Amateur Radio And SKYWARN
Amateur Radio And SKYWARN
I earned my first Amateur(ham) Radio
license, a Novice Class, while attending DeVry Institute of Technology
in Chicago, Illinois, in late 1977. While still in
Chicago, I upgraded to a Technician Class license, in early
1978. My callsign at that time was WD9IKF. I
currently hold an Extra Class license, which I upgraded to in
1992, and I had my callsign changed to N9GHZ in 1987.
When I moved back up to Northcentral Wisconsin in
Spring, 1978, I became active with a local Amateur Radio
organization(club), the Black River Area Radio Association(known
at the time as the Taylor County Area Amateur Radio Club).
Over the subsequent years, at various times, I served
as both the secretary(since about 1982), and/or president(since
about 1982), of that organization.
During that time, I also joined(and belonged to) the
American Radio Relay League(ARRL), a nationwide organization of
Amateur Radio operators. I subsequently was appointed as
an ARRL Public Information Assistant(PIA) for the Wisconsin
Section in April, 1988, and an ARRL ARES Emergency
Coordinator(EC) for Taylor County in June, 1988, and for Clark
County in August, 1989.
During the proceeding years, I was involved in organizing and
overseeing Amateur Radio support communications for various
events, including the annual Abbotsford
Christmas Parade; the "Tombstone Pizza 10" fun run/5 &
10K footrace(Medford, WI); the Medford Kiwanis Club "J.A.
O'Leary Memorial Bike Race & Tour"(Medford, WI); the "P-Town
Tramp" snowshoe races"(near Perkinstown, WI, in Taylor County);
the "Buzzard Buster" mountain bike races(near Hatfield, WI, in
Clark County); the American Cancer Society's "Making Strides
Against Cancer" Walkathon(Medford, WI); the "Abby Flatlander"(a
foot race in Abbotsford, WI); and many other activities.
I was also very involved as a SKYWARN storm spotter for the
National Weather Service(NWS).
I've also been a volunteer instructor of Amateur Radio license
exam preparation classes and, over the years(going as far back
as appx. 1982), I have helped dozens of people, including many
young people, prepare for, and pass, the exams they needed to
earn their own Amateur Radio licenses. In later years,
when the FCC turned responsibility for administering those
examinations over to the Amateur Radio community themselves, I
became an ARRL-registered Volunteer Examiner(VE). As a VE,
I am authorized to assist with administering those exams.
I have been a VE since at least 1989.
One of the highlights, thus far, of my Amateur Radio "career",
was making 2-way radio contacts with Owen Garriott(W5LFL), an
astronaut(and ham radio operator) aboard the space shuttle
Columbia(STS-9), in late Fall of 1983, and with Alexsandr
Volkov(U4MIR), a cosmonaut(and a ham radio operator) aboard the
Soviet space station MIR on April 12, 1989. In addition,
in the Summer of 1985, I was able to receive, and record, audio
signals from Tony England(W0ORE), an astronaut(and a ham radio
operator) on board the space shuttle Challenger(STS-51F).
He was using a 2-meter band radio frequency to send slow-scan
Amateur TV signals back to earth. While I did not possess
the equipment myself to enable me to view the images
"real-time", I was able to forward the audio tape recording to a
friend and fellow Amateur Radio operator, Dean
Andrewjeski(AD9W), of Mosinee, WI, who, in turn, sent my audio
tape to an Amateur Radio operator from Iowa, who was able to
convert my audio recordings to video, and recorded a videotape
of the images, which I eventually received. What a thrill
to actually see Tony England live from the space shuttle, while
Another highlight, for me, was when one of my "former students"
Scott Young(N9FZS) was awarded the ARRL's Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial
annual award at an ARRL Central Division Convention in St.
Charles, Illinois, in the Fall of 1987. The Hiram
Percy Maxim Memorial Award is given annually to a licensed radio
amateur under the age of 21 and their accomplishments and
contributions to both the community of Amateur Radio and the
local community should be of the most exemplary nature.
Scott was in competition with other individuals from across the
Scott took an Amateur Radio license exam preparation
course that I taught, and passed his first exam for a
license, in approximately 1984, while he was still living in
Colby, WI, and a student at Colby public schools. After
graduating from Colby High School in 1987, he went on to attend,
and graduated from, the Milwaukee School of Engineering, where
he studied electrical engineering. Scott now lives in
southern California, where he was part owner of a company that
designed control panels for other companies.
To this day, I am still somewhat active in Amateur
Radio, although, after having suffered a stroke in June of 2010,
and my speech impediment(which causes me to stutter and stammer
quite a bit), which followed, I have slowed down my activities
drastically. For one thing, I no longer teach(instruct) Amateur
Radio license exam preparation classes.
Muzikman's Home Page