2021-2022 Nominations for the Board of Directors


Ralph Iden – WB9ICF  

Ralph is originally from Lake Geneva, but has resided in McHenry since 1984. Licensed as a teen, he is just shy of having his license for 50 years. After a brief 37-year hiatus to raise a family, he returned to the airwaves in 2017.

He enjoys operating on all of the amateur bands from 160m through 70cm. Although not an accomplished DXer or contester, he has been known to chase a little of each as well as brushing up on his CW skills. A life-long learner, Ralph is an experimenter, citizen scientist, and homebrewer.

Ralph is married to Sue, K-A-9-E-U-W, who lives up to her phonetics as an “Extremely Understanding Woman”. They have two grown children.

Ralph has served as MCWA Secretary in 2020 and President this past year.

Vice President

Dan Larson – KD9M    

Dan Larson is a graduate of Milwaukee School of Engineering and has been an Electrical Engineer for the last 21 years.  He’s been a HAM operator since 2014 receiving his Extra class license in 2016. 

Dan has been a member of MCWA since 2014 serving as Secretary in 2019 and Vice President in 2020 and 2021.  Dan’s interests includes the following: Digital, SSB, DX, working to become comfortable on CW, creating new projects and writing embedded code to make things work easier. 

MCWA Field Day coordinator 2021


Dean Hettel – WC9C   

Licensed spring of 1977 as a novice. Upgraded to General summer of 1978, working mainly HF CW & some SSB and occasional 2 meter FM.

Prior member of Starved Rock Radio Club & Ottawa Ham Radio Clubs. Had hiatus from ham radio from 1984 – 2016 Field Day.  Roger – KF9D invited me to Field Day 2016 and made some contacts at the GOTA Station with the help of Jack – W9MU. I was ready to get my station setup and back on the air with a lot of help from Roger – KF9D.

Attended my first MCWA meeting in November 2017 and became a member in December 2017. MCWA members have been very helpful, encouraging me to upgrade my license and further build my station and learn new areas of ham radio since 1984.

Elected Treasurer in 2019 and 2020 and looking forward to another exciting year of MCWA activities. Spring 2019 enrolled in CWOps Level II class to help regain some of my past CW skills. Upgraded to Extra May 30, 2020.

Hoping to get my station more computerized this year and may venture into digital modes if successful.

Member of MCWA Field Day Team 2020, 2021




Gary Kaatz - W9TDGary Kaatz – W9TD

Gary is originally from Michigan, but has been in Illinois since he joined Motorola in 1973. There, he was on the team that developed the first portable cellular phone and also designed the receiver IC used in it. For the rest of his career, he continued designing and then managing the development of RF and IF ICs for cellular phones.

Gary has been licensed since 1966 and has operated on most bands 160-2 meters and 70 cm but never on 80 or 6 until recently. His new rig is the first that includes 6. He currently operates 40-6 mostly on digital modes using an attic fan dipole but has plans to build a 160/80 and maybe 60 loop antenna. In the mid-80’s, he was part of the Illinois group of TAPR packet TNC beta testers. He also operated a 2-meter packet BBS and HF gateway. He ran HF packet propagation tests on 30 with WB4APR, of more recent APRS fame, shortly after the band became available. This experience motivated him to ditch vacuum tube radios and get a synthesized rig for stability which he used for more than 30 years. In the mid-2000’s, he became interested in software defined radio and used QRP SDR kit transceivers (Softrock) mostly on PSK31. He has also been involved with home computers since he wire-wrapped an 8080-based computer with 4k of memory in 1977. He is currently working with single-board microcontrollers like the ESP8266, ESP32 and the Arduino Nano 33 BLE.

Gary has made several presentations  for MCWA covering inexpensive test equipment and is part of the MCWA FD Team.


David Whiteside – N9BSA

My name is David Whiteside and I live in Marengo, Illinois. Retired from the Army in 1993 after 26 years all over the World. I served in Viet Nam to Gulf War.

I became a FCC licensed CB operator at age 12 in Odessa, Tx with an FCC call sign of KQV 5228 and always wanted to be a ham operator but never had the money, time or code experience.

While in the Army I volunteered to operate the MARS stations on bases where I was assigned. (Germany, Belgium, England, Alaska, Viet Nam and US – Ft Polk, FT Gordon, Goodfellow AFB, Shepard AFB, White Sands Missile Range …)

Working with Boy Scouts / Explorers earning merit badges and qualifications. Many many years later at the Boy Scout Jamboree in 1993, I became a No-code Tech (KB9RGW) with some of my scouts for fun and started learning the hobby. I Joined RARA Rockford and SATERN after a couple years became a board member and served for 4 years. In 1999 I stepped back for a break but continued to stay in the club working field day, jamboree on the air, city events, bike races and net control for Rockford SATERN (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network).

My Sea Scouts wanted to do Satellite, moon bounce slow scan tv and APRS so the FT 847 with a 6-meter module, GT 5400 AZ rotor with stacked cross element Yagi’s is the way we went 75 ft crank up tower. (SK) WB9MMM was our mentor. As the scouts left and went off to college, I sold the Yagi’s, tower and rotor and left the hobby for a while.

Later in life about 15 years + I upgraded to a general and am working on extra now.

I am studying all aspects of the hobby and enjoy mostly learning from those who are more experienced. I work on my CW about 20 – 30 mins a day but struggle a lot but won’t give up.

I have an FT 847 with HF 2m 440 6m   new 2019 I upgraded to   / ICOM 9700 / 7300. ICOM 703 w/ solar panels for QRP and POTA and a go box.

2021 I upgraded Radio to a Flex 6400M with the Q5 2M Inverter.

Tower 48 Ft not up yet.

Antennas – and 3 wire dipoles M2 Leo Pak Yagi and the 2m 440 eggbeaters for roaming. 6M