Greetings from Falls Church Virginia! . My name is Bill Meara and my current call sign is N2CQR.

I was introduced to Amateur Radio by that great author and story teller, Jean Shepherd, K2ORS. "Shep" had an AM radio program in New York during the early 1970's. My father and I listened to the show; Shep often told stories of his teenage adventures in Ham Radio. Soon I followed Shepherd's example and found myself taking old television sets apart and throwing strange wires into the branches of trees!

With the assistance of the members of New York's Crystal Radio Club (W2DMC), I got my license in 1973 at age 14. I acquired a Drake 2B receiver and a Hallicrafters HT-37 transmitter.

In what I'm sure is a very common occurrence, Ham Radio fell by the wayside as life's other demands crowded in. In my case, after college I became a U.S. Army officer and served in Central America.

Leaving the Army in 1987, I joined the U.S. Foreign Service (our Diplomatic Service). I was first posted to our Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and then to our Consulate in Bilbao, Spain. During this period, the 2B and the HT-37 dutifully followed me around the world. They collected a lot of dust, but, alas, they did not go on the air!

In 1992 I was sent to my current post at the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. One afternoon, while browsing through the magazine rack at a local hotel, I came across a copy of "73" magazine. Looking through it, something of the old spark was rekindled!

I asked the Embassy to inquire about a reciprocal license. (My Mom had watched out for me and - while I worked in Central America - got the FCC to renew my U.S. license. I had been issued the call N2CQR.)

In anticipation, I pulled the old gear out of storage and began to set up a station. Much contact cleaner was applied! Soon I found myself once again running wires through the branches of trees, this time in the Dominican Republic!

My Dominican ticket arrived in March 1993 and I was back on the air! Soon, my parents in New York started to once again find strange post cards from far-off places in their mailbox! (The callbook still has me in New York!)

I became a member of Radio Club Dominicano (HI8RCD); there I found the same friendly spirit as that of the Crystal Radio Club. Some things are universal!

My rig is working just fine, but old age is providing many interesting opportunities for troubleshooting and repair!

I've added a an HW-101 an HW-8, an HQ-1OO and a Super Pro 600 to my collection. In an effort to brush up on technical knowledge, I started to build some QRP gear. In September 1993, I experienced the real thrill of putting my first home brew transmitter on the air. (Its the VXO 6 watter from "QRP Classics"). I had so much fun with the 20 meter rig, I built a second one for 30 meters! In 1997 I built a single conversion superhet receiver to accomapny the 20 meter transmitter and a direct conversion reciver for the 30 meter rig.

On January 6, 1994, the old HT-37 and 2B entered the space age with a successful contact through RS-12!

I'm sometimes on RS-10, keying an old 2 meter FM rig. In March 1995, I achieved my "best DX" by working Astronaut Norm Thagard on 2 meter FM; Norm was operating from the MIR Space Station.

In July 1996 my tour in the Dominican Republic ended and I moved the station 1000 miles north. My wife Elisa is from the Dominican Republic. She and I and our new harmonic (Billy) now live in Northern Virginia.

My e-mail address is wmeara@erols.com

If you have time, please send me your ham radio history (and perhaps a picture of your station).

Best of 73's.

GL and GD DX! Bill Meara, N2CQR.

To take a look at Bill's neat homebrew gear: Click here

See the /HI set up: Click here

My thanks to Bill for sending me this very interesting story.

Frank G3YCC

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