Thursday, June 21, 2018

KD4OZI – Paul Robinette

I was born and raised in Southeastern Ohio. After high school I went on to acquire an associate’s degree (electronics) from Ashland, Kentucky.  Then, in January of 1968 I went to work with International Business Machines (IBM) in the development lab in Lexington, Kentucky.  A couple of years later I was transferred to Austin, Texas.  (IBM also stands for “I’ve Been Moved”)

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After 18 years I decided I wanted to get back closer to home (southeast coast region) and I managed to get transferred to Charlotte, North Carolina.  Once there, I bought a home in Midland, NC which put me about 12 miles from my work place.  I have really always preferred the Mountains, so when my youngest daughter married a Mountain Man, my grandson and daughter moved to their home over in the Asheville area. I then moved to my current locale, Fairview, to be nearer to the grandson and the new family.

So how did I get involved in this thing called Ham radio?  Well, one day, one of my employees - Gary Howell (WB4BMJ) came to my office and started telling me about this hobby he had, how great it was, how much fun it was, how I should do it too… yup, you guessed it - Amateur Radio.  I told him I had always had an interest in amateur radio, (I have an old set of 33 1⁄3 set of records on learning code) but while the interest was there, I found it next to impossible for me to learn that elusive code.  Gary said, “Paul, do you know the code for an S?”  “Of course” I told him. He said, “Well, how about an O?”  “Yes, I know that one too.”  He said, “Well, an “A” is dit dah, an “N” is dah dit. Can you remember that?  I said, “Yes, that's easy.”  Gary then told me I now knew 15 percent of the alphabet, and that he wanted to help me.  And boy, did he! He helped me every time I saw him in the hallways, in the lunch room, in meeting rooms and just about anywhere else that he saw me, he was chanting code at me.  Gary also provided me a book on taking the written novice class code test.  He even gave me a code chart that I pinned to the wall in my office.  I continued to study code and began reading the book on taking the code test, while Gary continued doing the dit dah dit’s - sending me code every chance he got.  I couldn’t believe it – from being next to impossible, I was actually learning code!

Gary was my Elmer, my Mentor and a great friend. On April 24, 1992 I pasted the Novice test.  Then I waited and waited to receive my call-sign. (and waited some more – remember, back then everything was done by postal mail. Instant gratification? What was that?) Finally the day arrived and that coveted envelope arrived in the mail. I was now officially KD4OZI, in addition, I now possessed the skill of being a five words a minute morse code demon.  I immediately started working at my next goal: getting my Technician class license.  Once that hurdle was passed, I kept on going – I continued on with my studying and got my General class license. It was during this time that I joined the Stanley County Amateur Radio Club.

aresncmapA short while later, I got involved with our local ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) chapter and volunteered to become our ARES Emergency Coordinator (E.C.), then I became the District Emergency Coordinator (D.E.C.) and now I proudly hold the title of the Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator (A.S.E.C.) for the Western Branch of North Carolina.

Over the years I have met a lot of good Ham folks who have made my job a real pleasure and have made me extremely happy that I got involved in and with Amateur Radio.  One of my favorite parts?   My claim to fame happens every year on Field Day, as the ASEC for the Western Branch I get to visit Field Day sites in the western section of North Carolina.  My wife joins me on my yearly foray around the state as my driver and official photographer.  My record for most visits in a day?  A few years ago we visited 11 counties within a 19 hour period. It was a great day being able to visit all those people, but it sure was nice to get home.

I hope you enjoy my website – if you have any questions, about me, the site or ham radio in general, feel free to reach out. And that is just another great reason to love this hobby – everyone helping everyone; like my mentor helped me, there is another ham radio operator somewhere out there who is ready to help you too.