Reaching out to stations from HF QSOs 25 years ago….

1-30-2023 –


Please pardon the intrusion.  My name is Scott.  My call was KD5CAS from August 1997 to November 1999, when I became W5WZ.

I was thinking about my first HF QSOs back in September and October 1997, and wanted to reach out to those 18 hams who patiently endured those QSOs with a brand-new ham only 26 years old.  I could barely copy CW at the time, so I’m sure I wasn’t much for conversation.  Searching QRZ, only four remain with active licenses and an email address in the QRZ records.  So this email is being sent to those four.  If you were the person at the other end of one of these QSOs, I’d love to hear from you.

And, if you happen to have notes in your logbook about our QSO, or have my inbound QSL card, I would love to have a digital scan or photo of that to add to my radio history.

I was licensed as a technician plus at the time.  The rig was a Kenwood TS-430, and the antenna was a ladder-line feed 132-foot dipole.

I’ve been active on HF continually for the past 25 years.  I’ve grown to love DXing and contesting.  With lots of help from others, we’ve built a competitive contest station at my home in Louisiana.  

Along the way, my wife and all four children earned ham licenses.

I’ve attended the Dayton Hamvention 9 times, and have ham friends all around the world.

My basic radio info is found on QRZ at

Twenty years of radio exploits are documented at

I’m grateful for my elmer, W5LA, who is a close friend to this day.  And likewise, I’m grateful to you for the QSO in my radio infancy.  I wanted you to know that this has been an enjoyable journey, and you each are a part of it.

Thank you so much,

73, Scott, W5WZ (ex KD5CAS)

I was pleased to receive replies via email from two of the four:

Well Hello Scott,

It has certainly been a while. Back when we had our QSO I believe I just upgraded to extra and upgraded from a Kenwood TS-440SAT to a new Icom IC-756. While I had taken a break from the hobby I have upgraded the station over the years. When we had our QSO I was running the Icom 756 with a Cushcraft R-7000 40-10 meter vertical, I no longer have the 756 but I still have the R-7000, the matching network failed a few years ago and is now just a pile of parts. I still have my Astron RS-50M power supply, MFJ-986 tuner and still use my AEA PK-88 that I used to digipeat through the MIR space station, now used through the ISS. My station now consists of two Icom IC-775DSP transceivers, Alpha 76A, Palstar AT-1500CV,(soon to be upgraded to a Palstar AT 4K) MFJ-986, Icom IC-2000, two Heil ICM boom mics, and a Icom IC-9700 all mode VHF/UHF transceiver, soon to be paired with a Icom IC-7300. My primary antennas are a Buckmaster 3kW off center 7 band dipole, an inverted L for 160 and various VHF/UHF antennas. I just purchased a High Gain 640 AV and a Comet GP-95 VHF/UHF vertical but have not installed them yet. I have included a link to my general album that I have posted both of the QSL cards I received form you and the current state of my HAM / Test and measurement shack.

QSL cards sent by me to N7UQA for my 10th and 155th QSOs ever

73 and thanks for the links.

Craig Petersen – N7UQA

Thanks for your email. congrats.. I was 37 then..

62 now still working with new cw ops. Just helped a guy on 20 cw today.

73, Dennis WD9DWE

Eyeball QSO with K7BFI

Back in January 2018, I met George K7BFI on the air one evening. Turns out we had a few things in common. So while on vacation, I took the opportunity to stop in and meet him at his home in Utah face-to-face. Thanks George and XYL Karen for a wonderful breakfast, and even better conversation!

Casual photo of Scott and George with his tower in the background

Don’t forget your roots!

Fellow hams and contesters:

I apologize for the length of this post; however, the story contained is relevant, because it addresses how I at the young age of 13 was attracted to ham radio and then into the world  of radio sport.

I’ve been following this dialogue now for many days.  Many interesting and wonderful points of view have been expressed.  Many solutions have been proposed.  Yet the underlying important question that has been expressed is “How to attract new or young people to become interested in obtaining a ham license and then learning to contest and participate in contests?”

Full disclosure:
I am currently 46 years old.  I proudly admit to having been a nerd in the 1980’s, a geek in the 1990’s.  And I’m still both! First ham license at age 26, as KD5CAS, Techician Plus with 5 wpm code Obtained Extra class license in July 1999, with 20 wpm code. Vanity 1×2 call, W5WZ, issued November 1999. 

