I have been a ham since about 1967. Original Novice call was WN6YIR, and when I upgraded to the Advanced class, this became WB6YIR. I had to take my ham test up in San Francisco on Battery Street. The code test had to be passed first and then the theory test.
After college at UC Davis, I upgraded to Extra class and obtained my current call sign AA6RE. It is short call but that last "dit" sometimes gets lost in the noise.
I work CW almost exclusively, because I have a poor antenna system and operate low power, 100 W. In the past (through summer 2012) the antenna was an old AEA ISO-Loop antenna mounted at ground level. I recently (September 2012) upgraded from an ICOM-735 to a Kenwood TS-590. The ICOM had been used for 30 years, along with its matching tuner and power supply. It was very reliable with only one repair needed when 18 MHz transmission stopped.
The new TS-590 has much better interference rejection, and the low noise is amazing compared to the 735. I now use a buddipole dipole in the backyard at about 14 feet. It seems to work better than my old ISO-Loop ground mounted antenna, but at 14 feet directionality is not very good on 20 meters. I have made 5W QRP contacts with the Buddipole dipole, the new TS-590 and my FT-817ND.
My FT-817 includes a CW filter. For a tuner I use an Elecraft T1 autotuner. The tuner is fast, easy to use, and compact.
On ten meters and often 15 meters, five watts works very well with the right number of sun spots! QRP work can be a challenge, but I now have 50 states confirmed on QRP. Rhode Island was the last QRP state contact needed.
QSLing and contacting DX stations are great fun. I prefer paper QSLs, but I am an avid user of LOTW too. I wish everyone uploaded their QSOs to LOTW. You don't need to be an ARRL member to use LOTW, but you do need to be a member to have LOTW confirmed QSOs count for ARRL awards like DXCC and WAS.
I also chase islands through the RSGB IOTA program. I have 277 islands so far. Getting to 300 has been a challenge for me.
In January 2015 I started using JT-65 with the JT65-HF HB9HQX-Edition 0.9.94.0 software. It was pretty easy to setup with my TS590. I wanted to start on my ARRL Triple Play award so I needed 50 QSOs for the digital part. I was able to work and confirm via LOTW 50 states by March 10, 2015. Most JT-65 operators, but not as many as I thought, use LOTW. Now I only need one phone QSO with Nevada to complete the Triple Play Award.
My DXCC totals with JT-65, the only digital mode I operate, are not very good. I have worked 20 DXCC countries with 20 LOTW confirmations. I have rarley heard European stations on JT-65. Japan, Argentina and Korea are pretty easy to work on 20/15 meters. I hear South African stations occasionaly.
I would like to get a DXCC Digital award so I will also try PSK operation in 2016.
No new DXCC countries were worked in 2016. With my antenna, local noise and low antenna new DXCC countries are getting harder.
In 2016 I intend to work harder at getting my Challenge award QSO count up closer to 1000.
In 2016 I picked up a couple new IOTAs. I need to send them in for confirmation.
7217702 Last modified: 2016-04-04 23:31:50, 3613 bytes
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