Dots and dashes have changed the life of 17-year-old Zachary Barnum KK4RUT from Fredericksburg, Virginia
Zachary, who is legally blind in one eye due to optic nerve hypoplasia and has a form of bipolar disorder (manic depressive illness), has built his self-confidence and a worldwide social network by learning Morse Code and becoming an amateur radio operator.
His love for CW / Morse Code can be traced to second grade, when he and his father built a makeshift telegraph, and to eighth grade, when he earned a Boy Scout amateur radio merit badge.
“After that,” Barnum said, “I started studying to get an amateur radio operator license. I passed the test on my first try at age 15. Amateur radio gave me an escape and brought me more friends. I developed contacts with people all over the world.
Barnum has an amateur radio operator friend of his was developing a program for young people with certain disabilities, like autism, to become more active in the amateur radio operator community.