Let’s Meet … Ms. Ann Santos, WA1S                      



DXpeditioner and Contester                                       New Hampshire, USA


I was born in Sumter, South Carolina in 1961 and was the second oldest of 4 children. My father was enlisted in the Air Force and we moved around the United States. In 1963 it was off to Alaska for 5.5 years where although I was too young to remember, I lived through the “GREAT ALASKAN EARTHQUAKE” of 1964.  In 1966 it was off to Maryland where we spent another 6 years. In 1972, we lived 6 months in Massachusetts and then to Rhode Island. In 1986 I married Russell, KA1OTN (now K1TSV) and in 1992 moved to New Hampshire.


It all started about mid way through my senior year of High School when the principal of high school, Bob Poniatowski, AF1I suggested I sit in on an Electronics class. First licensed as KA1DNB in 1979 at the age of 18, with the help of Bob, AF1I and Jerry, AA1Q (now a silent key) who elmered me and gave me my Novice test. The day after I graduated high school in 1979 I began 2 years of technical school at Rhode Island School of Electronics. I was introduced to my aunt’s friend Cliff, WA1ZCD (now a silent key) who was studying to upgrade his license. Together we studied and both passed our Extra on the same day at the Custom’s House in Boston in 1980. In 1989 I changed my call sign to WA1S.


After graduating technical school in 1981 I began working as an Electronic Troubleshooter for Foxboro Company and was a member of the Foxboro Amateur Radio Club. I soon found out in order to advance my career in Electronics I needed something more than 2 years of technical school. In 1982, I began attending night school at Roger Williams College. In 1985 I left Foxboro Company to work for Raytheon. I was an active member of the Raytheon Amateur Radio Club. In 1990, after 8 years of night school, I was the first woman to graduate Roger Williams College with a B.S. Degree in Computer Engineering. I was laid off from Raytheon in late 1990 and in 1991 took a job with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as an Electronics Engineer. I am currently still employed for the FAA.


The primary home station consists of a Yaesu FT1000D and Alpha 99. Antennas consist of a Hygain TH7DXX at 31 meters, Cushcraft D3W rotatable WARC band dipole at 32 meters, and a G5RV Senior strung up as an inverted Vee (apex at 30 meters).


I enjoy DX’ing, CW (loves working the pileups), contesting, DXpeditions, scuba diving, photography and alpine skiing.


DXCC Honor Roll with 339 countries and 5BDXCC with 12, 17 and 30 meter endorsements. I hold Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering.


Major DXpedtions: VK9WY Willis Island in 1997, K5K Kingman Reef (first YL) in 2000 and K7C Kure Atoll (first YL) in 2005.


Other DXpeditions and calls: J38AA, J39A (CQWW CW) Grenada 1996, VK4AMS-Australia 1997, V63HO, V63X (CQWW CW) Micronesia 1998, T32R-Christmas Is. and KH5/WA1S-Palmyra Is. 2000, J3/WA1S, J38AA, J3A (CQWW CW) Grenada 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002, 8N1OGA-Ogasawara 2002, J38AA (CQWW CW) 2003, and VP9/WA1S, VP9I (CQWW CW) Bermuda 2004.


My first DXpedition was in 1996. I was invited by Paul, K1XM and Charlotte, KQ1F to go on a mini DXpedition to Grenada and operate in the CQWW CW contest.


In 1997 there was a small write up in the QRZ’d DX bulletin looking for YL’s to go on a DXpedition to Willis Island. I inquired about the trip and soon I was off on my first major DXpedition. Here I met many new friends, including Noriko, 7K3EOP.


In 1998 I was invited by Paul, K1XM and Charlotte, KQ1F to go on a DXpedition to Micronesia. I was issued the callsign V63HO. For the CQWW CW contest we were issued V63X. After going to Micronesia (Kosrae, Pohnpei and Truk Lagoon) I decided to take up scuba diving. As I child I grew up near the water and was always fascinated by watching Jacques Cousteau. It was always a dream to scuba dive and now the time was right. At the age of 39 I was finally certified. Since then, I have taken several courses and am now a Rescue diver. Underwater photography along with Amateur Radio has become a passion in my life. In the winter months I also enjoy alpine skiing.


Noriko and I have become good friends and have continued to stay in contact. In 2002 I was invited by Noriko to operate as a guest on Ogasawara as 8N1OGA. Noriko and I were the only 2 YL’s to operate during this operation. I was honored to be invited and was able to experience Japanese culture and be part of Team Ogasawara.


Major contest accomplishments – For the most part I have been part of multi/multi teams. Just out of curiosity I wanted to try SOLP to see how I would rank amongst the “best of the best”. In 1997, 1998 and 1999 (new record) I won CQWW SSB U.S. SOLP. In 1997 CQWW SSB I was the FIRST YL in history to take a major category in a CQWW contest. In CQWW CW 1997 SOLP ranked 5th in the U.S. In 2003 I operated J38AA from Grenada in CQWW CW SOLP using only 100 watts into a Carolina Windom antenna. I made over 4,000 Q’s and 4M points. Although I do operate SSB, CW is my preference. Some Multi operations included: J3A, J39A, V63X (M/S), VP9I (M/2) K1RX, K1XM, k1KP and K1NG (1980’s).


Clubs:  ARRL (Life member), NCDXF, ODXG (Life member), YCCC, FISTS, YLRL, ALARA, JLRS, SYLARA and QCWA.

Here is Ann operating from K7C Expedition on Kure Island in the Pacific Ocean.