Fire rekindled

When I first heard about the ARRL’s centennial operation, I was mildly curious but hardly enthused. As most know, the League is sponsoring a year-long operating event in which ops in all 50 states will be on the air a week at a time, signing W1AW/X, where “X” is the call district.

Well, it has been 52 years since I earned WAS, I thought. So I decided to see if I could work each W1AW/X state for a new certificate.

Then I decided to work each state several times each just to be sure I was “in the log.”

And as the first round neared the end (each state will be on the air for a full week at least twice during 2014, usually two states each week), I thought to myself, “Self, why don’t you see if you can work them on all modes?” I need practice in pile-up and contest operating on the digital modes and especially RTTY.



Suddenly, this little centennial thing has become a lot of fun and a thrilling challenge! I’ve heard other guys say the same thing. I’m way down the list on total QSOs (3000-ish somewhere) and just cracked the top 15 in my state, mostly due to my late and lackadaisical start. But now I spend far more time than I should chasing W1AW.

I have a new book due at the publisher’s, have just started a new ham radio book, have a 10-month grandson I want to teach the Morse code, I need to be getting ready for the Huntsville, Alabama, Hamfest this weekend, college football season is about to start, and…Wait!…W1AW/1 in Vermont was just spotted on 12-meter PSK31.

Excuse me. I gotta run…


Don N4KC
(Author of the new book RIDING THE SHORTWAVES:

Don Keith, N4KC, is a regular contributor to and writes from Alabama, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

2 Responses to “Fire rekindled”

  • Rich N0MN:


  • Rich, since I graduated from Alabama, two of my kids went there, and I wrote a book on Bear Bryant, guess where my loyalties lie!

    PS: I’ve been invited to speak to the U of A Amateur Radio Club in October and really look forward to it.

    Don N4KC

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