receiver. I moved away from home after a year or so, and that ended my ham activities for a while.
Soon, I discovered girls, and I married my life partner in 1969. We were both involved in ministry work as volunteers. When my wife became pregnant, I returned to trade school to get a certificate in Electronics, then returned to the Bell. After buying our home in Toronto, I got my licence again, this time as VE3EIH, and bought a used Viking Ranger transmitter. Shortly after that, I purchased my first new rig, a Yaesu FT-301 transceiver, which I still own. I still hold VE3EIH, but added my present 2-letter call - VE3JX - in 2005, which is the one I use now. My current main rig is an Icom IC-746PRO transceiver, with an Ameritron AL-80A amplifier for emphasis when needed.
Over the years, I have enjoyed CW, SSB, FM, PSK31 and Packet as modes. I have not always been very active, but I always come back to ham radio as my favourite avocation. I am currently retired from Bell Canada where I worked as a Central Office Technician specializing in #1-ESS and DMS-100 technologies. I am presently involved with ARES, and I am the custodian of the EOC callsign - VA3ESO - here in the Sault. I am also enjoying some DXing with my newer call. I have also been editing and producing the local club's monthly newsletter: The Algoma Amateur.
We have a very active Seniors group that meets every Thursday at our hamshack room in the local Seniors Centre. The station sports a 3-element 40m Yagi as well as a TH-7 tribander, each with its own rotor and tower. A G5RV is strung up between the towers and a nearby tree. The callsign there is: VE3SCA. I like to operate PSK31 from that location.
One of the joys of my life was when my wife Darlene became a radio amateur with the call, VE3JVH. Darlene and I have been married for forty years in 2009, and still going strong. We have two sons, with one of them living in the U.S. We presently have two grandchildren.
joined QCWA in 2006, and have currently (2009) been offered the privilege of writing the QCWA column for WorldRadio online magazine. I am a Life member of QCWA, and a member of Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC), ARRL, OOTC, NAQCC, SKCC and QCWA Chapter 10. Also, I belong to two local clubs: the Algoma Amateur Radio Club, and the Algoma Seniors Electronic Communicators.
VE3JX at the Sault Ste Marie EOC station (VA3ESO) during the 2006 Field Day.
Dave Hayes - VE3JX
QCWA Life #33597
October 26, 2009