President’s Message

Hello, CVARC Members and Visitors,

Daphne Vandervalk-KN6TXX

First, I’d like to thank you for electing me as the new President of CVARC. I had the pleasure of serving as Vice President in 2023 – the board is such a great group of people! As far as personnel changes, our former President Ed Zimmerman-N6XEW and I have switched roles, as he will serve as Vice President this year. We would like to welcome Huston Herman-KK6WT as our new Member at Large, who will be replacing Phil Bartlett-K6UJO. Thank you to Phil for serving on the board – you are appreciated, and I really enjoyed our conversations.

As much as I’ve gotten to know many of you already, I figured I should start out by introducing myself and give you some background information that will answer some common questions.

I grew up in the Conejo Valley, my family having moved from Illinois to Westlake Village in time for me to start kindergarten here, and I have lived in Thousand Oaks ever since. I met my husband, Chris Diez, at Westlake High School, and we got married a couple years after I graduated. We have two kids – an adult daughter and a teenage daughter now in her senior year of high school. My interests were art and music, but I somehow ended up in the banking industry, and have been working for over 20 years at a market research company that serves the financial industry. While working full time I earned a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Biola University.

How did I become interested in amateur radio? My husband is not a ham, nor did I know any hams until I took my Technician class. The best way I can describe it is as “little seeds” that were planted over many years. I recall that, after some natural disaster, I read an article about how hams are always there in an emergency, as a backup of communication if all else fails. I thought it must be pretty cool to have the skills and equipment to do that. I read the book Kon-Tiki and learned that it was amateur radio operators who made contact with the lonely little balsa wood raft floating across the Pacific Ocean. Additionally, sometime around 2013 I had picked up a Gordon West Technician Class book in a pile of someone’s giveaways. “I should use this and get a license,” I thought. But alas, the book expired in 2014 and I had not followed through.

Fast forward to 2022 – the Covid lockdown had sent me home to work remotely, put an end to the music activities I had been doing with my husband, and wiped out my social life. I saw an ad in the Thousand Oaks Acorn for a ham radio Technician class offered by CVARC. I finally had the time, the availability, and the will to do it. I admit I was overwhelmed at first, not knowing a thing about electronics and wondering what I’d gotten myself into, but it was so interesting and challenging. Zak Cohen-N6PK and Keith Elliott-W6KME did such a great job with the class, I passed both the Technician and General tests in April of 2022, and then the Extra in December of 2023. I absolutely fell in love with ham radio, and with CVARC, because it is full of the most wonderful, helpful, and encouraging people.

That being said, I look forward to another fun year of this club bringing the joy of ham radio to our community. We had such a great time in CVARC in 2023, and topped off December with a wonderful holiday banquet at the Best Western Posada Royale. Martin Hickey-AJ6CL was awarded the Hugh Bosma Legacy Award – congratulations and thank you for doing so much! Our latest VE session brought many license upgrades and several new hams, who I hope will join CVARC, but most of all, get on the air! I encourage new or inactive hams to join the Newbie Net on Sunday evenings, come to the general meeting on January 18th (at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza – Oak Room), and join us for Winter Field Day on January 27th at Dos Vientos Community Park. This is a great time to be a ham, and you won’t find a better group of people to help you.

Thanks again, and 73!

Daphne- KN6TXX

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