I grew up in the small town of St. Francisville, Illinois. When I was in the 6th grade, we moved 30 minutes north to the town of Robinson, Illinois. Joe Taggart (N9XEM) introduced me to amateur radio when we made our annual trip to Louisville, Kentucky for the National Farm Machinery Show. He had placed two mag mounts on the van we took and gave me one of the radios to scan and listen to the repeaters during the trip. When we returned back home, I began studying for my Technician license.
There were a lot of great operators in the club I belonged to. The club’s biggest activity of the year was Field Day which turned out to be great timing for me because I was licensed just before the big event and was invited to join the event. It was there where I was introduced to the HF bands and the interest in contesting began. I was very lucky a great operator Steve Sage (NO9N) (SK) took me under his wing and showed me how to operate and handle the pile up. As you can imagine, I had a hard time convincing my parents to let me stay over night because I did not want to get out of the operator or logger chair. But, somehow, I convinced them and I stayed over night.
I was very lucky to have a station during my early years that included a 50′ tower with a Cushcraft A6270-13S and Cushcraft 13 element 2-meter beam. I had a lot of fun on 2m and 6m SSB during that time! The radio was an IC-746 which I still have and use today!
Technician – June 12, 1998 as KB9SZN (age 12)
W9TWJ – August 2, 1999
Technician Plus – August 9, 1999
General – October 10, 1999
Extra – July 12, 2007
Activities include: contesting, Field Day, satellites, local nets, rag chewing, DMR, and volunteering as a VE.
From 2002 until 2017, I served as the Webmaster for the Old Post Amateur Radio Society (W9EOC). For the 2018 through 2020 term, I served as President of the Clear Lake Amateur Radio Club (K5HOU).
I am an ARRL Life Member, AMSAT Life Member (#2519), member of the Johnson Space Center Amateur Radio Club (W5RRR), and Clear Lake Amateur Radio Club (K5HOU).
I currently serve as Vice President of the Clear Lake Amateur Radio Club and QSL Manager/Webmaster for the Johnson Space Center Amateur Radio Club.
I graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a BS in Engineering and from Southern Illinois University with a BS Electrical Engineering. I am a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) in the State of Texas. I currently live in the Houston area and work in the oil/gas industry as a mechanical supervisor at ExxonMobil’s Baytown site.