I started SWLing in the early days of 1983 (I was 15). At that time, it was almost BCL with a galena receiver. Reading some radio magazines, I then discovered the Ham world and bands. For 1986 Christmas, Santa Claus brought at home a FRG8800. I then started the "serious" activity. I asked for a SWL call : F11FFC. Thanks to Pierre, F11ADB (now F10095 ), my first steps in Awards chasing have been easier. I entered the D.I.G. (Germany) 1 year later.
During the 1989 Summer, I got my Ham ticket (VHF+). But I had to wait till december before receiving my call : FC1PBL. In the meantime, I purchased a brend new FT290RII. I am sure we all remember our first QSO but I am not sure that Jean-Luc, FE1JCH has understood something of my transmission, hi !
My VHF trafic was almost done on SSB, chasing locators and French departments. The antenna was a 16 elements yagi, powered by the 25 watts of the FT290RII. My best DX was made with OK2UCM (JN18HW <-> JN99FN : 1148 km - SSB), my "anti-DX" QSO remaining FE6FNA (about 800 meters !).
The HF licence came in 1991, after about 1 year CW training off air or on the 2m band. FD1PBL started his activity the 20th of September 1991. Jean-Pierre, FE6FNA, kindly lended me an Atlas 210X. With my long wire, my very first HF QSO has been made with ZL4OD. That was a DX !!
My HF activity was increasing, day after day. Five months after my 1st QSO on 20m, I got a TS-450S. This transceiver is still the one I am using now. And then, again a new start : my 1st CW QSO, with a good friend of mine : Pavel, LZ1EO. With Angel, LZ1CY (SK in 2018, RIP), we used to have weekly skeds. They have given me the will to learn CW and to use it ! Because of that, the microphone of the Kenwood transceiver has been disconnected ...
I spent most of my summer holidays in Bulgaria. There, I was lucky enough to be able to work as LZ/FD1PBL and then under my own call : LZ5KF
I used to be active on Packet on the 2m band but the Paris area was really under a constant "traffic jam" and that was not so funny to get disconnected every 10 minutes. I gave up.
Contest after contest, my CW skills were improving. And the pleasure to make "normal" contacts also. I was trying to enter contests regularly : DIG (both CW and SSB), WPX (CW and VHF), CQ WW CW, LZ DX, ... This helped me collecting QSOs and QSLs for some awards. During these contests, my goal has always been to do "better than last year". Starting from "nothing", that was quite easily done at the beginning ;-)
09th of June 1993 : again a new call : FD1PBL became F5PBL (CEPT Class 1).
In 2001 I discovered the QRP World and actually I am now a real addict !
My present DXCC status is not so high, but you know ... "Le principal est de participer" (Pierre de Coubertin) !
72/73 de Claude, F5PBL / LZ5KF