First Call: WN8SRE issued in 1974 Other Call(s): WB8SRE
David W. 'Dave' Fleming
QCWA # 38306
I've always had a love of radio, since my early youth, listening to the crackle of long distance medium wave stations on my trusty Montgomery Ward's Airline pocket radio. I took that radio everywhere! When I was about twelve, I was thumbing through one of my older sister's copy of the "Whole Earth Catalog" which was a catalog of building everything like earth sheltered homes, cook stoves, radios and yes, antennas! I sent away for a little book on radio antennas for shortwave listening, and on receiving the little book, learned about Windoms, dipoles, and loop antennas. My dad seeing a spark of enthusiasm in me with radio, helped me to fix up an old Bendix tube clock radio with me, and since it did not have a good dial glass, we fashioned one out of Plexiglas. The stations were not indicated, so I had to make marks on the panel with masking tape to tune to the stations I was used to listening to. One day, I got the bright idea..(or no so bright idea) to put up a 220' long wire hooked to a 120 foot tall white pine in the back yard, and all the way back to the eaves of the house with a big spring. I fed a single wire down to my trusty Bendix tube set, now on a shelf in my clothes closet, with desk, light and small book shelf.Yes, my closet was my first radio room! Room enough for a US Map, and our house had paperboard with wallpaper common to depression era homes like ours, so sticking thumb tacks into it for marking stations on the US Map was very easy for logging my new station discoveries! I thought to myself that I could probably hear a lot more stations on my Bendix radio if I were to open up the back and hook my new wire up to the loop inside.Well sort of.The oscillator squealed and the few AM stations I did receive were all replaced with stations speaking foreign languages! I now had a shortwave receiver, by accident. There was also the sounds of Morse code, and other strange voices that sounded a lot like Donald Duck.alas later to find out it was single side band!
Those were exciting times, and by the time my 14th birthday came, my folks knew that this radio hobby was something good for me. They surprised me that year with a beautiful used, Hallicrafters SX-110 receiver and matching speaker. I was so amazed! The radio picked up all kinds of stations, and had a terminal on the back for my random wire antenna. This got me sharing stories at school, of news reports with my fellow classmates, and teachers about world events. The early 70's had a lot of news, too. Space Shots to the moon, the Vietnam War, Apartheid in South Africa, and more.
At the end of summer, in 1973, my Uncle Dwight, WB8WAJ (SK) and Aunt Mary came to visit on their way to Alabama from Michigan Upper Peninsula for the winter. He had a Ham transceiver in his car, both for HF and VHF. I would sit out in the Van listening to all the stations I had been hearing on my Hallicrafters radio in the house, but the difference was he could talk back to them! I instantly caught the bug to learn how to become a radio amateur.
With some self-study, and another friend at school, Brad, (KR8P) we both became Novices in 1974. Soon after that we upgraded to General Class and I was now WB8SRE.
Since those early days, I have never been off the air. This is now my 46th year in Amateur Radio, and recently a young couple in the neighborhood stopped in to meet my wife and I. The fellow was most curious about the large beam antenna on my tower beside the house. I invited him to the deck for a visit, explaining all about the hobby, but due to the current COVID-19 crisis, safe distancing and masks were going to have to be the new normal for now. Since that initial meeting, this new friend has passed all of the on-line tests, and is busy learning a self-teaching Morse code training program on the internet.
Live in Montague Michigan,
Spent a short tour in the USAF as radio technician.
Graduate of Muskegon Community College in Electronics Engineering Technology
I've worked in the chemical, electronic, food, automotive, wind, solar and utility power occupations for the past 40 plus years. I have lived and worked in Monterrey, Mexico and Yantai, Peoples Republic of China installing thin films coating equipment for the automotive mirror industry, and the touch screen industry. All along the way, I have serviced and repaired many radios, amplifiers and various industrial equipment related to process control. I still dabble in programming, and designing test equipment for specialized test applications.
I served on a board with Muskegon Community College for mentoring young entrepreneurs in business development in the late 90's. I have owned my electronics consulting firm since 1996.
A point of interest to some is my famous sister Nancy, was Miss America in 1961. She was married to the late Jim Lange (Dating Game Show host) for many years until his death a few years ago. Jim impressed me a great deal with his long career in radio, and his gift of gab. What a guy, and so sadly missed.
With that, the hobby and the many great friends I have made over the years have made a positive impact on my entire life.
I'm looking forward to the QCWA and all it has to offer.
July 14, 2020