Mike Martens, KB9VBR

ARES LogoMy name is Michael Martens and I’ve been an active licensed amateur radio operator since 1999.

A common question I get is “how did you get involved with ham radio?”

MikeGreat question. Well, back in ’99 we were on the cusp of Y2K and we all thought the world was going to end. I was just getting prepared for doomsday.  But in reality, the real answer isn’t so sexy or glamorous.


Actually, I’ve been a lifelong scanner buff and short wave listener. I got my first world band radio back when I was 10 and I loved staying up late at night listening to the sounds of the world. Back then you needed morse code to get your license so at the time I never thought I’d get over that hurdle at such a young age. Maybe the real reason was that I didn’t have an elmer to prod me.

Fast forward a few years, through high school and college (graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Communication Arts). I was at the time working sales and marketing for a software development company and a very active summer of severe thunderstorms got me active in listening to the police scanner. I then started monitoring the local ham repeaters, one thing led to another and I picked up a copy of the ARRL’s Now Your Talking and a Gordon West code practice tape. In August of 1999 I took the Novice, Tech, and 5WPM code test and exited the session as a Tech-Plus.

Today, besides helping new hams get on the air with my antennas, Emergency Communications and public service are a big part of what I do with Amateur Radio. I’m on the board of directors for our local ham radio club, Northeast DEC and EC for our ARES/RACES group, and a certified National Weather Service SKYWARN storm spotter. You’ll find me active in events in the community; often using my antennas as part of the event’s communication plans.  I’m also a Volunteer Examiner, so I’ve also had my part in several hams getting their first license or upgrade.

I am owner of KB9VBR J-Pole Antennas.  You can see more of my antenna activities on my website and on my youtube channel.

I give back to the hobby by mentoring lots of new hams every year, into the field of HAM radio.

I live in Wausau, which is located in North Central Wisconsin. I’m married, have two children (both in college), and when I’m not talking on the radio or building antennas I enjoy camping, hiking, the outdoors, photography, and cooking.