Paul Braun - WD9GCO


Anchor Desk, Reporter

Paul's personal biography:

Born in Chicago, my family moved to a little farming community in Southern Illinois called Steeleville in 1972. It was there that my 4th-grade teacher, Mr. Wasmund, taught me about the joys of electronics and Heathkit. Soon after Mr. Wasmund helped me build my first Heathkit, a transistor radio (the rectangular black-and-white one, if you remember those).

That led to shortwave listening, which started the radio bug. 

After meeting my Elmer, Steve Ramsey K9SR in early 1978, I got my Novice ticket (Steve snuck the code test by me by saying it was just another “practice session” and then announced that I had passed the test.) I upgraded to General the following year.

I attended Valparaiso University and, upon graduation, decided that I liked the city and stayed put.

College, followed by apartment life, marriage and condo (HOA) living kept me off of HF for the next 34 years (although I kept my license current.) I started listening to Ham Nation with the first episode out of curiosity, and got the itch for ham radio again. In August of 2014, I decided to live on the edge and installed a multiband vertical in my courtyard with not nearly enough radials (being HOA board president helped), fired up my original TS-520S that I've hung on to all those years, Googled the details for tuning the finals (it had been a long time, after all) and suddenly rediscovered how much fun the hobby was. After a couple of months, I treated myself to my second new radio, a TS-590S, because I felt that two new rigs in 35 years wasn't really overdoing things.

I am also a proud member (Number 141) of the 100 Watts And A Wire family ( and am a regular contributor to Christian's podcast.

Over the years, I've worked in radio at various local stations, designed sound for a local theatre company and produce an acoustic concert series there as well. I have worked in corporate IT for many years, currently at the University of Chicago. I also work for a production company at a local casino mixing live music on weekends and setting up and running A/V equipment for special events. I also manage social media outlets for several musicians. Once a nerd, always a nerd…

It was at the theatre where I met my wife, Sheri, and we've been married since 1987. No human children, but we do have a comfortable assortment of furry ones. One of them, a 14-pound white rescue kitty named Bowie is, in fact, attempting to stop me from typing this because he’s not being petted.

I'm active on HF, both SSB and the digital modes (and CW again once I polish off the rust); 2M FM for local repeaters, and UHF DMR. 

I was recruited by Don Wilbanks, AE5DW, and cannot truly express my gratitude for being invited to be part of such a respected organization. I remember listening to the Westlink Report on the Marissa, IL repeater when I was a kid, and now I get to help carry on Bill Pasternak's legacy. It's truly an honor.

Callsign:   WD9GCO
Contact:   QRZ