So here is my story and perhaps contained therein is an answer:

A Seed is Planted (as written at:

My interest in amateur radio, more commonly known as ham radio, began at the age of 13.

Our scoutmaster had arranged for a local ham to attend one of our campouts and do a ham radio demonstration.

I remember the man using a fishing rod to throw lines into trees to pull up a dipole antenna. The first demo was to use a repeater to autopatch and call the scoutmaster’s wife. We boys got a big kick out of that, because Ms. Gloria always answered the phone in a dramatic Southern-style “Hel-lo”. Next, he demonstrated SSB and CW, working many stations around the world from beside our campfire that night.

However, I suppose that I didn’t express enough interest at the time to be taken seriously (as if a 13 year-old knows what he wants). So 13 years passed before I met another ham. At age 26, I was helping my boss, Jim, split firewood with my hydraulic splitter. We finished the task ahead of schedule. Jim, W5LA, invited me inside. He asked if I knew anything about ham radio. I relayed my Boy Scout experience. After just a few minutes, he’d made QSOs with several European and Asian stations. I once again was hooked.

Jim elmered me along the path to get my license. Only 19 days passed from that re-introduction at his home to the testing session and subsequent license grant. On August 19, 1997, Amateur Radio Station KD5CAS was born as a Technician Plus. This is memorable to my wife and I, as our first child had been born six weeks earlier, and we both were still getting used to the added role of parent.

Not being satisfied with limited operating privileges, I pursued upgrades in prompt fashion. General – April 1998, Advanced – March 1999, and Extra – July 1999.

CONTESTING BUG BITES! (as written at: ) It was Field Day 1998.  I had been a ham only 9 months, and had really never heard of contesting.  Our club was to operate from the football stadium at West Monroe High School.  I was appointed to be a member of the Field Day committee and assigned to rent a pop-up camper with air conditioning for the CW station to be housed in.  We also had the sherriff’s department Em-Comm bus, and a local TV station’s remote switching trailer.

I had brought my home station to be used on 40 and 15m SSB.  Very modest, it was a stock (no filters) Kenwood TS-430, an MFJ969 antenna tuner, and a 135-ft dipole fed with ladder line.  It was set up in the TV station trailer.  At that time, our club always had one person to operate the radio, and another to log using NA by K8CC on the computer. No one used rig control, and the computers were not networked, nor did anyone use SCP.

I was sitting behind 2 guys as they operated early on Saturday afternoon. Ken N5WKI was logging and Ray W5EW was running the radio on 15m SSB.  Ken needed to take a nature break, so Ray didn’t ask, he told me to sit down and log for him.  A total rookie, I sat down and began logging for Ray. However, I could touch-type over 60 wpm, so there was an advantage for me.  Ray is a pretty good contester, and he was running at over 60 QSOs per hour.  Eventually, Ray needed a break, and told me to slide over and operate the radio and log until he got back.

Some 30 minutes later, he returned to find me still holding the frequency and running at 90 QSOs per hour.  At that point, he said I didn’t need any help and left me to my own devices.

Three weeks later, I enter the 1998 IARU and won the LA section.  The doctor has confirmed there is no cure.

What Have I Done to Further Ham Radio?
I’ve planted seeds!  Since obtaining my license, my entire family has also obtained their technician ham licenses.  Granted, I cannot force them to like or even enjoy ham radio.  But they have been exposed to very cool stuff!
My wife Sharon is KW5MOM.  My son Delton is KF5GDK, licensed at age 10.  My daughter Jordan is KF5GDJ, licensed at age 9.  The day she got her license, she contacted 11 unique DX countries. My daughter Laurel is KF5KAJ, licensed at age 10. My daughter Logan is KF5MTH, licensed at age 8.  Before she was licensed, we multi op’ed in the Tennessee QSO party as out of state HP.

I also operate outside of contests, just doing old-fashioned rag chewing. I operate without spotting assistance, and actually tune the band, listening for the weak station calling CQ with 10 watts and an attic dipole, and answer.  I call CQ without specifying “DX” only; I’ll talk to anyone who answers.  And I log every one of these QSOs, and put it in LOTW and CLUBLOG, just like my contest logs.  I send paper unsolicited QSL cards for contacts with people who are young, new to the hobby, have “small or limited stations”, and who say “I’ve just returned to ham radio after XX time off the air.”  Why?  Because this stuff is fun to me, and I believe it promotes good will among my fellow mankind.

