K4EQ Bio

In 1960, I passed the Novice class exam and was assigned KN8WHB as my call sign by the FCC. It seemed like lots of kids my age (13) were getting licensed then. My first contact was with Frank Koteles, KN8UDM, in Muskegon Heights, Michigan--not far from my Grand Rapids home. That was a thrill!

My Skillman Bug from 1960
My first station included a used Heathkit AR-3 receiver, a borrowed Heathkit DX-20 transmitter, and a poorly constructed 40-meter dipole strung from the peak of the house to the garage. After returning the DX-20 to its owner, I bought a used Heathkit AT-1 transmitter at the Grand Rapids hamfest for $10. I used 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. 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 when 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. The next month, my father (N8CVH), my brother (KD8LL) and I drove to Cleveland, Ohio, to take 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 passed and elected to receive a new call sign. I was assigned NJ8X. In 1996, while living in Virginia, I was issued my current call sign of K4EQ. After living seven years in the fourth call area, I accepted a new position in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and decided I was done changing calls. Besides, K4EQ is a great CW call.

I work mostly CW QRP (5 watts or less) anymore, although not exclusively. I also dabble in some of the digital modes from time to time with my TS-2000 and SignaLink USB. 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 amplifier to the K2, so its power range is now 0.1-100 watts. Check out my QRP Is! page to see pictures of most of my QRP builds.

Through the years I've had lots of fun and rewarding experiences in Amateur Radio, whether building QRP radios, contesting, working DX, collecting QSL cards, passing traffic on nets, or being involved in the local radio club. Before the advent of cell phones, I used to do lots of phone patching. I've run patches for sailors on U.S. Navy ships, for workers in Antarctica, for homesick missionaries who had no other means of communication, and for scores of others. We were living in Honduras when the 1976 earthquake devastated many parts of Guatemala (and shook our house in Tegucigalpa) and killed 23,000 people. I ran several urgent phone patches to Washington, D.C., in the next few days. It was rewarding to experience not only the fun but the value of my hobby.

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 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. Additionally, I served as an adjunct professor in the Religion Department at Indiana Wesleyan University. 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 Saint Louis (Missouri) area, where one of our three children and family live.