|Website and Personal|
The above was a wedding day picture of The Thunderbolt webmaster, and his wife, Janice...who was a Co-Sysop in his BBS (computer bulletin board system), detailed below. Sadly, she died on April 27, 2007...this website is continued in her memory.
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* Amateur Radio - After taking and passing both the Novice and Technician theory license exams for the No Code Technician license in late June, 1991. I used HamTestOnline, in the summer of 2007, to upgrade from Technician to General in 14 days...then to Amateur Extra 13 days later. My original callsign history is as follows...the first one was sequential, the other three were known as vanity callsigns:
N5VLZ -- 1991 to 2009
AE5WX -- 2009 to 2012
WX1DER -- 2012 to 2019
WX4QZ -- 2019 for the rest of my life
More details on my involvement in the amateur radio hobby, are available here -- scroll down, and click on QRZ Bio.
* Square Dancing - I graduated from class in December, 1985... have danced through Advanced (A2), and attended various festivals when my schedule permitted. After a 5 year hiatus from square dancing after the 2002 National Square Dance Convention in Minneapolis...due to job and health concerns...I restarted square dancing in 2007, a few months after my wife's untimely death. I am Webmaster, Circulation Chairman, and Editor for the Arkansas State Square Dance Federation. Most of my work is done OFF the square dance floor, behind the scenes, as it were. I even did some amateur square dance calling several years ago...but can no longer do it, due to health reasons. It's not as easy as it looks, and you now MUST have a license to be a caller...which is obtainable from either the American Callers Association, or Callerlab. These licenses, which require yearly payment for renewal, are due to license and royalty agreements with the American Society Of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), and Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI)...for the use of the music for dances. The fee paid is dependent on the amount of dances the square dance caller, round dance cuer, or line dance instructor, does over the course of a year.
* Gospel Songwriting - I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour on March 28, 1978, during a ''revival'' meeting with Evangelist Rick Ingle...who was at one time, a ghetto gang leader in the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The next day, I had all four wisdom teeth removed...talk about a baptism by fire!! However, the decision to accept Christ was the SMARTEST one that I had ever made in my life...and it can be for you as well.
I've been writing Gospel Poetry...some put to music...for over 40 years; and did free mini concerts at area churches from time to time, when health and schedule permitted...but, that's no longer the case. My Gospel Poetry collection, with over 450 poems (mostly sacred, and some secular), is online; be sure to click on the Get A Free Gift link...you'll be Eternally Grateful for what it has, if you accept it.
* BBS Sysop - I started running a BBS on a Radio Shack 32K Model 100 laptop computer in December, 1990. The BBS was run in loving memory of my late wife and Co-Sysop, Janice E.H. Stout, who died on April 27, 2007. For more details on what a BBS is, click here.
I was also computer guru for my Mom (my Dad and brother hated them). I lost my Dad to pancreatic cancer in February, 2007, 2 1/2 months before my wife died (as noted above), and lost my Mom to congestive heart failure in August, 2019. Due to various issues, the BBS ran from 1992 to 2021. At this time, if I put it back into cloud, it will NOT have any doorgames (because Microsoft got rid of legacy support)...so, I may let it just disappear forever.
* Weather - I'm a certified National Weather Service Skywarn Severe Weather Storm Spotter, providing severe weather reports to the Little Rock, Arkansas, National Weather Service Office. I also am co-moderator of the FIDONet Weather Message Area. Unfortunately, I can no longer watch weather videos, as they give me horrifying nightmares.
Note that I am NOT a Storm Chaser, because it is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS, and NOT FOR AMATEURS. For a comparison of Storm Spotting and Storm Chasing, as well as safety rules, click here. Due to burn out on weather and ham radio for over 28 years, I am no longer involved with ham radio weather nets.
* Trains - I've been a railfan all my life, and preferred Amtrak as my mode of travel. When traveling by train, I boarded The Texas Eagle at Little Rock, Arkansas. Being FULLY DISABLED, it was easier for me to travel by train...and by going Sleeping Car, my meals in the Dining Car were INCLUDED in the price of my ticket (passengers traveling in Coach may dine for a modest additional fare). Unfortunately, due to health and financial issues, I no longer travel outside the State Of Arkansas, let alone Pulaski County (the Little Rock Metro Area).
