My friends and I got into radio with a couple of Heathkit 100mw. walkie-talkies. We enjoyed experimenting with them by climbing up in tall trees to see how this affected communications. Many times we built antennas. One day I noticed an unusual antenna on my neighbors roof. It was an inverted-v. So I went to see this neighbor and he invited me in to see his shack. He fired up his rig and he told me about morse code. He sent cq several times with out sucess. Then he heard something...he had an intense look on his face...then he announced" I think this signal is coming over the pole and he tried to answer the station, but he was not able to complete the qso. Even though a qso never materialized that night, it was a memory that will last a lifetime for myself. From that moment on, I made it my personal vision and goal to become a ham radio operator.
My favorite aspect of ham radio is propagation. My favorite contact occurred at 4:00 am in 1988. I was relaxing a few moments after concluding a qso with a Florida station. I thought someone was calling me...deep down in the noise and static there was a faint cw signal. Turns out it was a 14 year old ham named Matt from California. Matt was operating maritime mobile aboard a ship traveling thru the Panama Canal. Matt was operating a rig that cost about $49.95 (Ten-Tec p.m. series qrp rig) and put out a mighty one watt power output to a vertical antenna on the ships smoke stack. This rig was powered by several flashlight batteries.
That qso was 20 years ago and will always be remembered here at the shack of WD4BRP. That qso helped me realize that a person with a modest budget could have a ton of fun on amateur radio.
73 es gud dx om de WD4BRP