Brag Mode On
If I don't brag on myself, who will? So here goes:
This is really not so much of a brag as it is a documentary. Someone once
said that you should start with your obituary and work backwards. I don't
think of this as an obituary but it has made me think a little about what I
have and haven't done with my life. As so many before me have lamented, if I could
just go back and know what I know now.
As of today, I have been around for
That in itself is amazing. Man, I'm getting old way too fast.
I was Born in Searcy, Arkansas, I spent my formative years in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
By the time I was 15, I of course knew everything and was getting tired of
everybody telling me what to do. I was living with my Dad and Step-Mother at
the time, so I made a phone call and talked my way into going to live with
my Mother and Step-Dad. I figured I'd get a new start and of course life would
be easier. Well that is when I learned about farm life. You know, farming is
a lot harder than city life. I learned how to chop cotton, pick cotton, butt
rice levies, drive a tractor 14 hours a day, bail and stack hay, wear brogans
and get up with the chickens. Needless to say that was not the easy life I
I stayed in Sherrill, Arkansas for about a year until my brother was struck
by a pickup truck and nearly killed. He was 5 years old, "helping" his Dad
with irrigation in the rice field. He was too close to the road and the driver
didn't see him. He was severely injured and it took almost a year to get him
back home from the hospital.
While all of this was going on, I went to live with my Maternal Grandmother
in Cotton Plant, Arkansas. I finished the 10th grade there and by then my
Step dad had given up the farm in Sherrill and moved to North Little Rock,
Arkansas. I went to live with them after school let out in 1960. I needed
to find a job for spending money, buy a car and all of the things a 17 year
old needs. Well, I was wondering around downtown North Little Rock looking for
a job going from door to door. Without even realizing it, the next door was
the Air Force Recruiting office. I walked in to see if they were hiring and
when I realized where I was I started to leave but the recruiter asked why I
was there, I told him I had made a mistake, I was looking for a job. Well guess
what, the Air Force was hiring. Next thing I knew, I was learning to march in
the Texas heat in late June of 1960.
Uncle Sam took me to Kansas and then to Montana, and the recruiter promised
me that I would see the world. Seems that's not the only thing he exaggerated
about. I became an electronic tech on the B-47 then later on the B-52. While I
was in Wichita, Kansas fixing B-47's, I earned my high school GED diploma. I
was there for 18 months then transferred to Glasgow, Montana where I remained
for the rest of my Air Force enlistment. By the time I was discharged in
Glasgow, I had married a girl from Williston, North Dakota. She had a Son by
a previous marriage and then we had a Daughter. Marian Louise, (Mary Lou),
named from the song by Rick Nelson. It helped that I had a Sister, Catherine
Louise and my Mother is Marion Doris. I know that this will come as a shock to
all of you Dad's out there but my daughter was the most beautiful baby on the
planet. We lived in Montana first, until I finished my Air Force duty then
later we moved to North Dakota. The marriage didn't work out though, we were
only married for 22 years and divorced in 1985.
I bought my first computer in 1978, an Apple ][.
That was a year of change for me. I was fed up with CB and all the language
and abuse on 11 meters. There were a few local hams trying to start a ham
club and they ran an ad in the local paper. I responded and joined the group
that later became the local Ham Club. One of the first orders of business of
that small group of hams was to teach a Novice Class so I enrolled. It was
very hard for me to grasp those dots and dashes but I managed to get a grip
on it and I received my Novice call WD0GRC on February 17, 1978 at the age
of 34. Many thanks to K0RDF and K0AYZ for teaching that first Novice Class,
I owe them for all of the great times I've had with Amateur Radio. Thanks Guys.
I remained in North Dakota until October 1986. By that time I had progressed
through the levels to Advanced. For a while I operated Williston, ND's first
Computer Bulletin Board on my Apple ][. It had 64 Kb of memory, a 300 bps modem
and two 144 kb floppy drives. No hard drive and no 8 bit protocol. Those were
the good old days.
A couple of years after I purchased my Apple ][ Computer, I published a North
Dakota Call Book. This was 1981, there was no world wide web, no QRZ.com, no
Call book on CD, in fact there weren't even CD's. The only way to locate hams in
your area was to call CQ, check with the local club or spend hours in the call
book looking for your area. Well, I manually typed in every ham in the state
and sent out preliminary books to every club in the state for corrections and
updates. It was a lot of work but it was well received and I figure by the time
I added the cost of publishing and postage I suppose I netted about $0.02
per hour. But I had fun and learned a lot.
The benefit I received was much more than I could have ever hoped for. I meet a
lot of hams that I would have never known and it just felt good doing something
for a hobby that was giving so much to me. At the next International Peace
Garden Hamfest, I was nominated for and won the "Ham of the Year" award. This
is an award from my peers and I am very proud to have been honored with this
very prestigious award.
Click on the award to link to the
Peace Garden Hamfest Award List."
