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About Pete, NM5PS 

I first became interested in ham radio as a tweenager in Santa Monica, CA. But Morse code gave me the willies. So, as a Boy Scout, I learned semafore instead. Big mistake.

Twelve years and three major relocations later, I joined a buddy at work (WB1BUO) in attending a Novice course given by the Wellesley Amateur Radio Society in Wellesley, MA. The dream finally came true. My Novice call: WB1BUP.

Eventually, I worked my way up to an Advanced-class license. Then kids came along; the last radios (a Heathkit HW-8 and Heathkit’s 2036A) went into the closet.

After a 22-year lock-up, the hardware mysteriously began to creep back out of the closet in 2005. Its reappearance triggered the slow, inexorable purchases that brought my VHF/UHF and HF equipment into the 21st century.

Those old Heathkits, sigh…they still have an honored, if temporarily disconnected, place on my shelf. But man, what changes! Move over, Rip Van Winkle. My HW-8 and my Yaesu FT-450AT had virtually the same physical dimensions. But the difference in capabilities? How do you engineers say it? Exponential advances?

Oh yes, I learned along the way that Morse code (a.k.a CW) rocks! When conditions are so bad that the sound coming through your headphones carries all of the intelligibility dry leaves rustling across the pavement on a windy fall day, nothing cuts through that hash like the sweet on-off tone of a CW signal.

That discovery led me to the world of QRP, which I now relish. The image above shows my current set-up: a fully tricked out FT-817ND, a four-band Elecraft K1 (with another two-band board not shown), a barely visible Elecraft KX1 sitting atop it, and my much-modified Heathkit HW-8. A couple of HTs and a Yaesu FT8800R round out the station.

My day job? Retired, sort of, after a great career at The Christian Science Monitor in Boston, most recently as the news organization’s science reporter. Joining the staff in 1976, I worked for The Monitor in a variety of positions, including about six years’ exile in newsroom management. Many thanks to once-editor David Cook, who at the end of that exile tested the waters to see if I’d like to remain in newsroom management, but had the good sense to let me return to science writing. Here’s to you, David!

My wife and I moved to Edgewood, NM, in September 2016. These days, I serve on the board of the Straight Key Century Club and maintain a global QRP-only event calendar for my friends back at the QRP Club of New England. I also serve on the board of the Duke City Hamfest, held in Albuquerque, NM, for three days each August, and as public-information coordinator for the American Radio Relay League's New Mexico Section.

Which only goes to show that there's no such thing as retirement. The only thing that changes is the mix of stuff we do.  ;-)

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