I have been a licensed amateur radio operator since high school (1960). That was a long time ago! I began as a Novice Class (KNØBAD) and upgraded to Conditional shortly thereafter. In those days, two classes of license were administered by local volunteers, the Novice Class and the Conditional Class. The Conditional was the same as the General Class license, which was administered by the FCC. Anyone who had a Conditional had to pass the General before upgrading to the Advanced or the Extra (In other words, all licenses examinations had to be FCC-administered.)
I love the call and never even considered changing it when I upgraded.
Shortly after getting my Conditional, I began listening to the Minnesota Phone Net. It seemed interesting, but I was a bit reluctant (scared) to check in. Then one day, the
net actually had traffic for Winona and there were no Winona stations checked in. I had to do it then and I did.
Not only was the traffic for Winona, it was for a neighbor that lived just across the street from our house! I was hooked! I continue to be involved in traffic handling and other aspects of amateur radio public service.
I held a reciprocal license (DL4FB) in Germany from 1967-1970 where I served with the U. S. Navy. I darned near got DXCC while I was there, missing it by 8 countries.
Upon returning to the states, I set up a station in Pensacola, Florida where I operated as KØBAD/4. Most of my time in Pensacola was spent on 80 meters CW
handling traffic and on the relatively new (in 1970) amateur mode, 2 meter FM. I ended up as the RN5 (Fifth region Net) Manager on the CW nets and enjoyed it
immensely. In 1972 I went to Mobile, Alabama and advanced to Extra Class. As noted above, that effort required taking three written tests and two CW tests.
It was a busy morning! I went in as a Conditional and came out as an Extra! (I did a similar marathon a year later and came out with my First Class Radiotelephone commercial license.)
Upon leaving the active service in 1974, I moved back to Winona and I brought a 2 meter repeater with me. That first repeater in Winona was licensed under my name as WRØAIY and operated on 146.04/64. The local radio club purchased that equipment from me and the repeater (new electronics but same duplexer and frequency pair) now operates as WØNE.
For 10 years after I left the active service I operated an electronics retail store in Winona. I sold amateur (and CB) equipment in the local area and even had an Icom
franchise at the time. During that period I obtained a secondary station license, WBØKJZ, that I used whenever operating from the store.
All I have left now is KØBAD.
After a period of FM-only activity, I returned to HF in 2003. My first move was to begin operating on the local CW traffic nets. I soon discovered that the world had changed.
Traffic handling is virtually non-existent. While the National Traffic System (NTS) is still alive, there is very little traffic and it is mostly self-generated “spam” from other
amateur operators. And there isn’t much of that. It’s no fun checking into traffic nets that have no traffic!
That leaves me with SKYWARN and other local public service and emergency communications activities. While the “traffic” there lacks the formality of the NTS, it is at least meaningful and helpful to the public.
What to do next?
I’ve been rag chewing on CW, as well as on PSK31 and other “sound card” modes. I occasionally run a contest or work special event stations. I am currently interested in High Speed Multi-Media (HSMM) and am active with Winona area amateurs who are developing a MESH network.
Last year (2015) we moved to Hilo, HI. In Hilo, I am becoming familiar with the Big Island Amateur Radio Club (BIARC). I also face the challenges of putting togerther an amateur radio station in a community with CC&Rs. Stay tuned…
545 Kukuau St.
Hilo, HI 96720
KØBAD at arrl.net