I passed the Novice license exam in the summer of 1960. In those computer-less, snail mail delivery days, it took about nine weeks before your license finally arrived from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Mine finally arrived in early October and was dated September 29, 1960. My call sign was KN8WHB. The "N" in the call sign indicated Novice class, so when I later passed the General exam, I became K8WHB.

My Novice Station - My first station included a Heathkit AR-3 receiver with a Heathkit QF-1 Q Multiplier and a borrowed Heathkit DX-20 transmitter. After a few weeks, I returned the DX-20 to my friend and neighbor K8QDM and bought a used (and abused) Heathkit AT-1 transmitter at the Grand Rapids Hamfest for $10. Below are pictures of the equipment in my first station. Only the picture of the bug was taken by me. Pictures of the AR-3, DX-20 and AT-1 are from other sources.

Heathkit AR-3 Receiver
My 1960 Skillman Bug
Heathkit DX-20 Transmitter
Heathkit AT-1 Transmitter
For CW I used a Skillman semi-automatic key (bug), which my parents gave me as a Christmas gift in 1960. It remains in my shack to this day and I could never part with it. It was my only key until I bought a Bencher BY-1 paddle in the mid 70s and began using iambic keying. I now use a TP4 paddle crafted by Larry Naumann, NĂ˜SA, who lives here in St. Louis. Click the "My Keys" tab at the top of the page to see pictures of all my keys.

My Call Sign Changes - The FCC changed my call sign from K8WHB to W9NXD when our family moved to Indiana in 1976. We moved back to Michigan in 1984 and in August I took the Advanced class exam. Then, in September, I took the Amateur Extra class exam. I believe my Extra exam may have been the last exam session administered by the Detroit FCC office before the Volunteer Examiner program began. I then elected to receive an Amateur Extra class call sign and was assigned NJ8X.

In 1995, I accepted a position in Virginia. Then, in 1996, the FCC began the new vanity call sign system, where you could select an available call sign based on your license class. I requested and was assigned K4EQ. After living seven years in the fourth call area, I accepted a new position in Iowa and decided I was done changing call signs.

My Ham Radio Experiences - 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 dozens 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. Click here to see the FEMA and ARRL C.E. classes I've completed.

My Background - On June 6, 1966, I enlisted in the Michigan Army National Guard as a trombonist attached to the 126th Army Band. My basic training was at Fort Benning, Georgia, followed by AIT as a member of the 291st Army Band.

I'm a graduate of Vennard College and have graduate degrees from Michigan State University and Trinity Theological Seminary. I also attended Grand Rapids Community College and did additional graduate study at Huntington University.

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 were in international missions (Honduras, Costa Rica, USA), and the rest were as a pastor. Additionally, I served as an adjunct professor in the Religion Department at Indiana Wesleyan University.

I've always enjoyed writing and through the years I've had several articles published in various Christian magazines. Most have been inspirational in nature, although some have been more professionally oriented. I've also been a Spanish-speaking presenter at conferences in Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica.

After my retirement in 2013, my lovely wife and I moved near family in the St. Louis area. Jan and I celebrated our 56th wedding anniversary in 2022. We have three children, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. We are truly blessed!

Go Green!