WB2FKO: Brief Bio

I grew up in Tonawanda, NY, a suburb of Buffalo. I was first licensed (as best I can remember) in April 1976 at age 16. It might have been the year before, but I can't find my original license. My old logbook shows I didn't start operating until 1976, but there may have been a significant delay between getting the license and getting setup. It was a long time ago and I simply don't remember the specifics. My first call was WN2FKO.

I quickly upgraded from Novice to General and then Advanced. I mostly operated at my friends' houses using their equipment. We did HF cw exclusively. I eventually built a QRP station for operating at home, but my mom was not happy with the prospect of a 40-m dipole antenna above our house. She compromised and let me put up a vertical antenna on the side of the house, but it worked poorly and my signals wrecked reception in all the neighborhood TVs. This was shortly before the days of cable. It didn't help that I had cheap equipment and that I didn't really know what I was doing.

I was almost completely inactive for the next 26 years. In fact, my license expired while I was living in Europe! Thanks to the FCC grace period, I managed to renew it without having to re-take the tests. I should also mention that I bought a 2-m FM radio to keep me company on a cross-country drive in December 1991, but got tired of it pretty quickly. I used this transceiver to play with packet radio briefly in 1993.

I have a BS, MS, and PhD in electrical engineering. My specialty is semiconductor physics, particularly on an ultrafast timescale, ie. looking at events that happen in less than a billionth of a second. I've lived all over the country and spent 1997-98 as a guest scientist at the Max Born Institute in Berlin, Germany. In 2010-11 I was a visiting professor at the University of Kostanz, Germany and was a guest operator at VHF contest station DL0KB. I'm currently a senior scientist in the Physics Department at the University of New Mexico.

I'm a hardcore road cyclist and play hockey in an adult rec league. I commute by bike every day, ride big miles on the weekends, and race occasionally. Here's a photo of me back in 1985 during my motorcycle days. I believe that's Turn 3 at Willow Springs Raceway in California. I also maintain a popular website devoted to sports cliches. The photo at right was taken in the fall of 2003 and shows me running WSJT with an IBM ThinkPad laptop. This laptop and most of my WSJT rover gear was stolen when my house was burglarized in the summer of 2004. Almost all of this equipment has been replaced with better stuff, including a new ICOM 746-PRO transceiver.