I began drawing cartoons in the early 90s.  They started out as doodles in my college notebooks, and my friends liked them so much, I started experimenting with the idea of intentionally drawing actual cartoons.  I passed out a few samples, and before long, my cartoons began showing up on bulletin boards, and one thing led to another.

About that time, I had ham radio on the brain (sound familiar?), and had recently been re-licensed as a ham myself.  I found myself and my fellow hams were excellent cartoon material, so I shifted my subject matter from electronics to ham radio.

I submitted a few cartoons to the local ham radio club paper, and to my surprise, they ended up being published.  As time went on, my cartoons started looking less and less like stick people.  Eventually I began surveying my ham friends and trying to fine tune my work for more efficient "humor transfer".  Now my cartoons are guaranteed pre-tested by actual hams, under "laboratory conditions"!

Many people recognize the fact that I am very influenced by the work of my favorite cartoonist, Gary Larsen.   I am the first to admit this.  I was totally nuts over "The Far Side" since I first saw it.  I remember waking up one night because I had been dreaming about a Far Side cartoon, and was actually laughing in my sleep.

From the beginning I felt like The Far Side was a cartoon that hit my sense of humor right on the mark.  (Obviously there were a few other people out there that felt the same way!)  It was a significant influence in my desire to be a cartoonist.

Other favorites of mine are Charles Addams, Jeff Koterba, and Scott Adams.  Of course anyone who likes ham radio cartoons will think of Robert Beasley, now retired, who was a great ham radio cartoonist for many years, and whose work is well known the world over in Amateur Radio circles.  Bob has become an acquaintance of mine, and he has helped me learn from his experiences as a ham radio cartoonist--mainly that there is no money in it! How true that is! But there is a lot of satisfaction in it, which is the important thing to me.

My cartoons have been published in a number of quality amateur radio publications, for the past two years or so.   They have appeared in such publications as Antennex, Amateur Radio Trader, 73 Amateur Radio Today,  Worldradio, and FBOM Online.  The list of publications in which my cartoons appear, continues to grow.  Thanks to the addition of Antennex (online), my cartoons are now seen in over150 countries.  I am even infiltrated some unsuspecting foreign amateur radio printed publications.   I have also done a few general interest cartoons as well. After a severe knee injury in 1999, I was off work for many months, having two consecutive reconstructive surgeries plus rehab time, and I was able to put together the book, "N0UJR and His Friends". Keep in mind that I was on drugs a lot of the time while doing the book, as I was still healing from the knee surgeries. Recently, I have been away from the drawing table for a couple of years, waiting for someone to break my other knee, so I have the time to draw again!

The Long Term N0UJR story-

I have been a ham for a number of years, and an electronics technician for over 25 years. 

Previously I have worked in two-way radio communications, and worked free lance in consumer electronic repair, satellite TV systems, industrial controls, and even done a fair amount of  communications tower work at heights up to 1400 feet.  (Note the frequent tower cartoons in my work)

For about 10 years, in the 70's and 80's, I worked as an avionics and aircraft instrument technician. I have done maintenance on navigation, guidance instrumentation, and communication equipment, on everything from Learjets to U.S. Army Cobra helicopters.  Aircraft instrument repair was one of my all time favorite jobs. My specialty was aircraft gyros, which required performing the work in clean rooms.

In the late 90s and early 00s, after going back to college for a while to complete a degree, I was a technician for the local 911 Center, maintaining the console electronics equipment, the 800 Mhz EDACS trunked radio system, and lots of other related equipment. This was an interesting and challenging job, which I held for several years, but I found that I'm not cut out to be a good "government worker".

I left my job with 911 to try another run at General aviation avionics service. I spent two years in avionics, and gained some very good experience in servicing many types of aircraft, including corporate jets, air ambulances, and helicopters.

I left that job and attempted to make the part time government surplus reselling business I had been running for 5 years out of my home, into my full time job. This turned out to be a much more difficult challenge than I had anticipated, and with the economy not doing so well, and after about a year, I found it necessary to get a full time job once again. I returned to a local company related to land mobile radio, that has been doing extremely well in the last few months, and enjoy it very much.

Going back to my early years...I was originally bitten by the radio bug at age 13.  I built a little three stage transistor radio on a breadboard, from  plans I found in an Audel book on radio.   I played around with it, and eventually found that by re-tuning the coils, I was able to get into the lower short wave broadcast bands.  I started hearing english language broadcasts from Europe and South America.  I didn't know this was possible at the time, and was totally flabbergasted.  I was hooked on radio ever since.  Later I built a "Knight Kit, Star Roamer" short wave receiver, which was a very enjoyable and memorable experience.

I got my first novice license in the early 70's.  I was originally licensed with the call sign "WD0EMJ".  After getting married and having children, I let my ham radio hobby fade out for a number of years.  About 7 years ago, my interest was re-kindled, and I was soon licensed again as N0UJR.

I have an interest in almost every aspect of amateur radio, but my my main interests are HF radio, and VHF/UHF mobile communications.  I have enjoyed doing conversions on commercial two-way radios to ham frequencies, and home building QRP transceivers from scratch.

Storm Spotting

When I was a teenager, I survived a tornado (on two occasions, no less).  Once in 1967, my house was damaged from a tornado passing over it just above the ground.  I was in the basement at the time, with my family, and I will never forget the roaring sound, and the vibrations in the ground from heavy objects impacting.

I had actually seen it coming...a snow white funnel against a fierce black sky, coming straight for my house.  It was a feeling of terror like I had never known before or since.

I have always had a fascination with severe weather.  (In Nebraska we usually have plenty of it too.)  As a result, I have been heavily involved in the local Amateur Radio Emergency Service storm spotting group, for a number of years.

Perhaps it's just another sign of insanity to rush out to hill tops, just before the arrival of severe storms, intense lightning, high winds, hail, and the threat of tornados, but I feel it is a valuable and critical service to the community.  No matter how high tech the local radar is, there is no substitute for a trained pair of eyes, and what the public needs most, is warning time, when a tornado approaches.

Close encounter of the worst kind...

Many years ago I had a very close brush with a rain wrapped tornado, while driving on an isolated two lane highway in the country.  I had encountered a very very severe thunderstorm, and had slowed to a crawl due to extremely heavy rain.  I could barely see past the hood of the car.  All of a sudden I heard a loud roar, and felt a powerful wind shaking the car.  My ears started popping.  I felt the car lift, feeling it loose contact with the ground momentarily, and spin around.  Then it dropped back onto the ground and came to a stop.  When the rain ended seconds later, the car was in the ditch, facing the opposite direction, about 40 or 50 feet from where I had started.  (I hate it when that happens!)



Urban Search and Rescue-

I was previously a Communications Specialist for the National Urban Search and Rescue team (USAR), Nebraska Task Force One, located here in Lincoln, Nebraska, for about 6 years.  This group specializes in quick response structural collapse rescue.
I have written an article on my experience on a deployment to the DeBruce grain elevator disaster  in June of 1998.  If you are interested in emergency communications, you may want to take a look at it:

 N0UJR sent with Search and Rescue Team to Haysville Elevator Disaster.