I have been interested in radio since my teen age years. To improve reception for a family radio, I built an outdoor antenna from bailing wire and enjoyed the increased reception. During college, at night I studied while listening to distant AM stations. It was not until after being commissioned in the U.S. Army Signal Corps (Dec 1975) , that my interest in radio communications became relevant to becoming a ham radio operator. One of my senior NCOs was a ham, and he would listen to the ham bands on the HF radios. I tried to learn Morse code by looking at a cheat sheet and memorizing it, which is definitely not a good or efficient way to learn a new language. It was easier to learn conversational German than the code, because I had to speak German which increased my familiarity and knowledge.
After returning to the Signal School for the Officers Advanced Course, I started visiting Radio Shack frequently and met up with some other hams. In no time, I received my Novice call [KA4IUP] on May 11, 1979, and upgraded to Technician within a year after being assigned to Fort Benning, GA. Two of my tactical communications branch instructors were ham radio operators, and they encouraged me to study and sit for my technician upgrade at the FCC office in Atlanta, GA.
While stationed in Germany (1983 – 85), I operated as DA2MN on a German reciprocal license. I also helped with the Ansbach Military Community MARS station, which was located at Barton Barracks. It was soon after returning to the U.S. that I upgraded through General to Advanced class, and finally to the Amateur Extra Class. Since we raise Great Pyrenees dogs, I was able to get all three 1×3 vanity call signs ending in PYR. My wife is N4PYR (Amateur Extra) and my daughter is W4PYR (Technician).
Current Amateur Radio Activities/Projects
- Raspberry Pi Geochron
- Hamshack Hotline
- 6 Meter Repeater in La Crosse, VA
- ADS-B and Flight Aware Monitoring Hub
- Icom IC-7100 with LDG IT-100 Automatic Tuner
- Carolina Windom 80, OCFD & Cushcraft R-7 Antennas
- FT-857D portable station that includes LDG YT-100 Automatic Tuner, SignaLink USB soundcard modem and other accessories
- Yaesu FT-8900 and Kenwood TM-701A mobile radios
- Tytera MD-380
- OpenSpot RFShark
- Various Kenwood, Woxuan and Baofeng handheld radios