My name is Chris, I currently hold the Amateur Radio call sign of NO7E. I’m a visually impaired Extra Class Amateur radio operator originally licensed in New Jersey as N2OEU when the no-code license was introduced. I later upgraded to a Technician plus after passing my code test at 5, then the 13 wpm in the same session. I moved to North Carolina soon after that and forgot about it. I cleaned out my wallet almost a year later and found my CSCE for the code and realized I only had about six weeks left before it expired. I studied a few weeks and passed my General while living in North Carolina and changed my call to W4ADL. Since I was living in North Carolina I wanted a “4” call. While living in North Carolina I was heavily involved in all aspects of emergency communications with the local ARES/RACES and especially SKYWARN as a spotter and Net Control operator. A volunteer firefighter as a Training Officer then Assistant Chief for several years.
I am now living in North Las Vagas Nevada and a member of the Henderson Amateur Radio Club. I am active on HF, both voice and digital modes as well as D-Star and a little DMR. I am the administrator for the W7HEN D-Star repeater located on 446.975, I am able to assist people with registering for the D-Star network. I just completed the CW Ops Level 1 course to learn CW the proper way. When I was first licensed I learned CW the wrong way and it caused a mental block that I could never get past the 15WPM block. I am still overcoming this block but I will conquer this block and head copy correctly. If anyone is interested in learning morse code and doing it the proper way I recommend this course and group highly. Continued…
In my late twenties I noticed something happening in my left eye, things started to look warped in the top center of my eye. After going to several doctors around North Carolina before I was able to get a proper diagnosis. I was diagnosed with early-onset Macular Degeneration. I was twenty-eight at the time of this diagnosis, the average person that receives this diagnosis is between the ages of sixty-eight and seventy-two. This made it difficult to do my job as a network engineer, building servers with those small screws started to get more and more difficult as I got older. On top of this diagnosis, I was also told that I had Retinitis Pigmentosa, which explained why I had night vision problems ever since I was a child and they only got worse as I got older. By the time I was in my late thirties started having difficulties with driving especially at night. I was losing my peripheral vision in both eyes and the MD in my left eye had gotten awfully bad, so much so that I couldn’t see anything but warping and light. My eye doctor told me I could still keep driving with special glasses but I disagreed. I turned in my driver’s license (Anyone that knew me knows how majorly difficult this was for me.) at age thirty-eight. I would not be able to live with myself if an animal or child ran out from the side of the street and I did not have the reaction time to stop. My vision was really starting to go at this time, I always had issues with night vision but now I am completely blind at night. It was starting to be almost impossible to walk alone at night without hurting myself in one way or another. I found out at six foot four inches fire hydrants seemed to be just the right height to hit you in the very wrong spot as a man. 😮
I went into a long bout with depression and anxiety due to the loss of my vision and losing the ability to see to do most of the things I was used to doing in my life. I secluded myself into my home for three years without going anywhere after an anxiety attack so bad one evening in a store that I thought I was having a heart attack. It took a lot for my fiance to get me to seek help. Once I got the help I needed my life started to get better, Now, a few years later and I have learned Orientation and Mobility training and later gotten myself a beautiful Golden Retriever, Golden Lab mix and have the confidence to go anywhere with her. Thanks to Leader Dogs For The Blind for teaching me that it is OK to live a normal life and how to get around on my own.