I've had a lifelong interest in amateur radio—it runs in my family—but it wasn't until November 1997 when I was in the Army and stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, that I decided to study to get my license. After earning the system-assigned callsign KD5COL, I really didn't do too much with my license until June 2008 when I upgraded to General class. In June 2019, I upgraded my license to Extra class. On July 10, 2020, I was assigned KS4TD, a vanity call I'd applied for.
I chase DX and sometimes I am DX depending on my mood. I am a paper chaser especially with special event stations. A good ragchew is always enjoyable. I like to work stations at parks, lighthouses, and other special areas though I am not a member of any of those organizations. Providing public communications, such as races and parades, is one of my favorite aspects of amateur radio.
I am a trained SKYWARN weather spotter and and am the Washington County Coordinator for District 7 SKYWARN. Northeast Tennessee District 7 SKYWARN serves Carter, Greene, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties. We serve the National Weather Service office in Morristown, Tennessee (MRX).
I'm an ARRL-certified volunteer examiner (VE). I enjoy teaching non-hams about amateur radio; it's also called being an "Elmer". Several of my friends have become amateur radio operators because of me and I'm happy to have helped them find a new and enjoyable hobby.
I like to pack up my portable station and head out into the Appalachian Mountains to operate when I get a chance. Out here, there's plenty of places to operate and be in peace.
Besides ham radio, I enjoy computer programming, running my bulletin board system (BBS), cooking, baking, reading, hiking, "shadetree" mechanics, and listening to music.
One of the most interesting things that has happened to me with amateur radio was "accidentally" winning my section and division in the 2016 ARRL DX SSB contest. I had entered the contest half-heartedly and was only really just trying to see what I could hear. After a short while, I got into the contest more than I thought I would. After about ninety minutes of chasing DX for the contest, 20 meters started to change and I was losing signals. I finally gave up and had considered just calling it a day and going back in the house. I'm not sure why but I decided to submit my results to ARRL HQ just for fun. I soon forgot all about the contest.
Six months later, I went to check my post office box and there was a big envelope from the ARRL waiting for me. I opened it and much to my surprise, there was an award certificate (click on the picture to see the full-size award) in the envelope as I had not only won first place in my section which is the state of Tennessee but I'd also earned first place in my entire ARRL division which are the states of Arkansas, Lousiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee! The contest team had evidently fallen behind in processing the data from the contest. So a little persistence paid off with my first and so far only major radiosport award. Since then, I've wanted to do more contesting but have been unable to. I am hoping that will change soon.