Thanks for looking me up, and thanks to all those I've had the pleasure of working!
I was first licensed as a Novice in 1974 and soon upgraded to General Class (WB6AHQ). My license lapsed while I was in college (I kept my trusty Hallicrafters SX-117 and Heathkit DX100 - for a while). I was reintroduced to ham radio in 1990, first holding N6XLU, then KK6HJ and finally my current call - AA6VB. I am now a semi-avid Dx'er, spending about 99 percent of my time on CW (though my skills could use considerable improvement). I have a microphone, but I'm not sure it works.
I have qualified for 9BDXCC, WAS, WAZ, WAC, and have over 300 countries confirmed but never submitted the paperwork for any award. My long term goal is to qualify for the Honbor Roll, but I don't spend much time looking for new countries, unless they are on 160 or 80 meters (see below).
Several years ago I got hooked on the low bands and now concentrate on 160 and 80 meters, where I spend the large majority of my operating time. I use a vertical made of aluminum tubing 60 feet high, with a base loading coil 7 inches in diameter made of very heavy guage copper wire. The base of the antenna is three feet off the ground and is fed there. I am subject to the dreaded "CC&Rs" which prohibit any "unsightly shortwave antennas or supports". While beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder, I don't want to push the envelope and decided not to put up a tower with HF beams, at least for now.
The switchbox pictured above allows the antenna to shift from 160 meters to 80 meters, and also allows a small amount of inductance to be added or subtracted from the system. This moves the resonant point of the antenna up or down on the 160 meter band, and between 80 and 75 meters.
The antenna has 16 resonant elevated radials (8 for each band) which run from the base upward at 45 degrees to the roof where they run in various directions. The configuration is far from optimum, because the first several feet of the antenna are next to the house, the radials cover only about 120 degrees, and some of the radials for 160 meters are only about 10 feet high - not to mention the fact the system uses base loading! Still, the antenna plays surprisingly well, especially for a small city lot. For receive, I use a K7TJR Triangular Array and a 275 foot BOG to cut the noise. Like most, I am limited by what I can hear, but the setup allows me to have fun on 160 meters and, at a full 1/4 wave, performs very well on 80 meters.
My station includes a Yaesu FTdx9000D/Alpha 9500 for 80 and 160 meters and an Icom 7800/PW-1 for 40 - 6 meters. I have a Yaesu FT1000D/Ameritron AL-1500 as a backup.
I also have an elevated Steppir BigIR Mark III up 25 feet, with 42 elevated radials (6 for each band), and a 3 element M2 Beam for 6 meters. The HF beam went down in a storm a few years back and I have not bothered to put it back up, hi.
I have a wonderful wife, a daughter in college and a teenage son. On weekends the kids keep me pretty busy during the daylight hours, hence my pension for the low bands.
On October 8, 2009, after four years of hard work, I achieved my goal of obtaining DXCC on 160 meters. My current 160 meter country total stands at 136 (ZS6EZ, and 9M4SLL most recently) - not a great total, but not bad from a 1/4 acre city lot in the black hole of California. I can be found on 160 and 80 meters most mornings at about 5:00 a.m. local time (1300 UTC), or any other time I can manage.
I qsl via LoTW, and happily respond to all requests for QSL cards.
My other hobbies include triathlon, fly fishing, skiing and scuba diving. I have completed dozens of Olympic distance races, along with four Ironman distance events (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, followed by a 26.2 mile run). Ironman distance events are actually easier than they sound, but they sure do make for a long day! Made some great friends through triathlon! I was an Honorable Mention All American Age Group Triathlete and qualified for the National Age Group Championship in Kansas City. My next "big" race is Ironman Lake Tahoe in September 2013. Lots of training between now and then!
I love to fly fish for trout, tie my own flies and build my own fly rods. I am semi-retired so I get to fish a lot more (mostly on the Upper Sacramento River near Mount Shasta, California). Pictured below is a 17" Rainbow trout taken on a #16 Bead Head Bird's Nest on the Upper Sac. All trout are released unharmed.
Various volunteer obligations, work, the family, and the triathlon workout schedule keep me pretty busy, leaving only the hours of darkness for free time. Hey, maybe that's how I got hooked on low band Dxing!!!!
I hope to see you on the bands.
73 es good dx,
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