Luc’s (N6WDB/mm) HAM story www.TropicalSailingLife.com © 2006-2017 I was attracted by ham radio when a kid but … in Belgium it takes real dedication to get involved in ham radio (only technicians by trade or retired/handicapped people can spend the time to study all the materials needed in order to pass the exams!). I got involved in sports and plenty of other activities at the time. When working in 1989 on cruise ships, we met Babbie KF8RR, who recommended getting a ham license in the US as it would be very useful when cruising on our own boat later! Following her advice, I was lucky to find Arnie in Grass Valley, CA to administer my Novice and Technician license in between my assignments on cruise ships. My first QSO was made from Raiatea, French Polynesia in April 1990 with a loaned radio from Gerard FO5KF using a long wire in a coconut tree! Spoke to Japan, Scotland, Aleutian Isl.,Spain, … When the XYL helped me study the 13 wpm Morse code in Hawaii one year later, she learned it herself and while I went for my General and Advanced license, she went for her Novice, Tech & General … that’s a lady KC6SEF! When the 20 wpm requirement was dropped in the Extra class license, I passed it and became VE (Volunteer Examiner) in order to help ham candidates in far away places! I was happy to assist Cliff & Karen in Pago Pago administer some exams while visiting there. Now I administer ham exams when the need arise, as part of the SSCA VE team. Great way to stay in touch with Frank, KM6PD and our California family long before Internet! Wonderful to meet (sometimes years later) hams I had QSO with while cruising the 7 seas! Great memories of Jean FG5FT in Guadeloupe, the ham community in Dominica, Elbert V44NE in Nevis, Alain FG5GI in Guadeloupe, Gunther HP1XVH in the Perlas islands, FO5QG and FO5JR in Tahiti. I regret being so busy lately that I do mostly digital mode (mostly email via Pactor – Winlink) and have little time for voice QSO like in the early years … Someday I will spend more time again at QSO and will be happy to host a Winlink shore station to return to new hams the great service I get from Winlink operators. Since we are quite far from Belgium, I did not have a chance yet to connect to ON5FS, the Belgian Winlink station but some day I just might Since 2000, I became a SCS dealer at-large in order to help fellow cruisers with email on-board! If you have any questions or if you need any equipment, do not hesitate to contact me! I will be happy to help you get the best prices and the best service Check the rest of our website to know more about our floating QTH, current location and activities. 73 and 88 to you !