W3RDF in 1951. I worked in a farm market for a few weeks to get the money to buy the S-20-R receiver. The other gear is home made.
I got my Class "B" amateur ticket in November 1950. There was no Novice class at that time. I still remember how nervous I was sitting before the FCC examiner at the U S Customshouse in Philadelphia, Pa. As a 16 year old kid having traveled from Kingston, Pa. to the big city of Philadelphia, this was a big event in my life. I remember the day clearly. One of those days I'll never forget. They only let you take the written exam if you pass the 13 WPM code test. I passed, and after turning in the written exam I left without knowing if I had passed of failed. A couple weeks of wondering and worrying and finally the glorious day when I came home from school and my mother said "You got something from the FCC in the mail today" and it becomes the happiest day in my life. I could forget my bootleg call and come out of the closet as a real ham. CW has always been my favorite mode and CW rag chewing more than anything else.
In 1951, during the Korean war I joined the Army Security Agency and became a Morse Intercept Operator. I shipped to Germany with the 328th C/R company and was transferred to the 332nd Comm Recon. I served as a high speed intercept operator and a radio direction finder operator until discharged in August 1954. While in Germany I received the call DL4AV and along with my friends (Don Strock, W7LAN-DL4MY and Eugene Paul Flint, W1VXA-DL4AZ) we built and operated a ham station in the attic of our barracks in Coburg, Germany. Other hams joined us and later the company moved to Bamberg Germany. I became well grounded in CW during this period.
I became an avid QRP enthusiast in 1987 and have built many QRP radios during the past 20 years. I was fortunate to be one of the test builders for Elecraft's K2 project. As a builder for hire I built a total of 20 K2s and 5 K1s before my eyesight began to fail.
I enjoy operating QRP cw from remote locations as well as from my back yard shack. I live two blocks from the beach and often take a QRP radio to the beach and operate. I have operated QRP from the edge of the Black Sea in KDZ Eregli, Turkey, as TA6/W3RDF, TA2ZA and TA2ZD during the early 1990s. I have operated from the edge of the Aegean Sea as well. Most of my foreign operation has been from Finland. Some of my family lives in Espoo, and I have been fortunate to travel extensively in Finland, operating from tiny islands in the Baltic Sea as OH2, and from other parts of Finland as OH4, OH6, OH7, OH9(above the Arctic Circle), and Aland Island as OH0. My good friends OH2EV (Esa) and OH2CW (Heikki) make sure I enjoy ham radio while in their country. My Grandson, Timo Kerola holds the call OH2GVH but since his girlfriend commands most of his attention he has become inactive.
I have lived in North Myrtle Beach, SC since June 1986. This is a great location for ham radio. My QUAD at 40' has a clear shot over the ocean. My ARCI number is 6484. I have been lucky to hold onto this call for all these years. I also hold the call W4LOW for the Grand Strand QRP Society.73 de Don
October 29, 2008