W2QJH - Richard J. Holley W2QJH

Richard J. Holley
Watertown, NY

QCWA # 34563
Chapter 29

I have been asked many times about the vanity call sign that I am using so here is the story. It belonged to my Uncle Jim who got his Ham ticket in High School around 1937. Some of his QSL cards I was able to find are shown below. Before WWII, this part of New York State was in what was called the 8th Radio Inspection District. I researched what public records were available and found that the districts changed after WWII because of population changes and there was less emphasis being placed on radio amateur communication between sea going vessels.

My Uncle served in the US Army 8th Air Force during WWII with the 1596th AFF Base Unit and served in England as a B-24 Airplane Electrical Mechanic with the 389th Bombardment Group. Returning home he became a Journeyman Electrician and continued his amateur radio activities until he became a silent key in 1956 at the age of 36. It was determined that his illness was service related. Here is a picture of him wearing his Utica Amateur Radio Club Badge.

There would not be another Ham in our family until our local Jefferson County Radio Amateur Club was formed in response of the great blizzard of 1977 that crossed Western and Northern New York State. My Father and I attended the Ham classes the club sponsored later that summer. My father was a graduate of that class along with a large number of Ham tickets being issued. My father preferred to be called Chuck and his call was WB2TNZ. Chuck served in the US Army as a mechanic during the Korean War and returning home he started a career as a Field Service Engineer with IBM. Chuck always wanted his own business so he established a real estate sales office leaving IBM in 1971. Chuck became a silent key in 1981 at the age of 51. He always wished that he could get his brother's call assigned to him but that was not an option during his life time. I was interested in carrying on the family tradition in Ham Radio so when I was able to have my uncle's call granted to me in 1996 I felt it would be an honorable tribute to both my father and his brother.

All this exposure in radio took hold in me during the late 1970's when I found out how much fun it was to listen to my father's Zenith H500 Trans-Oceanic receiver that he brought back from Korea and I was hooked from then on by all the SWL and DX that I could find. I earned my Novice ticket the year I graduated High School in 1979 with the call sign KA2GCP. Eventually I upgraded and I was active on the VHF Ham bands using different modes. I always admired the CW operators with their skills and it inspired me to try to become proficient in Morse Code. It is a challenge to be good at CW and I just could not pick it up well enough on my own with the training materials that were available. A few years ago I purchased a computer CW practice program and every morning I would listen to code. After a short while I built up enough confidence to go on the air with CW and now I'm mostly on the 40 Meter CW Band. You might also find me on 20 or 80 Meters. Recently I have become interested in PSK31 and I am still learning the operations of that mode. I served in the New York Army National Guard for 6 years from 1984 to 1990 as a computer operator with the Supply Platoon in the 145th Maintenance Co. and later in the 107th MP Co. Currently I am employed by the City of Watertown and I worked for Jefferson County. I have 29 years of service (2015) between the two.

My shack is the traditional building in the back yard and my equipment is basic - ICOM 746 PRO & 706 MKIIG are the two main rigs. I have a Heathkit HW-101 and a home brew transmitter that my father and I built from the 1964 ARRL Handbook. I have recently started having lots of fun with a 2 Watt Small Wonders Labs 20 Meter QRP rig. My antenna is a Alpha Delta DX-CC Dipole up about 20 feet tied to the house and a tree. I also have a Buddipole antenna that I use for portable camping operations with the 706 MKIIG rig. I have a BENCHER BY-1 Paddle that I use most of the time and a J-38 straight key. I also have a VIBROPLEX bug but don't use it because no one would be able to copy me with it. My next challenge is to master the bug!

I have worked stations in Europe - Asia - South - North America - 48 US States all CW. I need Hawaii and Wyoming for WAS.

My FISTS Number is 13881 - CC Number is 2086, SKCC Number is 6679 and QCWA Member 34563 - Finger Lakes Chapter 29. I am a member of the ARRL, Antique Wireless Association, Thousand Islands Repeater Club, American Legion Amateur Radio Club and the Utica Amateur Radio Club. Awards: FISTS Two Million number 123, FISTS CW - Phone Area Code, FISTS Silver number 542, FISTS Century number 2086 and the Ten American Districts.

I home brew my own QSL cards - I'm old fashioned and traditional. I send paper QSL cards to all CW QSOs with the first contact. I figure that we took the time to learn valuable skills and exchanging physical QSL confirmations are a fun way to commemorate the effort we made in making the contact. I also appreciate the historical and educational value paper QSL cards help keep the hobby interesting. Electronic files are great, but don't expect electronic files to pass the test of time like the above QSL cards have. Many thanks to W8JYZ Bob Green for his efforts in preserving the historially significant practice of sending QSL cards. Please visit and support Bob's web site at http://oldqslcards.com/ The1938 QSL card shown here was found on Bob's web site. The other QSL cards were found on eBay. I just don't get the same feeling about electronic conformations that I get when a QSL card arrives in the mail. I use LOTW and eQSL to accommodate others. Additional QSL cards will be sent upon request. If you send me a QSL card I'll send one back - no SASE required.

The Amateur's Code
The Radio Amateur is:

  • CONSIDERATE...never knowingly operates in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.

  • LOYAL...offers loyalty, encouragement and support to other amateurs, local clubs, and the American Radio Relay League, through which Amateur Radio in the United States is represented nationally and internationally.

  • PROGRESSIVE...with knowledge abreast of science, a well-built and efficient station and operation above reproach.

  • FRIENDLY...slow and patient operating when requested; friendly advice and counsel to the beginner; kindly assistance, cooperation and consideration for the interests of others. These are the hallmarks of the amateur spirit.

  • BALANCED...radio is an avocation, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school or community.

  • PATRIOTIC...station and skill always ready for service to country and community.

              The original Amateur's Code was written by Paul M. Segal, W9EEA, in 1928.

    I found the above Amateur's Code on the http://www.tirepeaterclub.com/ Thousand Islands Repeater Club's web site. I remember reading this in the front of all the old ARRL Handbooks. I have great respect for this code of conduct and I stive to operate my station by it.

    CW is a lot of fun and I have worked some FB DX. I enjoy chewing the rag with the CW ops the most. I hope to CU on the CW bands soon and I thanks for reading my story. 73 de W2QJH

    W2QJH - Richard J. Holley

    W2QJH - Richard J. Holley

    W2QJH - Richard J. Holley

    W2QJH - Richard J. Holley

    December 22, 2015