Amateur Radio Station K9DUR
Continuously Licensed Since 1960
I was born in Indianapolis, IN, on April 14, 1945. My family moved to Collingswood, NJ in June of 1946 where we lived until I completed elementary school.
During this time my interest in radio was sparked when my father gave me an AM radio with a short-wave band covering 7 to 12 MHz. I soon became an avid short-wave listener and spent many enjoyable hours listening to HCJB, the BBC, the Voice of America, and Radio Moscow, among others.
In the fall of 1957 we moved to Delaware Township, NJ (now known as Cherry Hill, NJ).
In the summer of 1959, while visiting my brother Bob, K9CAT, in Gaston, IN, I was introduced to 6-meter AM and the wonders of Sporadic-E skip. Ernest B. (Bart) Mayo, K2KTS, was the head of the Industrial Arts Department at Delaware Township HS, where I was a freshman. Mr. Mayo taught a Novice class during his metal-working shop, and, since I had a study hall that period, I talked the school into assigning me to Mr. Mayo for study hall. After a few weeks of study, I passed my Novice exam and was issued the call WV2MBR about a week before my 15th birthday in April, 1960.
My father & I started scouring the flea markets and we found an old 3-5 MHz ARC-5 for $5.00. Dad had obtained an RCA AR-88 general coverage receiver (500 kHz to 30 MHz), so it was time to home-brew an 80-meter folded dipole antenna and a power supply for the ARC-5. The power supply used a 5U4 rectifier tube.
In addition to the Delaware Township HS Radio Club (W2MBC), I was also a member of the South Jersey Radio Association (K2AA).
In January, 1961, when I was a sophomore in high school, my father was transferred back to Indianapolis. I stayed behind for 2 weeks with my sister to complete the school semester. The day before flying to Indiana to join his family, I took my Technician exam. Then began the long wait to see if he had passed.
Finally, towards the end of February, there was a license in the mail. The callsign was KN9DUR -- the class was Novice -- I was heartbroken -- I had failed the Technician test. Wait! The next day another license came in the mail: K9DUR, Technician! I had passed after all.
The next item on the agenda was a trip downtown to Graham Electronics to look for a 6-meter AM transceiver. I found a used Heathkit Sixer that was within my budget, and proceeded to get on the air with my new privileges.
Over the next 2-1/2 years, I made several modifications to the Sixer: adding an 8 MHz oscillator stage, an external VFO, and increasing the plate power input to 8 Watts. Before graduating from high school in 1963, I had worked 19 states on 6-meter AM, including Illinois & Ohio, using the Sixer, the AR-88 receiver with an International Crystal converter, and a 5-element Hy-Gain beam at 30 feet.
While in high school, I was a member of the Indianapolis Radio Club (W9JP) and assisted with the amateur radio classes held by the IRC at the Indiana School for the Blind.
From 1962 through 1967, I also held a 2nd station license, call sign W9EZJ, located at our family's vacation home on Cordry Lake in southern Indiana.
The years from 1963 through 1969 were filled with earning a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in 1968 and with starting a family. Amateur radio took a second seat, but I was never completely off the air, operating from the Rose Polytechnic Institute club station (W9NAA) and from the Purdue University club station (W9YB). Most of my personal operation was on 6-meter FM mobile using an old GE twin-coffin commercial transceiver converted to 52.525 MHz.
In April, 1969, I was transferred to New York City. Moving my young family to northern New Jersey, I applied for WA2MBR which was the non-Novice version of my original callsign. In the fall of 1970, I was transferred back to Indianapolis and was re-issued K9DUR, which I have held ever since.
While in Indianapolis, I became primarily interested in public-service and emergency communications. At various times I served as Marion County EC and RACES Radio Officer. In addition, I was privileged to be a member of a 3-person delegation who made the first contact with the Meteorologist-In-Charge of the Indianapolis office of the National Weather Service. This meeting resulted in the permission to have an Amateur Radio presence in the NWS office during severe weather situations, a presence which continues to this day.
In January 1974, I traveled to Chicago (in an ice storm) to take the Advanced Class exam at the FCC Field Office. Passing the code by the skin of my teeth, I returned home to wait for the Advanced ticket to come in the mail so I could start using my new privileges. I purchased a used Heathkit SB-101 and home-brewed an 80m/40m trap dipole. Even with the new equipment and privileges, VHF and emergency communications remained my primary interests in the hobby.
After a couple of job changes and moves to Vincennes, IN (1976-1989), Niles, MI (1989-1992), and briefly to Elkhart, IN (1992), I landed in West Terre Haute, IN, where I married Natalie Carty, N9QKH, on New Year's Eve, 1992.
My older brother, Bob, had become a silent key a few years before, so when the vanity call system was opened to relatives of deceased amateurs, Natalie applied for and was issued Bob's old call, K9CAT. I didn't want that callsign to get out of the family.
Natalie and I became heavily involved with the local SkyWarn and ARES groups and also with the Wabash Valley Amateur Radio Association (W9UUU). I served as president of the WVARA for 2 years and as the club trustee for 3 years. Natalie served as club secretary for 3 years.
In February 2000, I decided to take the Amateur Extra written exam before the new regulations went into effect on April 15, 2000. Although I never had been a proficient CW operator, I tried the 20 wpm exam, and, by some strange miracle, passed.
A co-worker, Ray Luth, WA9WJJ, had been telling stories of working DX on 10-meter mobile using a Radio Shack HTX-10. When WA9WJJ got a new 10-meter radio, I bought the HTX-10 from WA9WJJ and proceeded to get on 10-meter mobile. In 40 years of being an amateur radio operator, this was my first experience with 10 meters or with HF mobile of any kind. This was as much fun as 6-meter AM was when I was in high school! In January 2001, I upgraded the mobile station to a Yaesu FT-100, which gave me access to the other HF bands.
Since first starting 10-meter SSB mobile operations on June 14, 2000, I have made over 480 contacts on 10m mobile. My 1st ever application for DXCC consisted entirely of 10-meter mobile SSB contacts. I now have 113 DXCC entities confirmed on 10-meter mobile.
On March 22, 2003, Natalie & I were jointly awarded the Brentlinger Award by the Wabash Valley Amateur Radio Association. This award is given annually to the amateur or amateurs from the Wabash Valley who contribute the most to the advancement of amateur radio and for public service.
On July 24, 2003, Natalie, K9CAT, became a silent key after a 4-year battle with colon cancer.
On November 15, 2003, Natalie & I were jointly presented the 2003 Indiana Outstanding Amateur-of-the-Year Award by the Indiana Radio Club Council.
On January 20, 2004, I was appointed an Assistant Central Division Director by the ARRL Central Division Director, Dick Eisley, W9GIG.
In October 2005, I met Pam Williams, a retired registered nurse. Pam had worked in the Pulmonary Intensive Care Unit at the VA Hospital in Danville, IL, until her retirement in 1998.
On May 6, 2006, Pam passed her Technician Class exam & was issued the call sign KC9JMA. I immediately pronounced her to be "Just My Angel". She later changed her call to K9JMA under the vanity system.
On July 2, 2006, Pam & I were married in Las Vegas, NV.
On September 16, 2006, Pam & I, along with Steve (NT9T) & Debbie (KC9AOR), left for a week of fun in the sun & on the radio in Belize.
On May 31, 2007, I retired & am now able to spend more time on the air (dream on....).
73, Ray Andrews, K9DUR
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