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Peter Spotts - W1PNS (then KC1JB) - NAQCC # 2446

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By way of introduction, I first became interested in ham radio as a tweenager in Santa Monica, CA. But Morse code gave me the willies. So, as a Boy Scout, I learned semafore instead. Big mistake. Twelve years and three major relocations later, I joined a buddy at work (WB1BUO) in attending a Novice course given by the Wellesley Amateur Radio Society in Wellesely, MA. The dream finally came true. My Novice call: WB1BUP. Eventually, I worked my way up to an Advanced-class license. Then kids came along; the last rigs (a Heathkit HW-8 and Heathkit's 2036A) went into the closet.

After a 22-year lock-up, the hardware mysteriously began to creep back out of the closet in 2005. It's reappearance triggered the slow, inexorable purchases that brought my VHF/UHF and HF rigs into the 21st century. Those old Heathkits, sigh...they still have an honored, if temporarily disconnected, place on my shelf. But man, what changes! Move over, Rip Van Winkle. My HW-8 and my new Yaesu FT-450AT have virtually the same physical dimensions. But the difference in capabilities? How do you engineers say it? Exponential advances? Oh yes, I learned along the way that morse code (a.k.a CW) rocks! When conditions are so bad that the sound coming through your headphones carries all of the intelligibility of dry leaves rustling across the pavement on a windy fall day, nothing cuts through that hash like the sweet on-off tone of a CW signal.