WA4GIF - Herman M. 'Butch' Weber WA4GIF

Herman M. 'Butch' Weber
Clermont, FL

QCWA # 31288
Chapter 173

I was always into some type of radio equipment since I was about 9 years old when I first received a set of walkie talkies for Christmas. One week later they were dis-assembled and never put back again, but I learned a valuable lesson. Always have a plan before taking something apart. It worked pretty much after that. I was into CB from about age10 until 20. I received my 1st ham license in 1973. I was in the US Navy at the time. The Navy taught me the Morse code so getting my ham license was a natural thing. I was at about 28 words per minute when I took my General license test at the FCC office in Honolulu, Hawaii. I started with the sending part and sent with no problem. I then promptly failed the receiving section! frownThe FCC agent thought it was strange since I sent manually ok. He finally figured it out when I mentioned that the Navy taught me. He said "Do you use a mill (common name for a typewriter)"? I said yes I did. He said "No problem when you come back in 30 days, bring along a mill". He was absolutely correct. In 30 days, I went back and passed using the typewriter I brought. cheekyI found that by learning with a typewriter, it was just an impulse to hit the right key when the code character was sounded. When using a pencil, it was more difficult because I had to think about writing the character after it was sounded. Learning by this method still has me limited to the amount of words per minute I can copy. I think it blocks the word patterns needed.

I passed the General test and immediately joined the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base Amateur Radio Station and became the Station custodian because no one else was using it. The stations call sign was KH6SP. It was great because it was a building all by itself and had three station consoles, two Collins 'S' lines and one Drake TR/4 transmitter/receiver combination for the Novices. It also had one Henry 2K3 amplifier. For an antenna the station had a worn out four element cubical Quad which we shortly changed to a TH6DXX Yagi.

A good friend that was not a Ham yet and I worked on the station and joined Navy MARS and we passed a lot of traffic (phone patches and Radio Teletype) for the Deep Freeze program in Antarctica. His name is Larry Van Horn (current call sign N5FPW) and was very interested in Ham Radio. I became his Elmer and we started a class for Ham Radio Licensing. I remember teaching the Morse code and made sure to not use the typewriter, hi hi. winkI believe there were about 12 people in that class and all passed their novice tests.

KH6SP is a fond memory of my first Ham Radio station that I operated. When I left the US Navy, I returned to Florida and almost immediately started working for Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin) in Ocala, Florida. I have been with them for 34 years now. While working for them I was sent to Germany as a permanent station to work on the US Army's Apache helicopter.

I became licensed as DA1WR and shortly joined US Army MARS. I volunteered to be the Public Affairs Officer and had the call sign AEM1PAO. It was fun working from Europe as a DA1 in Germany. I met wonderful people there and joined the Ansbach Amateur Radio Club. DL8NCJ, Reinhold Ruckser is my best friend there and we worked many projects at the MARS station. It was a pleasure to see the Friedrichshafen Ham Fest while there and to operate Germany Field Day.

After returning to Orlando, Florida two years later I set up and was operating a phone modem Bulletin Board System (BBS). Being a Sysop (short for System Operator) of The Orlando Communicator was a very interesting and rewarding undertaking. Due to writing this biography, I have since obtained a few domains relating to this BBS name and plan to open a site with similar activities as the old BBS to see how many old users as well as new users will appreciate it.

I have since obtained these domains:

I also have the Ham Radio related domains: WA4GIF.US, HL9DX.COM, W4MFC.COM, and QCWA173.ORG.

To get back to my story, I worked in Orlando for a few years then went to Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm as the Lead Field Engineer for our company and working on the US Army Apache Program. I spent 9 months there and didn't have any time for any operating ham radio or even knowing if operating was allowed there.

I went back to Orlando and worked for a few years then since our company was laying employees off in mass quantities, I decided to volunteer for anything in the field. I almost went to Israel but the Korea contract for the US Army came through first and there I went. I moved to the city of Wonju in Kangwon Do (Do is similar to State). It was about 100 kilometers south east of Seoul. The US Army base Camp Eagle was where our maintenance depot was located and I was the first employee there. I set up our equipment with my Orlando boss in the hangar because our building wasn't completely built yet. I started there as a Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) engineer as well as the Chief Engineer for the facility. I soon qualified for every maintenance position in the depot and became the Systems Engineer.

While there a departing soldier that I knew wanted me to take over teaching his students in English as a Second Language. I started teaching two nurses and one elementary student English. I also talked to some university classes trying to get students to learn English. This was a request from my Korean language teacher. I went through two classes of Korean (beginner and intermediate). It was just about enough to order a meal in a restaurant. I did learn how to read and write in Hangul. It was easy because the symbols are phonetic pronunciations.

I soon stopped teaching English and married one of my students (one of the nurses of course). heartHyun Min Park and I wed on June 10th, 1995 at Waikiki Beach Park in Hawaii. It was my first time back to Hawaii since leaving there in 1977. Boy did it change!

I received my Ham radio call sign HL9DX soon after getting to Korea. Del Clouser, HL9CW (W8KJP) and I set up a Ham Station in the Depot and we operated there when we could. I won two CQ World Wide SSB DX Contests for Korea while there. yesIt was fun and where I got my enthusiasm to work contests. I also set up a station at my apartment and the Hex Beam that you can see on my QRZ.com page was installed on top of our 20 story building. It worked very well! It still does at my current location as well.

All told, I was in Korea for 10 years and ending my stay there as the Manager for the Korea Operations for the US Army Apache Program. I was transferred back to Orlando, Florida in 2004 and live in Clermont, Florida now with my wife and our dog Buddy.

I joined the Lake (County) Amateur Radio Association (LARA) and co-started the Lockheed Martin Amateur Radio Association (LMARA) for employees. I am currently a director on the LARA Board and President of the LMARA club. I am also the webmaster for the LARA's website K4FC.ORG and associated Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) website N4FLA.ORG. I also maintain websites for LMARA domain W4MFC.COM and Quarter Century Wireless Association Chapter 173 website QCWA173.ORG.

I mentioned how much I like working contests right? Well, Field Day has been a wonderful relief for that activity and I get to operate SSB1 (20 Meters) station as much as I want. I think the club appreciates my operating during this time and has gained many points because of it. Anyway, I really like it and am looking forward to it in two weeks' time from this writing.

Well I have driveled on enough with this bio and am up to date. Thank you for reading and if you need to contact me you can at wa4gif@gmail.com.

October 8, 2014