* TVI is an abbreviation for “Television Interference”. However, among us radio amateurs it can mean practically any kind of interference to electronic equipment, including telephones.
** QRP is a Q-code; a standardized collection of three-letter message encodings, all starting with the letter "Q", initially developed for commercial radiotelegraph communication, and later adopted by other radio services, especially amateur radio. The three-letter group "QRP" literaly means "decrease power". "QRP?" means "shall I decrease my power?". However, "QRP" also have figurative meaning, and then stands for low power and in particular a maximum output power of 5 watts. Thus a "QRP-station" is a amateur radio setup transmitting no more than 5 watts of power.
*** CW is an abbreviation for “Continues Wave” and is the same as morse code or telegraphy.
As for many others of my generation I started out with DX:in, listening to foreign radio stations on my parent’s radio. When i went to Upper Secondary Technical School in Malmö I came in touch with some guys who experimented with radio. This lead to me learning the morse code. On June 4 1970 I got my B-license, allowing me to use CW on the shortwave bands. One year later I got my A-license at the same time as I graduated in Kalmar for the Radio Operator’s Certificate 2nd class. Another year later, in 1972 I finally got my Radio Operators Certificate 1st class. I worked as a radio operator in the Swedish merchant marine for some years, ending it with two years at Göteborg Radio (SAG) coastal radio station. My professional career as a radio operator ended in 1977. After that my all my radio activity has been as a ham. I can’t say that I have been the most active ham; it has been more of an on-and-of thing. Sometimes I have been very active with a big station, high power and big beams, sometimes with more ordinary setups.
After moving to the appartment where I now live, the big question was if I could continue with ham-radio at all. The company which owned the house was very negative to any kind of antennas. I also had to think about TVI * and not offending the neighbours in any way. Antennas had to be as discrete as possible. High power was something you could not even think about! Low power and more simple outfits was, however, in no way alien to me. My thinking became more and more accustomed to QRP ** and more simple setups. Even the normal 100 watts would probably result in TVI. Using QRP-levels of power would mean that I didn't have to think about such things and could transmit as much as I liked and whenever I liked. Thinking even further in such terms it seemed to me that this way of conducting our grand hobby was more in tune with what ham-radio meant when I started out almost 40 years ago. It was as if I found a way to return to my roots, and the whole idea of what amateur radio was, and what it stood for, when I started out as a radio amateur. Thus, I “converted” into a QRP:er both of necessity and as a way to find "the true meaning" of amateur radio. When I finally got started with QRP I also found that all the fun and my interest in this hobby suddenly returned! I have never been as active on the bands and with the soldering iron as I'm now, and have been during the last years!
From October 2006 I was using an EleCraft K2 as my main rig and an IC-703 as backup and an EleCraft K1 as backup to the backup. At the side I also have a FT-817. The main antenna was, and still is, a Butternut HF6V with 24 radials tuned for the different bands. It's situated on top of the apartment building in which I'm living and stands at 22 meters above ground. In January 2007 I also have put up an end-fed half-wave dipole for 80 meters hanging between my apartment house and the house next door at about the same height.
QRP also meant that I began with contesting, something I had never done before. By now I have worked about 41.000 contest qso:s in the qrp category in different contests and with different callsigns. It's really great fun and a real challenge, particularly if you are a QRP:er.
In spring 2010 I suddenly was hit by a very high level of noise. It was constantly S9+20 dB. Radio activity from my home QTH was no longer possible. It came, as it turned out, from a faulty installation of the ventilation system in the building. It was not fixed until the full weight of the authorities hit the owners in the spring of 2012. After that the noise level was down to a tolerable S4 to S5 on 40 and 80 meters.
During this period of high noise level I instead turned to working portable within the SMFF program. Several long trips were made both around Göteborg and Mölndal as well as in the most southern part of Sweden. This activity continued during 2013 and will likely continue in 2014 as well.
In 2013 I sold of most of my equipment, but kept the ATS-4b for my portable activity, and bought a new Elecraft KX3. This means that I am left with only the equipment I really use.
I’m active mostly on CW ***. I very seldom work phone. This, however, does not mean that I'm some CW-genius. I had an extremely hard time learning the code. It took me more than two full years of almost daily practice to reach 20 wpm and another full year to reach 25 wpm. Still, after nearly 40 years, I'm no highspeeder and I'm still struggling to cope with the code and I still, on and off, get "blackouts" when I can't copy anything! So, my case really shows that just about anybody can learn CW... :-)