Hi, I'm Jan OK2ZAW and this is my story
I was born in 1984 to young parents at a time when our country was isolated from the modern West.
My father worked as an electrician and devoted himself to the home production of what could not be bought here. As a result, the smell of soldering iron has been intoxicating to me since I was born.
At the age of three I took the plunge and started soldering my first projects 🙂 A broken LED was much worse than burnt fingers. I still have three colour triangular-head LEDs hidden away that my parents bought to me in DDR when I was 3.
"I discovered brand new world - the world of wireless"
The next breakthrough came about five years later, when my parents bought me a pair of "CB Style Original Walkie Talkie" in Poland and I discovered brand new world - the world of wireless. I was figuring out how to extend the range without any knowledge whatsoever.
Soon, my father's colleague got a CB and it didn't take long for us to get an Albrecht AE-2844 handheld and an antenna on the roof. At the cottage, I started to invent antennas and made vertical parts out of wood and hoisted them up the tree.
A few years later I saw SSB operation on 11m in a friend's hamshack. It was like a dream. At Christmas (around 1997) I got a TRX Dragon SS485 - FM, SSB TRX with 10W. Gradually I made various modifications and new 2el Cubical Quad grew on the roof. I lived in a classic radio amateur's apartment - 1st floor of 12 = about 70m of coax 🙂
Thanks to a good antenna and the activity of the Sun at that time it was possible to work with the whole world even with a few Watts. There was more interest in SSTV and Packet Radio at 11m.
It was an amazing time of discovery and devouring articles in magazines and on the borning internet. I had no idea that one day I would know these radio amateurs personally and even venture out into the world with some of them on crazy DXpeditions.
"I got my OK2ZAW callsign"
In 2000, thanks to the local radio club OK2KFK and Jirka OK2PDE, I did my tests for amateur radio bands. I learned CW. At the beginning it was very difficult, then I recorded the texts on audio tape and played it every day when I went fishing. I wasn't very good at fishing, but CW got better and better. A few days before my 16th birthday I got my OK2ZAW callsign. A new world opened up for me. It was a bit sad that at the end it was not nicer than 11m SSB, where the contact wasn't just 59 and hello. But about letters, chatting, stamps and coins.
Somewhere around 2002 I met Marek OK2DL, soon I started helping him and he brought me to OL2R - VHF/UHF contest station. It was my first touch of the VHF contesting.
I also met new friends like Ondra OK1CDJ, Zdeno OK2ZW, Ruda OK2ZZ, Honza OK1MAC and others. I learned a lot about building VHF/UHF equipment and contest QTH. Also 2m EME, which excited me and I made about 8 QSOs with a 12el hand-operated antenna before the neighbours banned me for TVI 🙂
"I met a number of new friends and started to discover contest QTHs"
In 2004, I built a 2el half-sloper system from 54m mast on OL2R for 80m band and participated for the first time in the CQ WW SSB 80m category. It was a great experience when stations like AH2R, B7P and others called me. I unfortunately slept through the opening on NA 🙂
Next year Zdeno OK2ZW took me to OK5W, then the most famous M/M station in OK. I was amazed.
In 2005 Ondra OK1CDJ invited me to the newly emerging QTH OL7M. We were building Vertical for 80m on a green field, from Al pipes and champagne bottle. That's how my stage on OL7M started.
In 2009 I was in Sydney, Australia for 6 months. Before leaving I visited Fiji and activated four IOTA islands as 3D2ZW and 3D2ZW/p.
OL7M QTH started to grow and everything was a new challenge. I got to know Pavel OK1MU, the main driver of OL7M, who was working in TA with his family at that time. Thanks to that I also participated in two IOTA DXPs in TA.
IOTA DXP were to Suluada Island as TC07DX and Giresun Island as TC03W. At the last one I met Dan OK1HRA, who gradually joined the crazy building of OL7M. We spent more time there than at work 🙂
Dan OK1HRA founded RemoteQTH.com, an open source projects and I joined around 2013 with my first six-2-one RF switch.
Thanks to the building of the M/M OL7M contest QTH, more and more technical gadgets were needed. Gradually several versions of beverage switch boxes, RX antennas, filters, switching and controllers were created.
The projects were gradually added to the RemoteQTH.com website and more and more customers, requests and ideas were added. Today you can find our products on every continent, on DX stations and on the big contest QTH.
"I met Dan OK1HRA, who founded the open source project RemoteQTH.com, I joined him and started making my first products in 2013"
In 2015 I met Lucy, my girlfriend. She is a member of OK1KHL radio club and we met on CQ WW SSB weekend 2015 on OL7M. Since then, she has been not only an important part of my life, but also of QRO.cz. Thanks to her, this website was created and QRO.cz became a going to concern.
Thanks to Mike DM5XX, who started coming to us on OL7M and also helped us in Friedrichshafen, we are now expanding our production with remote control boxes. Mike is a skilled programmer and helps us with codes for the boxes and the web interfaces. This will add interesting solutions for Remote operation.