Bill's Personal Biography
Among many other things, I am the Producer/Writer of the weekly Amateur Radio Newsline ham radio bulletin service. I co-founded Newsline as the Westlink Radio Network (with Jim Hendershot WA6VQP) in 1976 and our first bulletin aired in 1977.
I learned that ham radio existed back when I was only age 13. I was interested in things electric and radio and hung around a television repair shop in Brooklyn, New York run by the late Warren Spindler, K2IXN. One day I walked in to find Warren talking into a microphone connected to an odd looking box. When Warren stopped talking the voice of a little girl answered him. Warren told me that they were talking over ham radio.
The young girls name was Barbara Sue Parks -- nickname "Babs" -- and only 10 years old. I do not remember her callsign but getting to say hello to her on Warrens radio changed my life forever. It would be another 5 years before I would get my first license. That was in 1959 in New York as WA2HVK.
I love the hands-on approach to ham radio and built my very first transmitter using parts salvaged from an old DuMont television set. It was a modification of a design by Bill Orr, W6SAI published in his famous Novice and Technician Handbook. A crystal controlled low power 6 meter AM transmitter that doubled in the final, was screen grid modulated and put out almost no output power. Even so, using only an indoor long-wire antenna, a deaf L&W Converter and Heathkit AR-2 receiver my first contact was into Orlando, Florida. Meeting Bill was one of the highlights of my ham radio career.
During the 60s and into the 70s I spent most of my ham radio life chasing DX on 6 meters with Larry Levy, WA2INM. Larry had a rather neat 40 watt AM station and 5 element Telrex Beam and if it could be heard, Larry could work it. So he and I went into competition with other great 6 meter AM DXers and contesters of that era.
I also learned to fly and operated aero-mobile from my friend Steven Crow, WA2CPX, AeroCommander 560 twin. Maybe you heard about the club we formed to run contests from 10,000' MSL above New Jersey. We were called the "Flying Amateur Radio Team".
In 1978 I was a part of the ham radio engineering team that built and installed the nations very first 15 Khz "split-split" 2 meter repeater. Its callsign was WA2ZWP and it was located atop the Williamsburg Bank Building in Brooklyn, New York.
Since then, I have written two best-selling technical books, authored the "Looking West" column for 73 Magazine for 22 years and served as Editor of the Westlink Report Newsletter for 11 years. (At this time I am working on my first novel tentatively titled "Geeks" that is due out this fall.)
I have also written and published countless articles in Amateur Radio, hobby electronics and broadcast related periodicals; produced, co-produced and/or directed most ham radio films and video's released by ARRL or AMSAT since 1980. I am very much indebted to my mentors Dave Bell, W6AQ; Alan Kaul, W6RCL and the late Roy Neal, K6DUE, for having the time and patience to teach me the production side of the television production business.
Currently I write the "VHF, FM and Repeater" column for Worldradio Magazine, produce Amateur Radio Newsline(tm), write the e-zine colum titled "Other Side of the Control Room Glass" for the very popular HalEisner.com broadcast industry website and administer Newslines "Young Ham of the Year"award program that I created in 1986.
I hold membership in the American Radio Relay League, the Quarter Century Wireless Association and the Radio Club of America.
Over the years I has received several awards in recognition of my contributions to the Amateur Radio Service. These include the DARA Special Achievement Award (1981), the ARRL Southwester Division Meritorious Service Award (1988), the DARA Radio Amateur of the Year (1989), the AMSAT Outstanding Contributions Award (1990), the ARRL National Certificate of Merit (1995) and the QCWA Hall of Fame Award (2005).
I am employed as a Broadcast Engineer with KTTV Fox 11 Television News and was awarded a local"Emmy" 1n 1984 in recognition of my contributions to the then "Channel 11 10 PM News." In the summer of 1996 we moved into a brand new studio located directly across the street from Henry Radio in Los Angeles. My work schedule is late afternoon through midnight. This is how I have the time to do many of the things I enjoy like my producing Newsline and authoring my monthly Worldradio column.
I also serve as a Broadcast Consultant in the design and installation of digital and analog television post production facilities and as an independent educational/industrial film and video producer and writer.
About my family
My wife Sharon and I went to Alaska in September 1996 to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.
Sharon became a ham right after the FCC enacted the no-code Technician license. She was in Gordon West, WB6NOA Radio School first Codefree Technician class and graduated with honors. Her call sign is KB6EPW.
Sharons favorite past time is collecting old toys. Like most collectors she also buys and sells.
She also likes to visit places devoted to science and space such as Spacecamp in Huntsville.
While we have no children of our own, we were blessed with a lovely foster daughter named Kelly. Some of you may remember Kelly Howard, N6PNY, as one of two teen co-hosts of the ARRL video The New World of Amateur Radio.
In 1990 she met and married Steven Lenhert. They have four children: Michael, Aimee, Amber and Matthew.
In addition to ham radio, my other interests are travel, live musical theater, cycling, swimming, aviation and photography. I'm lucky to live in Southern California. During the spring, summer and early fall I try to spend at least an hour a day swimming and another half hour a day riding my old Sears Free Spirit bike around the neighborhood. I also enjoy sitting in a Jacuzzi talking ham radio with my friend and writing partner Dave Booth, KC6WFS.
I started in photography when I was 9 using a Kodak Brownie Flash Six-Twenty box camera. I went through several others like the Brownie Hawkeye, Argoflex, etc before getting my first real camera in 1957 a Ricohflex 2 1/4 x 2 1/4. I graduated down to 35 MM with an Argus C-3, Kowa E-35 and then to a used Nikon F2 Photomic in the early 1960s. I sold that to go back into 2 1/4 but found it had become very expensive. So I purchased a Pracktika LTL, followed by a Sears branded Pentex Spotmatic, a Minolta MD system and finally the Canon EOS system that I still use. The Canon EOS is in my opinion the best 35mm film SLR available today. I also have several autofocus point and shoot 35 mm cameras. My all time favorite is the tiny Olympus Stylus that lives in my pocket. (I also have a Canon A-70 digital point and shoiot, but I still shoot a lot more film than digital.)