I got my start in ham radio almost 40 years ago as a young boy.  I grew up in a pretty rough neighborhood in the Detroit area.  I was hanging out with my friends, and I knew that we were doing some pretty bad things.  Finally one day, I had enough and I didn’t want to do those things and I distanced myself from those so-called friends.  My dad took me to visit one of his friends who was a ham radio operator, Harry, W8RRE.  That visit to Harry’s garage, filled with all sorts of equipment, wires, old and noisy teletype machines that he used to talk to people around the world, made me want to be a ham.  And I did, my first call sign was WN8SME.  I can still remember the first station I talked to on my ham radio, WN2RED.  Boy was I scared.


     Ham radio has been a part of my life ever since.  Ham radio is the reason I went to college and received a degree in engineering.  I used ham radio throughout my career in the Air Force as a pilot.  I used ham radio throughout my second career as an educator.  And, of course, I use ham radio today to help teachers use wireless technology in their classrooms to help their students learn how radios work.  I have operated ham radio stations at various locations around the world and have held the call signs DA1OY in Germany, G5EPV in England, and HL9AW in Korea as well as my permanent call sign in the U.S. WA8SME.


     Ham radio has, and continues to be a big part of my life.  I enjoy building things and experimenting with radio and radio signals.  I do a lot of public service and help my local community through ham radio.  Ham radio is different things to different people.  To me, ham radio changed my life from one that probably would have gone in the wrong direction, to one in which I am proud of the service I have given to my country, my community, and the students I have touched.  Ham radio may not be the right thing for everyone, but for me, it was.


View Mr. Mark Spencer’s QSL Cards

©Natasha Bochkov, M.C.S., Martin Bayes, Ph.D., and Donna LaRoche, M.Ed.

Click here to learn more about Mr. Mark Spencer and his important work at the Amateur Radio Relay League Headquarters.http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2003/06/06/5/?nc=1

Meet Mr. Mark Spencer, WA8SME