K3WWP's Ham Radio Activities
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Report by Chris, KB9KTC

I started learning CW back in the 4th grade when I was about 10 years old. I wanted to get on the radio so I could talk with my uncle and dad on SSB. My dedication to learning the code lasted all of a week. It wasn't until the last month of 7th grade that I regained my interest because my dad happened to run into my uncle (who lived in TX at the time) on the air. I thought that was pretty cool, so I picked up my first study guide. June rolled around and after about 2 weeks of practicing CW and a month of studying, I went to take my first test. My dad told me don't worry about the code, because you can miss that and still get your ticket. I shocked him when I walked out with my CSCE for a tech plus. I told him I knew I could get my ticket the real way.

Another month flew by while I was studying for my general class upgrade. I went the first Saturday of July and took the written test which I found to be quiet easy, however the code killed me. I left telling my newly found VE friends that I'd be back next month.

Sure enough the first Saturday of August arrived and I took my advanced written, which I passed. I now was a tech +++ (so I called myself) and the moment of truth arrived -- the 13 wpm code test. I sweated it out for what seemed to be an eternity. I wasn't thinking just writing, thinking I was not getting anything. After the final dot was sent I looked back at my copy, and the VE commented, "It looks like you have it all." I was shocked! Now I was an advanced and the race was on between my dad and I to see who would make extra first.

We both took our extra tests in September passing the written and failing the code. We were forced to come back next month and pass the CW portion of the test which we both did. Now there were 3 extras in the family of hams: my dad - WB9LAV, my uncle - W9YO and myself.

It wasn't until Christmas vacation that year that I made my first CW QSO. On 12/28/95 I worked WA2LUF on 40 mtrs. I was so nervous that I could hardly key. After a nice QSO I decided it wasn't so bad. I decided to make another a few days later. I found it rather ironic that I liked CW better than voice since I only got into the hobby to use voice. It has been about 10 months since I last made a SSB QSO, and that was during the 10-10 contest. I was now hooked on CW; if I go more than a day without a QSO I feel like I am missing something. I guess the countless hours spent with the CW ringing in my ears as preparation for my tests have left a permanent scar on my brain. To me, CW is a langauge, and like any language you have to use it to improve your skills. I enjoy the challenge of increasing my code speed which is currently about 50 WPM. I don't think there are many things that can beat the feeling of working a new country with flea power on a radio you put together. CW makes it all possible. If it wasn't for my dad getting into the hobby, who knows where I would be today.

Christopher M. Gisseler
WAS CW / 10x-68182 / Fists 6290

Report written in 2000 when Chris was 18.

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