By 1986, I was divorced, the economy in North Dakota
was pretty slow, my Step-Dad had passed and my Mother was living alone in
Arkansas and so I packed up and came home for a visit. I was just going to
stay a little while, then head on further south to the Caribbean. I had always
wanted to go sailing and it was time to start looking for a boat and start
learning to sail.
That was the plan anyway. I stayed a little longer than I had planned,
ran out of money and had to get a job. While I was working, I took a class in
SCUBA Diving. Got certified and I've made quite a few trips to the Caribbean
and Central America to SCUBA Dive. It's a blast, I would recommend it to
any and everyone.
Fate has a way of changing your plans. One thing lead to another and
after 4 years in 1990, I started a business of my own. Buckled down and worked
at making a living. On September 1st, 1992 I setup The Ether Net Amateur Radio
BBS. This was a landline dialup Bulletin Board System and it was a part of
the Fido Network. It grew to become the Central Arkansas Fido Mail Hub. It
became a repository of many amateur radio files.
Nothing much noteworthy happened for about 11 years until once again fate
intervened, on May 2nd, 2001 when a friend of mine introduced me to his sister
Belinda. I had been single for some 18 years by now and you might say I was a
little set in my ways. Well she woke up some long dormant feelings and before
long we were well on our way to a life together. On October 14th, 2001, I
asked her to marry me and she accepted. We were married on August 8th, 2002
at the Old Mill Wedding Chapel in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
We bought a house settled into making a living and
just enjoying each other's company. I can tell you that the song was right,
Love is better the second time around. At least is has been for us and I can
add that it is even better when your lover is also your friend.
I bought a Goldwing motorcycle and I have been able to do quite a bit of traveling on it. In fact I
have ridden it to many states
in the south east and western United States. I have really enjoyed the motorcycle,
the freedom of the open road and the solitude. I have a Kenwood TM-D710 with APRS
and you can track me
whenever I'm riding.
The house turned into a money pit so after about five years we sold it and lived in the motor home
for a little while until we found another house. This one seems to be a much better fit with a two
acre lot so there is room for an antenna farm.
I recently (Fall of 2013) finished adding an addition to the house. I just didn't like being above
the garage and I just couldn't figure out how to get a decent ground on the second floor. I'm sure
there is a way but I just couldn't get the RF out of the audio on HF. I decided to just add a Ham
Shack on to the house and set it up the way I wanted it. I now have a dedicated room for my
computers and radio equipment.
I wired it myself so there are plenty of AC outlets and large conduits running to the outside so I
can easily run coax and control cables to the operating position. I had a local cabinet shop build
a custom desk to fit the room and I started setting up a station.
As of now, early December 2013, I have installed a 70 foot crankup tower with a Force 12 C3 HF
antenna, a Comet GP-9 VHF/UHF Vertical and a Discone for the scanner and I have ordered a
Crushcraft A6270-13S 6 meter VHF/UHF beam that I will be adding when the weather permits.
I also have a 160 meter Carolina Windom at 40 feet for the other HF bands. So the antenna farm
is taking root pretty well.
I just ordered a new Kenwood TS-2000 and I'm looking forward to playing with it. This should just
about finish out the station for now. I also have a Kenwood TM-D710 for VHF/UHF, packet and APRS.
All of this keeps me fairly busy. I retired in September so I finally have some time to play radio.
Not nearly as much time as I would like with Honey Do's and all the work keeping up the house and
two acre lot, but life is good, no complaints.
I'm spending a lot of time on 20 meters, 14.233 Mhz sending and receiving Digital SSTV pictures
using Easypal. I really enjoy the digital as opposed to the analog that I was doing before.
Technology has come a long way while I was away. I now have HRD, electronic logging, I'm uploading
pictures to the internet, heck I'm even streaming live screen capture of Easypal to the web page.
I'm real excited to see what technology is coming down the pike.
After being home and according to the wife, under foot, I was informed that I had to find something
to do outside the home. Really didn't want to go back to work so I started looking around. After a while
I found a job offering in the paper for a part time job as a Code Enforcement Officer. I checked it out and
it is in Bauxite, Arkansas and only 12 hours a week.
Okay, well Bauxite is a very small town in Arkansas with a population of under 600 people. Twelve hours a
week and only three and a half miles to work. I interviewed for the job and with no experience at all, I got
the job. In June 2018, I became the "Grass Police". Pretty easy job and nice people to work for and not much
pressure so I'm happy with it and it keeps me active.
As I learned the ropes and settled down into the job I got to know the Chief of Police pretty well. One
thing leads to another and after a while he started talking to me about going to the Police Academy. I talked
about it with the wife and decided to give it a try. It was a few months before the next class so I signed up
and before long I started learning to be a Cop and I learned a lot during training. There is a lot more to it
that you might think if you have never been there. I'm glad I did it and I learned a lot.
After I graduated October 12, 2019 at the ripe old age of 76, I became a Police Officer. Wow! I never ever
in my wildest dreams thought I would ever be "The Man". I guess you're never too old to start a new career.
Take care of yourself and those you love.
Remember to smile, a smile is contagious.
Bill Shryock - N5HQ