David Zahler, W2DZ

I earned my Novice ticket in 1974 under the elmering of George Weiner, K2CQM, at an after-school program. About a month later I received WA2LUL as my FCC assigned call. In 1979 I upgraded to my technician (now tech plus) by making the trek to Varick Street in Lower Manhattan.

After getting licensed, I wasn't active until early 1982 when I bought my first 2 meter mobile radio, a Kenwood TR-7400A, from Harrison Radio on Route 110 in Farmingdale, NY. From there I became active in LIMARC, the local repeater club. The fall of 1982 saw my first major public service event, mile 13.5 of the New York City Marathon, under the management of Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML (SK). Through that time, I dabbled on and off on the HF bands, but was mostly involved with the technical committee of LIMARC, working on the repeaters as well as serving as the ARES DEC for the Town of Oyster Bay.

Late 1995 through 2000 saw a radical shift in my life. An October wedding to my XYL, Karen, N2OFL and six months later, a move from Long Island to Central New Jersey and most importantly, the birth of our son Clay in October of 1999. These changes removed me from most of my Ham activities, except for the Marathon. 2011 rounded out my 30th year participating in that event, most of which as a senior staff communications shadow. It was kind of hard to believe when I figured out the number of years I have been involved.

In 2006 we had a house fire, fortunately no one was hurt, but Karen and I lost all our gear. After witnessing the disaster of hurricane Katrina from afar, I decided to replace some of the UHF/VHF gear with HF gear that can be used portable, so that I could be a more effective first responder in the event that I am needed. At the same time I upgraded to Extra. Shortly there after, I found out the W2DZ was available and made the difficult decision to change calls. I'm hoping that Clay gets his ticket and he can grab WA2LUL back for the family. In late 2011, after being in our new house for several years, I got around to putting up an antenna and the DX bug has biten me. Finally, I never was one for CW operations, but I'm now in the process relearning code and hopefully will able to get on the air on that mode soon.

Aside from Ham radio, I was an active sailboat cruiser/racer on both my own boat, Topsy Turvy, a 30' sloop rigged Hunter, as well as a navigator on Never Again II, a 40' Hunter, on which we sailed in the around Long Island Regatta as well as winning the 1996 sailing of the Naples — Key West Regatta. I still occasionally race on NAII, but we've all slowed down a bit.

I spent a bit of time SCUBA diving along Long Island, mostly on wrecks scattered along the south shore. This area is known as Wreck Valley and is littered with wrecks running the gambit from  the Lizzie D, a prohibition rum runner, to the USS San Diego, a WWI armored cruiser.

Now I spend some time in the saddle, road biking. Unfortunately I've slowed down on this front as well. It's been about six years since riding at my peak and doing centuries (100 miles). Now I get out when I can, which isn't as often as it should be.

Also, I do a bit of amateur astronomy. I am a Keyholder with the Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton. We spend most Friday nights  between the beginning of April through the end of October holding an open house at our observatory in Washington Crossing State Park that houses a 14" Celestron, Schmidt-Cassegrain  and an antique 6.25" refractor, showing the public different object in the night sky, from the Moon and most of the planets al the way to deep sky objects outside of our galaxy. Many a night, weather permitting, I might be found set up in my driveway with my 9.25" Celestron observing and sharing with neighbors that my be passing by.

Professionally, I am an IT Consultant, primarily working on Content Management Systems (mostly Drupal) and client server and SQL server application development primarily in C#. I have been on my own for about nine years now. Before that I worked for various marketing and design firms, managing interactive developers.