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History of WTM

      Recently the Grand Mesa Contesters Club (GMC) which I am a
      member of asked that I write an article on myself for the GMC
      newsletter.  Here is that article along with the (very old) clipping
      from Popular Electronics magazine that ran with the article.  I
     hope you find it of interest and, if you've been a ham for more than
     a few years, brings back memories of your start in this great hobby.

KN0BHM.jpg (33377 bytes)

Gary Yantis, WTM

I’ve enjoyed contesting and DXing (preferably both at the same time) almost since the beginning when I was first licensed as KNBHM in May, 1960.  As a novice, I spent a few months on the 80 meter CW traffic nets then discovered DXing late one night when I worked a WV2 (a WA2 novice call in those days) after two hours of trying.  After all these years still my most exciting DX contact!  A few months later with a new transmitter, a VFO and a Gotham V80 vertical I was ready for big DX on 15 meters!  I think it took about two years to reach DXCC and those early QSLs are still my favorite ones.

In those days, AM was still the predominate phone mode.  Only the wealthiest hams could afford SSB equipment.   "Wealthiest" to me was any ham that financed his hobby on more than the $2 a week allowance I received as a seventh grade student.  It took either SSB or high power AM to work DX on phone.  Plus most DX stations were only on CW anyway since few could afford anything other than homebrew or military surplus equipment.   So I spent most of my time on CW.  And that’s never changed to this day.   There have been years I’ve probably not plugged in a microphone.  Nothing against phone – I’ve just always preferred CW.  However, of late I’ve discovered how much fun an SSB contest can be with a voice keyer!  Just push buttons and save your voice!

During the 60’s when school didn’t interrupt the important business of hamming I entered every contest.   Sweepstakes, DX tests, state QSO parties – I was in them all and they were all fun.  After that I somehow missed about twenty years of hamming.  Marriage, making a living, raising kids – all the usual stuff.  There were a few years I’d make only one or two contacts.  Clearly not a good situation! I can tell you all hams from Kansas dream of a ham station on a mountaintop somewhere.  Do hams born in Colorado all dream of a ham station in the middle of a flat-as-a-board wheat field?   I’ve spent time in the Vail area every year since my first visit in 1968.   I’ve been able to travel all over the world in my business and the mountains of Colorado are the best of any area on earth as far as I’m concerned.  By 1993 I was ready for my mountaintop ham station.  Easier said than done!  But, with some luck, I found a great spot on Bellyache Ridge 20 miles west of Vail.  It’s definitely not Kansas! At 8,700 feet I have line-of-sight visibility of 30 to 40 miles in most directions.

In the five years since I got my station up and running, I’ve managed to enter most of the contests and have caught almost all of the DXpeditions.  Being off the air so much for all those years my DXCC total is still only 328 (354 including deleted countries).   The six I still need are KP1, KP5, VU4, BS7, 7O, and FT/X.   The last two I have cards from but the operations (i.e. 7O1YGF) couldn't come up with enough "proof of valid license" to satisfy the ARRL.  

Recently, for the IARU contest, I tried a two radio single op setup for the first time. Worked out much better than expected.  Maybe that will be an article in a future issue of the newsletter.   Anytime you're in the Vail area,  give me a call on 146.61 (tone 107.2).  I’m four miles south of the Wolcott exit and would enjoy showing you my station and talking DX and contesting!

Update September, 2003:  Doris is now W0DMY and Christine is K0BHM!

Gary, WTM

Gary Yantis
Age 56
Married with two children – wife Doris (W0DMY), son Steven, 26 and daughter Christine (K0BHM!), 22.
Business owner – Midtec Associates, Inc.  a manufacturers' representative of industrial electronics.  
Midteclink.gif (2678 bytes) click to go to the Midtec web site