First, let me start by thanking my Elmer Roger, KW2Q for all of his help in getting me back on the air after I upgraded to Extra. My old rig was an old Kenwood TS-930-SAT that had been sitting for many years. When I finally hooked it up it had a bad RF issue in my audio. Before I lost my vision I would have just popped open the technical manual and opened the rig up to see if I could repair it myself. When I contacted someone that said they could repair it I found out it would cost more to repair then it would be worth. Roger helped me out in so many ways by offering to sell me a rig that he had, an ICOM IC-9100 with HF filters installed. He helped me out in more ways then he knows, I was still working out of depression from losing most of my vision and job because of it. Getting on HF and having the freedom to talk with my new Extra privileges helped me get out of a very deep hole I was in for several years. I can not put into words what it means to me to have a friend that helped me in so many ways. I first met Roger back in my hometown in NJ when I was working for the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department and he was our radio technician for the fire service dispatch. When I got my first ham license in 1991 he loaned me an old Motorola 2-meter handheld to get me on the air until I could afford to buy a radio myself.
Now permanently a North Las Vegas resident I applied for a “7” call sign. I guess I am of the old way of thinking that the number designator should match your actual location. I received the call sign on 6/10/2017. When I saw NO7E was available I applied since it was close to my original call sign from (N2OEU) New Jersey. I think it was a feeling of nostalgia and also a bit of karma that a call that had all the original letters, it just felt right.
I have been getting a lot of questions about hotspots lately. This is the one I recommend for portable or home use since it is small and self-powered. Shark RF Open Spot 3 Is a little more expensive but a lot more powerful than the typical ZumSpot with the 2.4-inch display available at HRO.
I am not a contester but I do love working all types of special event stations. I appreciate the time and effort all of those operators put into setting them up and using their time and money to get the stations on the air.
As of June 2020 I have gotten serious about learning CW. I wish I had learned this before I lost my vision, now I am having to go straight from learning to head copy because I can not read what I write. I thought my handwriting was bad before lol, now it is impossible since I can not see much at all. When I learned the first time to get my General I learned the total wrong way and relied on counting and we all know that is terrible for later improvement.
I joined a great group online that teaches CW using Zoom. The Long Island CW Club has helped me so much in this journey, In only a few weeks I was able to make some contacts on the air. I am still working hard on my instant character recognition but I am getting better. If you are interested in joining them send them a message from the website and Howard WB2UZE will get back to you with any questions you may have. I have to admit that I have never had to work so hard to learn something new like this, I guess I am getting old lol. It is not difficult if you practice daily if you are practicing and find your mind wandering walk away for a while. I found that short five-minute practice six or seven times a day works best. If I try to push it much longer I get tired and frustrated losing my place. In the class, we use G4FON software along with instructors’ hand sending. I recommend just jumping in as many classes as you can even if they are above your head. If you Audit a class you might just hear someone say something that makes sense for your learning method, we all have different ways that work for us.