Every story has it's beginning...
From a very early age I was encouraged by my father, and both of my grandfathers, to take things apart and figure what made them work. My maternal grandfather was an engineer for General Electric in their media division, my paternal grandfather was a master electrical engineer at one of the largest silk manufacturing facilities on the east coast, and my father was a radio operator in the army during the Korean War. With their influence I was working with electricity before I had even started school. Building large cranes with erector sets that had DC powered electro magnets to pick up metal objects, building a combination tone and light code key to learn the morse code, and building short wave radio receivers were the things that kept my early mind racing with excitement.
When I was 4 years old I watched my dad rebuilding the kitchen of our home which included a lot of new electrical wiring, I followed him around for days handing him tools and playing with anything that wasn't nailed down or taken away from me. I was fascinated by his AC outlet tester which was a simple 120 Volt light with two lengths of wire that could be poked into any outlet or AC box to probe for current. A few days into the project my family was gathered around the TV in the living room when I wandered into the kitchen on my own, I picked up a piece of ground wire that was laying on the floor, bent it into a U shape, and jammed it into one of the AC wall outlets.
Thankfully there was a stack of paint cans on the floor near the outlet so that I could not stand directly in front of it... My father said the flash of light in the living room look like lightning and the next thing I knew they had me at the hospital. I ended up with second and third degree electrical burns on two fingers and a large part of my hand. The doctors had to peel off sections of burned skin and I was in bandages for several weeks.
That experience behind me, now with a very healthy respect for the power of electricity, I started out on my discovery of the "Radio Frequency" spectrum.
Sometime in the early 1970's maybe 72 or 73 I built my first radio receiver and started to string up random wires all over the back yard. It did not take long to discover the local SSB activity and as it would turn out someone right on my block was an active amateur radio operator. After learning all about single side band and why I was hearing those sound like the teacher on Charlie Brown cartoons... (Waaa Waaa Waaa) I was hooked.
I was on the air by the age of eight and for Christmas in 1974 my dad got me my first 5 watt, three channel, crystal transmitter! By my tenth birthday I had already worked contacts in 48 of the fifty states and was one of several local control operators that rotated duty for an afternoon traffic net.
Over the years I have worked most of the countries in the world dozens of times, talked to astronauts in outer space on several different missions, sent digital packet message thru the Mir space station, and even played with EME for a short time. I enjoy CW and Voice on HF, mobile operations from remote hilltops, marine operation from floating radio locations off the coast of RI, and would expect that amateur radio will be a part of my life until they pry the microphone out of my cold dead hand.
I have participated in the Navy MARS program, working with the Red Cross providing communication during fires and natural disasters, worked with FEMA, ARES, CERT, the Civial Air Patrol, the local police department, and the ARRL providing public service in one form or another. From providing communication at a special event like the Gadspee Day Parade or First Night, I was always willing to drag a big pile of radio gear to wherever it was needed and get "Radio Active"
After moving to Rhode Island in 1984 I started building voice repeaters and then became very involved with digital communications. Over the years I have help to build and install emergency communications networks for the Red Cross, provided amateur radio training at dozens of organized classes helping to instruct and get hundreds of new amateur radio operators on the air.
I was the news letter editor for OSARG one of New England's largest amateur radio groups for seven years, I also severed on the OSARG board of directors for five years, and severed as the OSARG Vice President for two terms. I have also been serving on the NETCPA board of directors as one of the Rhode Island directors for many years and I have represented the amateur radio community at hundreds of events up and down the east coast for the last 20 years. I am currently serving as the President of NBARC a ARRL League Affiliated club with a general interest and welfare in Amateur Radio, and preserving the traditions and customs of the sea.
Here in Rhode Island I have built nine voice repeaters on 144, 220, 440, and 900 MHz, and I am a control operator for a few dozen other repeaters in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, and I have also build dozens of digital PBBS and TCP/IP digi-peaters creating one of the largest packet radio networks in New England. KA1RCI Packet Network
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