He was drafted into the army in 1943. He saw service with the 78thInfantry Division at Camp Pickett, Virginia and in Europe during the winter of 1944-45.
He entered the University of Maryland in 1946 and received his BS degree in Electrical Engineering in June of 1950. Later that same month he and Cathryn Frazier were married. Nelson worked for IBM as a customer engineer from July 1950 till September 1951. He worked for Melpar, Inc. in military electronics until September 1961. In the fall of 1961 he joined the U.S. Weather Bureau where he specified and installed radio equipment for communications. In 1964 he transferred to weather satellite work where he specified and built ground stations for satellite command and data acquisition. He retired in 1987.
Nelson has been a tinkerer and experimenter from childhood. His parents encouraged this activity and provided a workshop from his earliest years. In addition to woodworking he dabbled with things electrical. While in high school he and a neighbor boy built a telephone between their bedrooms. They made their own microphones using metal jar lids, a photographic negative (for the diaphragm) and carbon granules obtained by sweeping out the coal bin
In 1938 Nelson bought a "used" radio, for $6.50, from the local radio service shop. The radio bug bit soon after. Although he discovered amateur radio he did not get a license until 1953 when he got both Novice and Technician privileges as WN4BHD/W4BHD. He progressed to General, to Advanced, and, in 1988 to Extra Class.
Early on Nelson built and used several homebrew transmitters but never had the courage to attempt a receiver. As parts became harder to get and the state of the art got more complex, he finally gave in and bought first, a Drake T4 which he paired wirh an NC300, and later a Kenwood transceiver.
Operation has been mostly high-frequency CW on 40 meters through 10 meters. In recent years he has enjoyed 2-meter repeater operation. A high point was taking a 2-meter handheld to Australia (as VK2FNX) and New Zealand (as ZLWH) in 1988. Nelson enjoys a good CW contact, chasing DX, pursuing that new country or a new U.S. county.
Nelson is a life member of ARRL. He is a member of the ROWH and the Rag Chewers Club. He belongs to the QCWA. He holds the WAS and the USA CA-500 awards. Although he has 105 countries confirmed, on CW, he has never formally applied for DXCC. And he hopes to "ham" for many more years!17 March 2000