First Call: KA1JOD issued in 1982
David E. Blubaugh
QCWA # 38027
ND1J - QTH Senoia GA & frequently, Cartoogecheye (Franklin) NC
As a young kid in Denver, early 1950's, I watched my dad, WØSGR, making contacts as the tubes glowed in his old military surplus rigs. A sight to see! He encouraged me over the years to get my license but I just couldn't get the code down.
Fast-forward 30 years to 1982 - I got off U.S. Air Force active duty, lived in New Hampshire, and had some time on my hands. Dad was still after me to get my ham license and I finally set my mind to it. He became my Elmer #1.
ARRL provided a list of Novice examiners and KA1WR lived in the same town so I contacted him. It turned out we both worked for the same company and had lots in common, even though we hadn't known each other. I passed the novice and got my first callsign, KA1JOD. KA1WR became my Elmer #2.
Dad lent me a HW-8 he had built years before and also an old Galaxy V (complete with glowing tubes). My first QSOs were QRP on that Hot Water 8. Back in Denver, WØSGR was patient with my code and we had many CW QSOs on 15 meters in the Novice Band. Dad gave me lots of long distance advice and KA1WR became a very good friend, providing invaluable local help.
A rather odd thing happened about that time. My dislike for "code" changed rather quickly to my loving "CW"! So it didn't take me long to pursue 13-wpm and a bit later, 20-wpm for the dreaded and intimidating FCC field office exams of that era. In 1983, I purchased my first rig, a new $$ Kenwood TS-430s. Those were exciting days on the air. I also got very interested in QRP-P. When I moved to Georgia in 1985, I decided to retain my one-land callsign, despite the "on-the-air" confusion it would cause. Hey, it has a terrific CW rhythm!
Ham radio was a passion for a number of years but I fell out of the hobby in the early 90's. Dad, WØSGR - Elmer #1, became a Silent Key in 2014. However, two of my sons became hams and have since encouraged me to get back into the hobby. My code has slowly come back and my CW is still a bit rough but I'm certainly enjoying ham radio again. And, I'm still using the very same old HW-8 and TS-430 rigs! My wife is also a ham - KQ4MEG.
Finally, I am aways excited now when I QSO with WØSGR - now one of my sons!
David - ND1J
May 27, 2019