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 (SK), 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 Heathkit DX-20 transmitter borrowed from my neighbor, K8QDM, and a poorly constructed 40-meter dipole strung from the peak of the house to the garage. After returning the DX-20, 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
Back then, the "N" in the call sign indicated Novice class, so when I passed the General exam, 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.

I work mostly CW and greatly enjoy QRP (5 watts or less) operation. 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 several 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 local radio clubs. 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 the States 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
On June 6, 1966, I enlisted in the Michigan Army National Guard as a member of the 126th Army Band. My Basic Training was at Fort Benning, Georgia, as was my AIT, where I was attached to the 291st Army Band as a trombonist. I also played the string bass in a few weekend gigs at officers' formal occasions. After my discharge from active duty, I was reattached to the 126th Army Band.

After the 1968 assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, we were activated in anticipation of more rioting (remember the summer riots of 1967) around the country, Our unit was assigned to patrol the streets in the Grand Rapids area. I made all of one arrest. What the public didn't know was that we were sent out with NO ammo in our M1 Carbine rifles. Go figure!

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 hold B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees.

After my retirement in 2013, my wife and I moved to the Saint Louis (Missouri) area, where one of our daughters and family live. Jan and I celebrated our 52th anniversary in November 2018. We have three adult children, seven grandchildren, and a great granddaughter due to arrive in August of 2019. We are, indeed, blessed!