Electrician with a Purpose
My electrical career started as an Engineering Student at the loacal Junior College in 1973. Shortly after I started into the Electrician Helper Program at Caterpillar. It was during this traing program that I met Don Reid W9RWD of Tremont Illinois. We were both working in maintenance at the East Peoria Building P Caterpillar plant on night shift. I saw an interest in Ham Radio as he talked about the hobby and with his support, I passed the 5 WPM novice code test at his house in December of 1973 and was on my way to a lifetime of enjoying the Ham Radio Service.
An Electrical Career
Getting a radio license was a nice stepping stone to my electrical career. I had completed my first steps in electrical engineering and with the help of Vic Edwards, KQ9U I was able to secure the FCC First Class Radio Telephone license. It was about this time frame that computers were coming on the scene and I was enthralled with the Heathkit Series of do it yourself projects. I build a radio interface to accept the audio from a tranciever and decode the morse code bursts onto the computer screen.
The Peoria 85 Repeater group became my first club experience. Then, the 85 Club merged with the Peoria Area Amateur Radio Club and combined their resources. The Peoria Club was the host of the local Superfest held each September while the 85 Club had a repeater in a good location on public land. I was able to become the Repeater Technical Chairman for a short time and learned alot about Spectrum Repeaters. It was during this time that I hald built an interface with 22/44 plug in cards. This hand built system was uprgraded to a MicroController System when the two club merged.
Peoria Area Amateur Radio Club (PAARC)
In 1992 I took the reigns as Chairman and brought the ARRL National Convention to Peoria in 1996. This was a highlight of serving as Chairman. A chance to learn how to organize sucha an event was not easy but with the help of Wayne R Miller, W9MI and a team of dedicated individuals, we we able to move the event downtown for a single year into the Peoria Civic Center.
Several Club postions have become part of my remume including the Presendency. I now serve as the Treasurer which is an ongoing postion.
Amateur Radio Contesting
Field Day was my first experience with contesting and the Peoria Area Amateur Radio Club knew how to do it up right. A great park site, lots of towers with beams and rotators, wires stretched out in all directions and lots of opportunities for young ham operators to participate. I was hooked.
My first real stand alone contest experience was CQ WPX in 2011. With every prefix being equal, I found that I could work more than a 100 counties in a single day. This pushed me to really enjoy a new aspect of the hobby and a new radio purchase. The radio was just the first step, a new tower and antenna was looming.