I became a licensed amateur radio operator in 1992 at the age of 17.  I took the test in late April of my junior year of high school and received my license in mid June.  That was before the FCC streamlined things.

During my college years at Grand Valley State University, I co-founded an amateur radio club on the GVSU campus.  W8GVU is presently not on the air though there is talk of resurrecting it.

My devotion to amateur radio dwindled significantly in 1999 as I got married and began a life with my new wife.

I did provide communications support for a triathlon in 2000 but that I believe was the last time I'd be on air for half a decade.

The attacks of September 11, 2001 did motivate me to try and get back on the air but my ICOM 2710 refused to power up. Having a three month old at the time didn't leave much money for having the rig fixed let alone knowing where to take it as the only local ham store that I knew of had closed. So I remained off the air.

In June of 2005, a fellow ham dropped by the store where I was working and commented that he hadn't heard me on the air. Upon hearing what the problem was, he suggested a new repair facility an hour south of my QTH for repair.

I decided to give it one last shot before shipping my rig off for repair. Some poking around on manufacturer Icom's website mentioned a certain keystroke sequence to reset the rig's circuitry. I heard a sound from my rig I hadn't heard in at least five years-the beep confirming power up!.

So I'm proud to once again be a part of the amateur radio community.

My rig is an Icom IC-2710H, a 2m/440 dual bander with a detachable headend. My antenna is an MFJ 1724B. It is a magnetic mount dual band antenna that resembles the old (early 90s) in car style cell phone antennas.

I also own a Yaesu FT-70D, a hand held 2m/440 dual bander.

I usually hang out on the K8DAA repeater in Holland (147.060+ PL 94.8) or the Independent Repeater Association link system. The Grand Rapids node is 147.160+ PL 94.8. A remote receive in Holland uses the same frequency and offset but a PL of 118.8. The IRA system provides coverage over most of West Michigan.

In December 2013, I upgraded my license to General Class anda month later, upgraded to Extra Class. I then decided to pay it forward and applied for and received Volunteer Examiner accreditations from the American Radio Relay League, Laurel Amateur Radio Club, Greater Los Angeles Radio Group and Anchorage Amateur Radio Club. Laurel is who my local club tests through, GLAARG and Anchorage being primarily online testing.

This section of my site is dedicated in memory of the hams who got me started, a childhood friend/ham and one who showed many of us how community service and ham radio go together.
Richard T Brockmeier W8QPP (1937-1993)
Donald E Hovenga N8EOH (1927-1993)
Ken Groom ZR5AAD/W8 (1952-2008)
Hollis A Roels W8FIZ (1926-2010)
Jonathan R Brockmeier W8QPP (1973-2014)
Charles E Rich W8GCW (1934-2023)