Wilt – WB7VPI – Gresham, OR

Originally licensed as KI7CXU, this is “Wilt”, WB7VPI, and I am located in Gresham, Oregon.

Technically my journey into the adventure of HAM radio began in March of 2016 when I passed the Technician Class exam. But really, my journey into radio started much earlier, I guess it probably started when I was about 8 or 9 years old. At the time my Stepfather was practicing code and working with his Elmer to test for both Novice and Technician. I remember him practicing code, but back then, like now, it made no sense to me. Regardless he did pass both Novice and Technician in one sitting, but that’s his story, except he was issued WB7VPI as his call sign. I don’t really know how active he was as WB7VPI in the HAM bands in the 1980’s, but he did hold “Business Band” licenses in the 2M area, specifically 154.540mhz. Back then, I helped him install a couple Motorola Motrac radios in our family’s vehicles, so many pins and wires to connect the gigantic radio to the clunky but classic control head, amazing a CAT5 cable can usually do that now, and the components are all much smaller!

So, years passed, the original WB7VPI let his license expire, and while he certainly hasn’t forgotten about radio in general, and at this time he isn’t a Silent Key, HAM radio isn’t in his interests anymore. As for myself, I spent most of my time from Junior High age to my early 40’s on 11M (aka CB), I’m a truck driver, don’t judge me!

Anyway, in August 2015 I had a crash on my motorcycle, a serious, “you could be dead” level crash. Luckily thanks to Life Flight, the trauma surgeon, and a lot of other medical caregivers, I survived. I’d really like to say that I started studying for the Technician exam during my recovery, but that’s not true. During recovery, getting better and living life as it was and it is today were the only things I was thinking about. Once life started to get back to “normal” I started having renewed thinking about becoming a HAM. A few months before that crash I bought a Baofeng UV5R, I was mainly using it as a scanner to monitor the dock supervisors and yard drivers at my employer’s hub. Knowing that it could receive HAM frequencies as well, I got on Repeater Book and programed in a few local repeaters. Luckily, one of those was the W7RAT repeater. Michael(W7RAT) has the repeater set up with and IRPL node and it is scheduled to jump around to different IRLP connections during the various nets that are out there. This showed me that I could talk all over the world using my little Baofeng, and I was hooked. At the time, my main interests were The Alaska Morning Net and The Insomniac Net, and once I started studying and picked a test date, I couldn’t wait to be able to key up and participate!

Well, it didn’t take long, and just a few hours after I received an email from the FCC with my new callsign I found myself being a fill-in net control station for The Alaska Morning Net! The following months found me helping out as a long-term fill-in Net Control Station for AMN. Sadly, due to changes in my work schedule, that had to end, and I don’t get to check in to AMN as often as I would like.

Currently I’m a regular Net Control Operator for the Oregon District 1 Amateur Radio Emergency Service Net, and the Northwest Traffic And Training Net. I’ve also volunteered in the field as the HAM station at exchange points for the Hood To Coast relay. I began training for Net Control for the Insomniac Net in December of 2022, and controlled my first net on January 21 2023, the same day I passed the Amateur General class test.