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WX8DXWho or What is WX8DX?
 Brace Yourself...

WX8DX is the Amateur ("Ham") Radio Station callsign of Craig Wicks. That's me. Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I now reside in Roanoke, Virginia. This page is my Radio biography of sorts... kind of a laid-back reflection of my years turning the dial. Radio has been a major influence on me throughout my life and I've been involved in some facet of the radio hobby for as long as I can remember: Mediumwave and Shortwave listening, Crystal radios, Walkie-Talkies, Antennas, Scanners, and Amateur Radio. Now there's Satellite radio, and the Internet with streaming audio and links to radio stations across the globe. Even the ability to chat with people around the world! The world of radio has changed a lot, but today it's more important than ever. When All Else Fails... Amateur Radio!

My Brother & I Decked Out In My Old Air Force Uniforms, 1985My earliest radio experiences began in the 1950s. Even then several of the more popular radio programs were still on the air. I recall the Lone Ranger most vividly. My brother Kevin and I were already avid listeners at that young age, and especially enjoyed radio "DXing" (listening to distant stations). At night, on a used AM (tube) radio I bought for $2, we strained our ears listening to radio stations all over the United States and Canada. We were amazed that we were able to hear stations so far away!

Bobby Orr scores the series winner in the 1970 Stanley Cup finals!During the late 1960s, listening to distant stations became more than just an enjoyable pastime, it became a downright necessity! My sports passion was (and is) Ice Hockey and my long time friend Rob Z. and I were BIG fans of the Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins. At the time, cable wasn't available in Grand Rapids so the only choice we had for following our teams was to listen to radio play-by-play coverage. I remember many an evening struggling to hear Boston radio station WBZ as it faded up and down. I hope to have a sampler of excerpts from some of these broadcasts in the future.

During this same time frame, I was actively pursuing the hobby of Shortwave and Broadcast Band (AM) DXing. Rob and I used to listen regularly to Larry Glick, a late night talk show host on WBZ and Harry Abrams with "Jazz After Midnight" on WHAM out of Rochester, New York. I roamed the airwaves on Shortwave, QSLing (obtaining verification cards from a broadcaster that confirms your reception of their station) and building antennas. Even taking the radio "thing" one step further by incorporating our listening experience into a fictitious radio station: WVFQ - Radio 102. It was great!

Part Of The WAFB Receiver Site Antenna Farm With Mt. Tom In The BackgroundUnfortunately, the Vietnam War was still raging by the time I reached my 18th birthday and I ended up getting a "winning" number in the draft lottery (#75). Rather than wait for the Army to take me, I decided to join the USAF. My primary career aptitude: Radio (go figure)... On August 8th, 1972 I was on my way! Basic training at Lackland AFB (San Antonio, Texas); tech school at Keesler AFB (Biloxi, Mississippi); and finally my permanent base assignment as Ground Radio Communications Equipment Repairman (AFSC 30454) with the 18th Comm Squadron, 99th Bomb Wing, 8th Air Force, Strategic Air Command, at Westover AFB, Massachusetts (near Springfield). I worked at the Receiver Site located at the Stoney Brook section of the base. In 1975, I was transferred from Westover to the Air National Guard base at Battle Creek, Michigan, where I was a "weekend warrior" until receiving my honorable discharge in 1977.

Click here for the INW pageIn 1978 I came up with the idea of utilizing my radio knowledge and experience by providing local broadcasters with a radio-based news gathering resource called NEWS/SCAN. Two years later, the service was expanded to include news programming under a new name: Independent News Watch. There is much to tell about these two and that's worthy of another page (if you're interested, click the INW logo on the right).

N8HIB At Antenna Party, 1986In 1986 I finally became a licensed Amateur Radio Operator. My Novice callsign was KA8YWF and was changed to N8HIB when I upgraded later that year to Technician class. After passing my General and Advanced exams early in '87, I decided to keep N8HIB until the Advanced callsigns got close to a series I liked. You see, I had learned that certain ham callsigns were "heard better" by DX stations ("X" being a prime attention getter). Talk of vanity calls stirred my imagination... "WX" in radio shorthand means "Weather" and as I said earlier "DX" means "Distance" or contacting people in far away lands - two facets of the hobby I enjoy the most! When vanity callsigns became a reality, I patiently waited until FCC Vanity Application Gate 3 (for Advanced class licensees) opened and I submitted mine. WX8DX was issued to me in September 1997... eleven years later. Listen to my First Australian Contact (7 MB).

So that's my personal radio saga in a nutshell. And BTW, the strange background graphic for this site is Morse code for WX8DX Online. Thought I'd best relieve your frustration...

73 (Best wishes), de Craig, WX8DX

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