Bob Locher
Grants Pass, Oregon USA

Amateur Radio

Hello! And thanks for having a look at my blog.

First, let me introduce myself with a short amateur radio oriented biography.

I was born in 1942, and raised in Cedar Rapids Iowa. I graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1964. In 1965 I married my wife Judy. We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in 2015.

In 1957 I earned my first amateur radio license, beginning a lifelong hobby. My first call sign was KN0HGB, then later K0HGB. I was extremely privileged to have my Novice Licence test administered and signed off by family friend Art Collins, W0CXX, the founder of Collins Radio, who was my Elmer.

Later, after graduation from university, I moved to Illinois and was issued the call sign W9KNI, which I have kept ever since.

In Illinois, I partnered with Jere Benedict, my former boss from an earlier job, and we founded Bencher, Inc. to manufacture photographic and graphic arts equipment. The new firm struggled to survive for the first two years but then began to prosper. A few years after its founding, Bencher also began manufacturing amateur radio equipment, especially the famous Bencher Morse code keyer Paddles. Bencher later bought the Butternut antenna line and manufactured and distributed Butternut for well over 20 years. Bencher also manufactured the Bencher Skyhawk and Skylark yagis, as well as other amateur radio products.

Bencher remained in business until 2015, when the product lines were sold off and the company honorably dissolved, allowing myself and my partner Jere to retire.

I had several other amateur radio business interests. I was the founder of Idiom Press, a mail order business which published my amateur radio books and also manufactured a number of innovative amateur radio accessories. That business continues, owned now by Ham Radio Supply of Elizabeth, Colorado. At one point, Jere Benedict and I were part owners of The Radio Amateur Callbook Company.

I authored and self-published through Idiom press two books for amateur radio operators, The Complete DX’er, which went through three editions and sold over 28,000 copies, and later A Year of DX. Both these books remain available today, either from Ham Radio Supply or from the American Radio Relay League.

I was the originator of the modern CQ DX Marathon, sponsored by CQ Magazine, and presently very ably administered by John Sweeney, K9EL. Several years after the program was established, I began participating, winning the World Unlimited Class twice, and a number of other classes as well over a period of years.

I presently am on top of the Mixed DXCC Honor Roll, and also has the most countries including deletions on the CW DXCC honor Roll, needing only North Korea to have all countries on CW. I am a Life member of the American Radio Relay League, the ARRL Maxim Society, F.O.C. and CW Ops.

I had the considerable honor of being inducted into the CQ DX Hall of Fame in 2010.

My operating interest are almost entirely HF oriented DX chasing, with a special emphasis on CW, and also the CQ DX Marathon.


Bob Locher W9KNI