W9RE Michael Wetzel
Team: North America 9 (Team Leader)
Occupation: Electrical Engineer
I became interested in radio at age 10 and got my ticket at age 13 in 1962. My first call was WN9BWY, then WA9BWY and finally W9RE since 1976. I was introduced to contesting in 1963 by happening on to the phone SS contest with short skip on 15 meters and I was sought after (runs). I distinctly remember the 1964 CQWW SSB contest where I operated a single band 15 (only Yagi antenna) and I worked about 50 stations the whole weekend with a few Africans but not a single European in the log.
In 1970, after college, I got serious about contesting. My wife (Ann) and I were married that year and built a house on 9 acres in 1975. I have five towers up now-108’, 150’, 160’, 170’ and 200’ with a total of 22 Yagis – of which 90% are homebrew. I also installed 2- 8 vertical receiving arrays (W8JI) for 160 and 80.
Since about 1986, N9RV and I have been good friends and for the years that Pat didn’t have a station and lived in Indiana he operated at my station. He also encouraged me on to put up more antennas and helped me do that.
Over the past decade I have operated from PJ4R (3), PJ2T, HP1XX, TI5N, HC8N and VP2ME. Since I have worked at home for the last 35 years, I’ve been able to adjust work schedules and home schedules to fit in with the contests.
Looking forward to the WRTC to renew old acquaintances and meet some contesters that I have not met in person before. The camaraderie of all the participants, referees and organizers is the pinnacle of the contesting fraternity.