What Have I Done to Hurt Ham Radio?
Well, nothing intentional.  But consider someone who may be curious, and then they look upon my current big tower with multiple yagis.  They see the operating position with multiple transceivers, dual monitors, and a couple of dozen control boxes.  They see dozens of cables leaving the shack.  To those of us “inside the circle” this is all well and good, and exciting.  But to a non-ham or even a beginning ham, don’t you think this is quite intimidating, both technically and financially?

My first station, like countless others, was a simple used transceiver with a single wire antenna.  I bought the equipment used and my elmer Jim W5LA came over to help me build the antenna and hang it in the trees. The entire investment back then, at age 26 with a new house payment and our firstborn only weeks old, was less than $600.  Now this is not either technically or financially intimidating.  I had a ball with this station for two years.

But, having found that I enjoyed contesting and DXing, I started pursuing upgrades.  Antenna first, then transceiver, then filters in the transceiver.  Next was rig control via PC.  Then more antennas.  And so it goes and grows.  Simultaneously, my knowledge and experience grew, too.

With all this, the first spark of interest, ignited back in 1984, still burns within.  The improved station increases the ability to get the DX on 1st call, or hold the run frequency for hours rather than minutes. Sure, this drives scores up.  But that isn’t the primary reason I enjoy
ham radio.  I know there is always going to be someone smarter, taller, stronger, faster, richer, better geography, better this, better that. That’s just life.  But ham radio is as fun today, every single QSO, as it was when first saw it beside the campfire 33 years ago, as it was in 1997 when Jim W5LA helped me copy the received CW during my first on-air QSO with Ed KA2HJL of Ballston Spa, NY on 40m CW.  Yes, I remember the call, name and QTH!  And, just a few nights ago, the same fun and excitement was there in the extended length QSO with Gary WA0MYH from MN.

In closing, back in 2010 a few members of the Louisiana Contest Club decided to do the unthinkable – to deliberately enter CQ WW SSB as a full multi-multi from my station.  Why? Because we, as friends, would be together having fun!  We knew we could not be a contender for 1st place. So what?  But we were shocked when the smoke settled and the results were posted.  Read the rest of the story as written at:

Ham Radio is Fun! Enjoying it since 1997!
–Scott Dickson, W5WZ
–Calhoun, Louisiana

Dayton Hamvention Bound!

With great anticipation, I am trying to be patient until arriving at the Green County Fairground in Xenia – the new home of Hamvention.  I’ve heard and seen comments about waiting to see how it goes. Well, I trust DARA and their ability to execute the large logistical challenge that has been the Hamvention for the past decades. Sure we as patrons will have to learn the new layout.   In life in general, without learning there is no progress. And the only constant in life is change. 

Regardless, I’ll be there on Friday when the gates open. And I know I will enjoy the new experience. 

What will you do?

Time Flies

02/12/12 —  Sure doesn’t seem like 4 months have passed since I updated my journal here.  Work, holidays, etc. just makes time fly.  I suppose the time I had I spent on the air rather than updating websites.  Recently received 1st place Phone Out of State Single Op plaque for CO QSO Party , and 1st Place Louisiana Multi-op certificate for the TN QSO Party.

Uploaded several more SH5 contest reports

4th Harmonic – Full House of Hams

09/20/11 — My youngest daughter, age 8, earned her technician license.  Logan is now KF5MTH.  Our entire family now are hams; wife, son and three daughters.  All the kids were licensed by age 10.  


Why is my call sign W5WZ?

My FCC issued call was KD5CAS, and after my upgrade to Extra, I wanted to get a 1×2 call.  This was in the days before the “vanity headquarters” website existed.  W5LA was downloading the FCC database daily, and parsing it to find calls that were going to be coming available.  However, during the late summer and early fall of 1999, the FCC temporarily suspended vanity call processing.

We continued to watch the situation.  I knew that I wanted a 1×2 from the 5th call district, and I knew that I preferred a W call.  We determined that there were going to be two calls meeting those criteria that would be available in November 1999.

So, as required by the FCC process, a paper application was mailed to one location, and a money order to another, in the hopes that my application would be the first in line on the date the FCC resumed processing vanity calls.

I only put one of the two available calls on the application.  Why?  Because absolutely, positively I DID NOT WANT to forever be known as Whisky Five Mike Foxtrot! 

Now you know why my call is W5WZ!