Spring 2007 Issue

Recovery of EOSS launch in Colorado. Note the long string of balloon SATs. (Photo courtesy of KØLOB)

Through the Back Door
A Teacher’s Journey
into Amateur Radio

Each of us has a story of how we became an amateur radio operator. Here KE7KVT tells his story, as well as how he is inspiring others to
become hams and even to make career choices related to our hobby, all by way of his teaching profession.

By Kevin Carr, KE7KVT


I just received my first ham radio license, Technician Class, a few months ago at age 42. What took me so long?
I have been fascinated by radio since I was a school-age kid, spending nights hiding under the covers with a clock radio and ear plug scanning up and down the AM band, where, mysteriously, stations began appearing from all over the U.S. and Mexico as it got dark each night. Like Einstein and his compass,1 I was hooked.

I then moved from under the covers to my grandfather’s kitchen countertop Realistic set, with which I could hear strange languages and even stranger sounds on the bands labeled “SW1” and “SW2.” WWV particularly fascinated me as I begin to decode the regular pattern of clicks and tones and the occasional solar-storm report. In high school I got a Panasonic radio with crystal marker tuning. With the solar maximum of the late 1970s to early 1980s, a hundred feet or so of wire strung outside through Colorado ponderosa pine enabled me to log more than 50 countries, all the while losing many hours of sleep.

My high school band teacher supplied me with a code key and oscillator with which to practice Morse code. Even so, my encounter with radio stopped short of a ham license. That said, there is no doubt that the hours spent staring at program schedules, reading DX magazines, studying diagrams of propagation paths, and listening to stations fade in and out with the daily solar cycles helped form the foundation for my current vocation as a physics teacher and science educator.

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