Ann Santos, WA1S
(formerly KA1DNB, 1979)
I was only licensed as a Novice for 9 months but it was Amateur Radio that led to my career in Electronics.
It was in my Senior year of high school (living in Rhode Island) and I still was undecided on what I wanted to do as a career. With the help of Jerry, AA1Q, and Bob, AF1I (the principle of my High school) I was first licensed as a Novice in June of 1979 as KA1DNB. Bob convinced me to sit in on an Electronics class as an observer to see what it was all about. Jerry, AA1Q taught me the Novice theory and gave me my Novice test. It took me 2 weeks to learn the code enough to pass 5 WPM. The code came natural to me and it wasn’t long before I was copying 20 WPM. Being the only licensed HAM in my family no one really understood what HAM radio was all about. Every day I would come home from school and listen to the ARRL code bulletins on my $10 Hallicrafters receiver. With a little the persuasion from Bob and Jerry I decided to pursue a career in Electronics. The day after graduating High School on 11 June 1979 I started 2 years of Electronics at Rhode Island School of Electronics (RISE).
It wasn’t until about 6 months later I saved enough money to purchase my first transceiver (Tempo One) and finally got on the air. My first contact was with Roger, KA8AWT. I was so nervous I never told him he was my first contact. My second contact was later that day with Bob, AF1I. I loved Morse code and it wasn’t long before I was copying 20 WPM. I joined the Fall River Amateur Radio Club and Apple Valley Amateur Radio Club. It wasn’t long before I signed up to upgrade my license in a class taught by Pat, K1QVF. I upgraded to General in March of 1980 on the 16th floor of the Customs house in Boston. I participated in my first Field Day in June 1980 aboard the Battleship Massachusetts which was aired on Channel 6 News. In October 1980, I along with Cliff, WA1ZCD (study partner and mentor) upgraded to Extra. I graduated from RISE in 1981 with a 96% average. It wasn’t long after I got out of school that I was hired at Foxboro Company working as an Electronics Troubleshooter. In 1982 I began attending college nights. It took me 8 years of night school while working full time during the day. I was the first woman to graduate with a B.S. Degree in Computer Engineering from Roger Williams College. Today I work as an Electronics Engineer for the Federal Aviation Administration and have been with them for 16 years.