K4EQ Bio

In 1960, when lots of kids my age were becoming hams, I passed the Novice class exam and was assigned KN8WHB as my call sign by the Federal Communications Commission. I was as excited as any 13-year-old kid could be. The next several months were more fun than I could imagine as I got on the air from my basement shack in our Grand Rapids, Michigan, home. My first contact was with Frank Koteles, KN8UDM, in Muskegon Heights, Michigan. That was a thrill!

My Skillman Bug from 1960
My first receiver was a used Heathkit AR-3, which I bought for $30. My transmitter was a Heathkit DX-20, which I borrowed from K8QDM, my neighbor and elmer (ham radio jargon for mentor). My antenna was a poorly constructed 40-meter dipole strung from the peak of the house to the garage. After returning the DX-20 to K8QDM, I bought a used Heathkit AT-1 transmitter at the Grand Rapids hamfest for $10. My key was a Skillman semi-automatic key (bug), which my parents gave me as a Christmas gift in 1960. I no longer use it, but it has remained in my shack all these years and I could never part with it. I began using a paddle and iambic keying back in the 70s and haven't used the bug since then. I now use a TP4 paddle crafted by Larry Naumann, NĂ˜SA.

My TP4 Paddle
When I upgraded to General class, the "N" was dropped from my call and I became K8WHB. The FCC changed that to W9NXD in 1977 after our family moved to Indiana. Then, in 1984, after returning from a few years of missionary work in Central America, we moved back to Michigan and I did some quick upgrading. The day after we returned, I went to the FCC office in Detroit and passed the Advanced class exam, and the next month drove to Cleveland with my father, N8CVH (SK), and brother, KD8LL, and passed the Amateur Extra class exam. That was either the last or next to last exam session given by the Detroit FCC office before the volunteer examiner program began. I elected to receive a new call sign at that time and was issued NJ8X. When the vanity call sign program started in 1996, we were living in Virginia. I again elected to receive a new call sign reflecting the call area I lived in. I was issued my current call sign of K4EQ. After living seven years in the fourth call area, we moved to Iowa. I decided I was done changing call signs and elected to keep K4EQ.

I work mostly CW QRP (low power: 5 watts or less) anymore, although not exclusively. I also dabble in some of the digital modes from time to time. I have a few QRP radios I've built, including an Elecraft K1, an Elecraft K2, a Tuna Tin II, a Bayou Jumper, and a Splinter II 40-meter CW transceiver. I've also built and sold several more QRP rigs through the years. I added the 100-watt amplifer to the K2, so it's power range is now 0.1-100 watts. Thanks to a very good friend, I also have a Kenwood TS-2000, an absolutely outstanding transceiver.

Through the years I've had lots of fun in Amateur Radio. It was especially fun operating as DX when we lived in Honduras and Costa Rica. In Honduras, I operated as HR1DH, K8WHB/HR1, and W9NXD/HR2. In Costa Rica, I was W9NXD/TI2.

K4EQ operating UZ3VWQ in Vladmir, Russia
In early 1992, not long after the old Soviet Union was dissolved, I went to Russia with four other men from my denomination to explore some mission possibilities. During our ten days there, I was able to visit and briefly operate from the club station UZ3VWQ in Vladimir. I'm not sure of the legality of it at that time, but the station operator even allowed me to make a contact with my call sign: NJ8X/UA3. That was a thrill!

Professionally, I was in Christian ministry for nearly 45 years. Over four of those years were on the senior staff of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, nine years in international missions, and the rest as a pastor. I'm a graduate of Vennard College (BA), Michigan State University (MA), and Trinity Theological Seminary (PhD). After my retirement in 2013, my wife and I moved to the St. Louis (Missouri) area, where one of our three children and family live.