First - A Note to the Beauty and Passion of Amateur Radio

Drawn by the desire to venture beyond the urban neighborhood I grew up in as a boy, I was fascinated by the ability of radio to span the oceans without any physical connection whatsoever to the receiver I listened to. Long puzzled by the mystery, it wasn't until I happened upon an old torn Radio Amateurs Handbook, at a yard sale years later that my fascination found wings.

As I read, during breaks while driving taxicab in Denver, Colorado, my interest grew. The problem was, I didn't know any hams and wasn't entirely sure how to find one. Eventually, I contacted the FCC Field Office, requesting information on the Novice exam. In the process, they referred me to one of the greatest hams I have ever known, the late Howard Eldridge, W0HE (then K0DCW).

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Howard was one of the most naturally friendly men I have ever met. His easygoing nature and casual laugh, mixed with a massive knowledge of radio, left me in utter awe. From the very beginning, he made me feel welcome, and moreover, honored to study under his tutelage.

As a taxi driver, in those days, money to meet everyday expenses, much less purchase radio equipment, was hard to come by. Nevertheless, Howard, at his own expense, saw that I had what I needed to get started on the air.

When I got my Advanced ticket, he presented me with an old crusty looking power tetrode, a plate transformer and choke, and told me to apply what he had taught me. That was the first of many amplifiers I built - each time remembering Howard, bound to his wheel chair, with only limited use of his hands and arms, showing me how to calculate the value of various components that the amplifier would require.


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Bob Hopper - WB0NNI

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Breif History

Bbriefly, while driving Taxicab and studying ham radio I was able to obtain my Novice license in 1974, which at the time was limited to CW only on the HF bands. Within the next year, I sat for the General Exam at the FCC at their field office in Denver and was able to get through the Advanced exam - passed the Extra code element (20 WPM) but failed the Extra written exam.

A year later I sat for the First-Class Radio Telephone exam and used that to move from taxi driving to working as a radio technician and later two-way radio sales. In 1984 I went back to school, obtained my bachelor's degree and then on to law school. After law school I worked in Labor Law with the State of South Dakota.

After raising 6 children, which included 3 licensed hams, I am now retired and enjoying the hobby I have enjoyed for so many years.

Not much into bragging about accomplishments during my tenure as a radio amateur, but will mention only that I have done everything from teach novice and tech classes to serving as net control, hand crafted numerous linear amplifiers and hosted a website on the subject in 1999, chased countless DX and have probably made close to 10,000 contacts over close to five decades I've been on the air

What has always fascinated me about ham radio is our ability to apply our knowledge and ingenuity to communicate directly with other hams scattered throughout the world, without any intervening equipment or assistance.

Aside from my on-air activities, I've always had a great interest in elmering those new to radio, particularly in getting new hams started on HF. While I find the frequencies above 6 meters useful, in this age of cell phones and highspeed internet, I find their use, even in the public service sector, to be duplicative and of little substantive value, aside from the educational aspect. This is not to say that I harbor any dislike for the VHF, UHF and Microwave spectrums - It's simply that I prefer to be in control of all the elements on my side of the radio contact. And, I am also acutely aware that when faced with a total disaster HF may be the only means of long range communication left.

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A Dedication

I thank God for blessing mankind with the geophysical tools and mental capability to advance our ability to communicate with one another over great distances; that in the realm of amateur radio we can discover the good that resides in every indivisual and, moreover, when called to do so we may use our knowledge and skill in a way that will be pleasing to Him.

Pass It On

A last thought for you to consider - amateur radio is alive and well because hams have taken it upon themselves of offer to teach and assist those captured by the great mystery that radio communication holds. Accordingly, you are encouraged to do the same - keeping in mind the lessons you have learned in the process and moreover the discoveries that await you going forward.

Best 73 - Bob Hopper WB0NNI