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Chris Kepus
Extra Class
W7JPG Ham Since 1955
United States

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My Ham Radio Interests
Boat Anchors

75A4 Valiant TS-850S
R-390A 51J4 KWS-1
GPR-90 Marauder Warrior

Other Interests
55-56-57 Chevys

Sacramento Classic Chevy Club
El Dorado County Amateur Radio Club


From W7JPG

11/14/2013 9:26:11 PM (0 comments) Add a commentAdd Comment

First licensed in March of 1955 in Mt.Clemens, Michigan as WN8VVX. After having a ball on 40 CW using a W3DZZ trap dipole while studying for the General exam, finally took a bus to the FCC office in Detroit in August, 1955 and flunked the 13 WPM code test (the Detroit FCC testing room was *not* comforting to a nervous 13 year old). Went back two months later after copying ARRL 20 WPM solid. Passed with flying colors!! WOW. Signing as W8VVX on the air for the first time was an unforgettable event.

During this time, I worked hard at my paper carrier business. I had a rural route that covered about a mile and a half (one way) along a major two lane highway. Looking back at my experience , I was lucky not to have been killed…and nearly was a couple of times…….but just like the saying, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…” kept me from delivering the Detroit News every day for four years…..I built my route up and earned enough money to allow for a modest ham radio budget. After earning my General ticket, I bought and built a DX-100 to go with my HQ-129X. (a great receiver). I loved to go into Detroit to poke around and dream as I walked through Duffy’s and Reno Radio, the two ham stores that were close to bus stops. One memorable summer day in 1956, I was in Reno Radio, enjoying the sights and smells when I looked on one of their display cabinets and saw the most amazing radio I had ever seen in person. There, standing tall and beautiful, was a HRO-50R1 in the National rack cabinet that housed all the coils and a speaker. It looked brand new. I’ll never forget opening the doors on that cabinet. The cubbies and doors were lined with green felt. Every cubby was occupied by a coil set. It looked and smelled sooo good. I had to have it. I talked with the owners about buying it. I think they were a bit skeptical being that I was 13 but I soon convinced them I was not only serious about buying it, I had the money. We made a deal and they helped me carry the radio to a waiting taxi who took me and the radio to the bus stop that would take me home to Mount Clemens. Lots of people, who thought I was crazy, helped me that day. The trip getting that monster home from Detroit is a story all to itself. ?
Later that summer, I bought some aluminum tubing and built a three element 10 meter beam that I mounted on my house, with my Dad’s approval and assistance, at 25 feet high. Ten meters was my favorite band on AM or CW. It was no problem to work anywhere in the world. Enjoyed an unforgettable fantastic ham experience during SS Cycle 19 (record maximum of 201.3 (Mar 1958). What a great time! :-)
While I enjoyed many experiences while plying the high bands, the lasting friendships built with the 160 meter 1806 AM gang were priceless. I frequently checked into the daily round tables from my fixed location but most of the 1806 bunch were mobile using modified broadcast receivers and homebrew transmitters. They all were about as friendly as anyone could be to a new (and much younger) ham. Attending the South Eastern Michigan Amateur Radio Association (SEMARA) meetings was a real treat. Being the kid among the “good ole boys’ was a lot of fun.

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