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 Honor 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 for 160! Still, the antenna plays surprisingly well, especially for a small city lot. For receive, I use a K7TJR Triangular Array, a DX Engineering NCC-1 Phase Controller with two Active Antennas as a two element phased array, and a 275 foot BOG to cut the noise (along the fence line on the golf course behind our house). Some of these antennas can also be fed into the DX Engineering NCC-1 which then uses the SteppIR BigIR Vertical as a sense antenna. This allows me to phase the BOG, the Triangular Array, or a random wire (or any two) against the SteppIR Vertical (in addition to using any one of those antennas alone as a receive antenna) and does a nice job of peaking signals or cutting noise at times. 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 home station includes a Yaesu FTdx-9000/Alpha 9500 for 80 and 160 meters and an Icom 7800/PW-1 for 40 - 6 meters. The FTdx-9000 is a better cw weak signal rig than the Icom 7800 because the APF is far more effective than the one installed in the Icom 7800 (although this may be addressed in the upcoming firmware release).
I use a Yaesu FT1000D/Ameritron AL-1500 at our cabin in Mount Shasta, California. I've owned the FT1000 since they first came out in 1991. It has the rare tuning speed mod, much like the Icom 7800 (very nice), the International Radio Roofing Filter, and the W8JI NB and Key Click modifications. Just love that old rig. It has one of the best APFs EVER! The main HF antenna at home is a Steppir Big R with 42 elevated radials (6 for each band), and a small 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 who recently graduated from 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 138 (K9W and J88HL 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
I am a member of the Northern California DX Club and the Northern California Contest Club, although my contesting is limited to S&P on 160 and 80 meters looking for new band countries!
My other hobbies include triathlon, fly fishing for trout, skiing and scuba diving. I have competed in dozens of Olympic distance races, along with five 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 do make for a long day! Made some great friends through triathlon! I was an Honorable Mention All American Age Group Triathlete and have qualified for the National Age Group Championship in Kansas City.
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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