Note that Sleeping Car space SELLS OUT QUICKLY, but Amtrak allows you to book as much as ELEVEN MONTHS IN ADVANCE of a trip. If you have to CANCEL your trip at the last minute (as I've had to do several times), REFUND CONDITIONS APPLY...see the Amtrak Website for details.
And, I'm the ''Conductor'' for the weekly amateur radio D-Star Trains And Railroads Net on The QuadNet Array on Friday evenings at 7pm U.S. Central Time. Thanks to the administrators at The QuadNet Array for use of it for the net.
You MUST be a licensed amateur radio operator to participate in the net. Once you have checked in, a commemorative certificate is sent in Adobe Acrobat PDFformat, to your email address...with your name, amateur radio callsign, and the date you first checked into the Net. The net is done IN HONOR of its predecessor, that ran on RF and Echolink for over 8 years...and is done IN LOVING MEMORY of my late uncle, K3VRM, who gave me my love of ham radio and trains. A YouTube Video, done by Gary Wilt, N2NJY, with pictures, accompanying the story on the D-Star Trains Net, from the Sept. 22, 2017 edition of the Amateur Radio Newsline, is located click here. This was done with my former ham radio callsign of WX1DER...the current callsign, WX4QZ stands for ''Whistled Crossings For Quiet Zones''. Some railroads use W for the grade crossing warning (whistle), or X for the crossing ahead. QZ is short for quiet zone, where the train horn is NOT SOUNDED at a crossing, unless there is an emergency of people, etc. on the track. For more information on railroad crossing safety, click here. For a YouTube Video from the Arkansas And Missouri Railroad Memorial Day Troop Train Passenger Excursion, operating 20 meters HF Railroad Mobile, click here. And for a look at yours truly in his authentic Conductors Outfit, purchased from Train Conductor Costumes, click here, and click on the photo in the upper right.
* Puns - An example of a pun is ''when I changed the light bulbs in my apartment ceiliing fan, it was the high light of my day''. Basically, a pun is a ''play on words''. I've taken part in the World Championship Pun-Off at The O. Henry Museum in Austin, Texas. As one punster eloquently put it...''the beauty in the pun is in the ARGH! (groan) of the person you tell it to!!''.
* Quartet Singing - I've always been a fan of unaccompanied quartet harmony...but, it's not as easy as it looks...and it's HARDER than singing in a church or school choir!! They also do Singing Valentines to bring a smile to the love of your life around Valentine's Day each year. More details are located at the Barbershop Harmony Society website. Unfortunately, declining health no longer permits me to take part in these groups...but, I still enjoy listening to them perform.
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I am webmaster for the following sites, besides this one:
1) Arkansas State Square Dance Federation
2) Hammin' In The Park
3) Cabot Nightflyers Net
1) I had worn glasses since 1969...but in early 2010, I had successful cataract removal and intraocular lens implant surgery at McFarland Eye Center in Little Rock. I went from 20/2000 in both eyes to 20/20 visual acutiy. I don't need glasses anymore to drive, but still need reading glasses while at the computer...shades when I'm outside during the day, and yellow glasses when I drive at night.
2) I've had arches built into my feet in 1971, as I was born without them. Without them, I would likely have been in a wheelchair many years ago...and I may eventually have to be in one anyway, due to severe arthritis, along with other disabilities...I'm been FULLY DISABLED since July, 2004. While I don't have that many medications to take, I have a LONG LIST of medical conditions. These include...among others...daily migraine headaches, daily abdominal cramps, kidney stones, ''sympathy sickness'', inability to regulate my body temperature, hypersensitivity to anesthetics, increased arthritis (especially in my arms and legs...and it has been determined that I have degenerative disk disease in my spinal column), allergic to stinging insects, and sleep apnea. So I'm a ''basket case'', health wise.
3) I've worn dentures since 2000, after my teeth deteroriated over the years. While I don't have to worry about cavities anymore, I have to be careful NOT to drop the plates, as they're EXPENSIVE to replace!! However, I was able to get a new set of dentures at Affordable Dentures...for around $400 (prices may vary).
4) I was married to the former Janice Elaine Harvey on May 18, 2003...sadly, a heart attack claimed her life on April 27, 2007. For details on Janice's life, click here.
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