Egbert Hertsen | Else & Egbert

Who's this guy Egbert?

Sex: male
Age: well, uhm…
Status: married
Kids: two sons
Grandfather: yes, what a joy!
Profession: happily retired

Remember 1961? That year the Berlin Wall was built and Yuri Gagarin was the first human to conquest space. I was born on November 18th of that famous year. 

Growing Up

Speaking of my childhood. As an only child, I grew up in a warm nest and was lovingly surrounded by my parents and grandparents. Today I am over sixty, but not a day goes by without me thinking back to them wistfully. As a child, I was fond of cars. Whenever playing with my Dinky & Corgi Toys, I invariably forgot time. I knew all the logos and names of the car manufacturers.

Vorige slide
Volgende slide

As a young teenager I discovered what all those buttons on my dad’s tape recorder were for. As soon as a hit parade was broadcasted on the radio, I recorded my favorite songs and soon I started making my own charts.

In those days it was quite a job to talk with a microphone in between the music. The professional DJs on the radio were already doing it so I wanted to do it too. On Saturday afternoons my dad was allowed to “enjoy” my own top 30 while he was working on his model railway in the garden shed.

Every summer we went on vacation where Italy turned out to be my parents’ favorite spot. On the day of departure I had to get up early and I noticed that, during the wee hours, more distant stations could be received on our medium wave radio. On one occasion I could even hear “Radio Tirana” echoing from the loudspeaker in the distance. Whether this was the beginning of my radio hobby, who knows.

Egbert Hertsen
Egbert Hertsen | 100-in-1

Nearby was a – now defunct – Tandy store. Perhaps better known to you as Radio Shack. Tugged at my grandmother’s ears and yes, there showed off one of those wonderful “hundred in one” experiment boxes. Anything to do with radio was my favorite; that even included that mysterious key that could produce morse beeps.

In high school, my parents wanted me to study Latin and ancient Greek at all cost. That succeeded, but whenever my classmates gave a book review, I invariably chose to speak about radio. Many who remember me from those days still recall that.

Meanwhile, I had also received a world receiver as a Christmas gift. Via shortwave, stations from all over the globe were received. I rushed to the post office to send a letter by airmail to Radio Canada to let them know I had heard them. That morning when I received a reply I was almost late for school.

Egbert Hertsen | Koyo

Ultimately, I came in contact with the world of radio amateurs. I regarded this as the summum. But the technical knowledge you had to have… all that Latin and Greek grammar didn’t help me at all. How I finally, especially after many years of “listening”, took the step to get transmitting on the air myself, you will find out via the “amateur radio” button in the menu at the top of this page.

Egbert Hertsen | 1975

My mom & me during our last real vacation.

Taormina, Sicily Island - 1975

My childhood seemed carefree, but when I was only six, my mom faced breast cancer. Surgery, radiation, the whole program even though therapy in the late 1960s was not nearly as effective as nowadays.

As a child and youngster, I had not been told that her disease was metastatic. The years following her initial treatment we actually lived as if there was no problem. But after about eight years, my mom started developing all kinds of health problems. This, of course, did set off alarm bells, but my hope remained.

But fate struck rock hard. At barely forty-eight years of age, after ten years of fighting, my mom lost her brave battle with cancer. It meant a very heavy blow for me as a sixteen-year-old. Some say or pretend time heals all pain, but that’s an illusion.

Egbert Hertsen | 1975

Life goes on

At high school, on a beautiful but cold January day, I ran into Else. And yes, the hormones did the rest.

We actually married pretty young, but we are living proof that it can be done 😉 
Ater a successful exam at the administrative services of the City of Brussels, I went to work there. As a civil servant, as befits my generation, I stayed there until I could retire very early. This allowed me to devote lots of time to my hobbies. You already read about amateur radio.

I was also fascinated by the “Airport” movies. Guess I saw the complete series at least four or five times. Of course, becoming a pilot is a boyhood dream of many and I too would never become one. Yet the technology and those countless cockpit knobs fascinated me. As soon as the computer age arrived, I  bought myself a flight simulator. Over the years, this software improved dramatically and quite some of my spare time is spent on my flightsimulator hobby as well.

In our late twenties, Else & I became proud parents of two sons. Both hold academic degrees and are therefore professionally much more ambitious than their old man ever was. Our guys are now in their thirties. Two years ago, our granddaughter was born. I enjoy every second she is near me. How I love spending time with her. She means soooo much to me! And the joy continues: early July ’23 my grandson was born!

Egbert Hertsen | Travel

Vacations: the best time of the year! Once accompanied by our boys, now it’s just the two of us exploring Europe by caravan during the summer months. Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe, no border has stopped us, even if that included some red tape like when we visited the then still existing GDR or Russia.
Over the last decade, we’ve often put the Belgian winter on hold and opted for a somewhat more remote destination. Then you can bet that I’ll explain to Else all those noises a plane makes.

Mechelen, my home town

I call Mechelen my home for more than six decades. The city, which has a population of some 80,000 is located in the Flanders region of Belgium. The mediaval town boasts a very rich history.