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Dave Wallis, The Forum, Published March 18 2012

Portraits: Tim Cruff

Kilo Zero Charlie Romeo Foxtrot, or Tim Cruff as he’s known when he’s not talking on his amateur radio, got his license last August after taking free classes at the West Fargo Public Library. Within a 10-minute demonstration, he spoke with people from Hawaii, Alaska, Florida and Brazil. While some people build big, expensive radios and antennas and some buy new equipment, “I made my own antenna out of a camera tripod, an old crappie fishing pole and $2 of speaker wire,” says the Fargo Shanley High School physical science teacher. “For anybody that loved the MacGyver TV show, this is the perfect hobby.” Some of the people in faraway places whom he makes contact with are surprised to find he is using only a 5-watt radio and a $2 antenna. Cruff says that three of his high school students have also gotten interested in amateur radio, possibly because of his enthusiasm for the hobby. They will be taking exams for their licenses soon. “That’s really exciting. I can’t wait to help these guys build their antennas and get their first contacts,” he says. “This is kind of addictive.”