Ken retired from gainful employment in 1997, after several diverse careers. Due to ham radio influence in high school, he earned a BSEE degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Intstitute, Troy, NY. The military needs of the US in the early 60's steered Ken toward the USAF pilot training program, where he got his wings and stayed on for six years as an instructor pilot and ground school teacher. The lure of an airline pilot career led to an abortive on/off relationship with TWA, where he was furloughed three times (was too low on the seniority list!), re-called twice. During the first furlough, he was hired by a fellow contester, K5MM (SK), to be a sales engineer for Tektronix, selling oscilloscopes. A memorable sale was to the Apple Computer founders, who bought their first high performance scope from Ken about 1975, while they operated out of a garage (he still remembers the green house in Los Altos.) Later, he sold more radio-related instruments, RF and Microwave spectrum analyzers for TEK.
Ken was born in Danbury, CT, at the closest hospital to his parent's home in Westchester County, NY in 1937, and introduced to ham radio through classmates and the Katonah High School radio club (remember HS radio clubs?). First contest experience was Field Day 1952, as an observer/tower climber/go-fer, etc. He sat for the novice test in early '53 in NYC, and while awaiting his license (it took up to eight months to get the ticket then), he operated in Field Day 1953, as the primary 20m cw op with the Mt. Kisco ARC. First contest as KN2EIU was the 1953 ARRL Sweepstakes, when his first QSO was with W4KFC. Inspiration from Vic and other big guns of those days fanned the contesting fire, leading to Ken's first win, the high national score in the 1954 Novice Roundup. In the early days, he was very active in cw traffic handling.
He operated from home in rural South Salem, NY and from W2SZ at RPI, in the 1950s, and as K2EIU/5 in Big Spring and San Antonio, Texas, K2EIU/0 in Kansas City, MO, in the 60's. Ken ended up in CA in 1969, assigned by TWA to SFO and was a founding member of the Northern California Contest Club (NCCC) in 1970. In the early 70s, he acquired the WA6DKF and W6PAA callsigns, modifying to N6RO in 1976. Introduced to big antennas and multi-operator/ multi-transmitter class of contesting at K6EBB, Ken set up a three tower station in San Jose on a small city lot, and endured it's obvious RFI problems for a few years.
Ken moved to a ten acre farm in
He has participated in 63 CW SS, about 50 SSB SS contests, more than 100 CD parties, scores of DX contests and about 2200 contests in all. He served on the ARRL Contest Advisory Committee in the 1980's. N6RO is still very active (20+ contests per year), practicing the SO2R (Single operator-two radio) concept, hosting multi operator-multi transmitter efforts in some major contests, and maintaining the steel, aluminum and copper antenna field: Five towers hosting stacked yagis on 40 through 10m, wire loop arrays on 80m, 4 Square vertical arrays on 40, 80, 160m, SAL-30 and several beverages. Favorite interest in contesting these days are the Thursday night NCCC sprints, and the CW OPS sprints. A high-light in contesting for Ken was manning the 80m station at HC8N in the Galapagos Islands in the 2003 CQWW CW contest. Ken was honored for lifetime contesting achievement and contributions in 2003, by induction into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame: N6RO - CQ Contest Hall of Fame 2003
Keeler maintains two other avocations
pre-dating his 65 years in ham radio: farming - grows wine grapes for Cline
Return to the N6RO StartPage