First off, call me "Ken". My parents apparently never thought of the problem Kermit would present in ham radio when they named me back in 1942. At least they didn't call me Sue. ("Son, I knew how rough it would be out there, with all the QRM, QRN, QSB, key clicks and splatter, that's why I called you Sue." Hmm..... Think there's a song in there somehow? Gee, I miss ya, Johnny)
I was licensed as KN9LIO in February 1958 in the old Novice up or out days and suffered a great deal of anixety until I upgraded to General that fall. I was quite active as K9LIO in CW contests and DXing until 1964 when I moved away from home. After that I was mostly QRT until I rebooted myself as AB1J in 1978 and was active again until 1983 when raising two lovely daughters and my job in the computer industry took up all my time. In 1998, while convalescing from an illness with a lot of spare time on my hands, I got back in again and enjoy it more than ever. In October 2009 I retired so I now have more time for amateur radio and other hobbies. Lately I've been doing a bit of contesting, CW and RTTY. I particularly like RTTY contesting. It's contesting with a speed limit, which works for me. I like CW but I'm not a hot shot op. When some European rocket man comes back at 40 WPM with a cut number up in the thousands, I say "Huh?"
However, ham radio hasn't worked out as well as expected for me since I've retired. Here's why:
And here's how things are today (you may need to refresh the page to get current data):
With these slack conditions, I decided to expand my horizons a bit. First with JT65-HF, inspired by the May 2012 QST article. It's surprisingly addictive, sort of the crack cocaine of digital modes for me. It's quite a change from the DXing and contesting operating I'm used to, but it's an opportunity to have some interesting QSOs when not much else is going on while I await Cycle 25. I've tried OLIVIA but haven't found much activity on that mode. Recently I've been running WSPR, mostly on 10m and 30m. I set up an APRS station but I'm not sure what to do with it. I do find its local weather data interesting but I myself don't have a good place to set up an accurate weather station so I can't join in. The absolutely latest thing I've tried is Feld Hell, a cute mode but without much activity, although there are monthly scheduled activities.
My QSL Policy is simple: Just Do It. I upload all QSOs to LoTW, eQSL(AG), ClubLog and Logs-a-Million (just kidding) plus I send some bureau (via Global QSL) and direct QSLs since I like to chase awards. I've been stashing away QSLs for decades, first paper, then electronic, and now I'm cashing them in for awards. All my ham radio life is flashing before my eyes. What a trip!
Sorry, but I don't use QRZ.log or HRDLog. I had to draw the line somewhere and I don't understand the purpose of these. QRZLog has started issuing awards which are pale imitations of existing awards. I hoped they would do something more imaginative. Guess not.
I used to encourage people to send me paper QSLs, but in the recent years there has been a big shift to online QSLing and now I would prefer to get only LoTW AND eQSL confirmations. The exceptions are special events, new countries, IOTAs, really cool cards and things of that ilk. Otherwise I am quite happy with online confirmations. Paper QSLs take up a lot of room and someday my kids are just going to trash them. If you have already QSLed me by LoTW and/or eQSL and still want a paper QSL, just email me and I'll be happy to send you a bureau card (or direct in the USA, on my nickel).
Soapbox: I would encourage all serious ops, contesters, DXers and award chasers, to use both LoTW and eQSL. All eQSL users should get AG status so their QSLs can be used for awards. eQSL is especially useful for looking into LoTW, which is otherwise a black box. I've seen QSO matches go missing in LoTW because of bad data. When these QSOs are also submitted to eQSL, I have a chance to figure out the problem. Otherwise, I don't know what I don't know. I know this sort of subverts LoTW's obsessive security, but, uh, well, it's not Fort Knox gold we're talking about here, you know.
Still on soapbox: Electronic QSLing is clearly the wave of the future. Some progress is being made as LoTW now supports CQ Magazine's WPX award, with other CQ Awards to follow. eQSLs have been allowed for CQ and DARC awards for some time. I hope some day electronic QSLs will be accepted for all awards, just like paper QSLs.
Here I am operating as AB1J/9 (SOSB/15 LP) in the 2011 CQ WW RTTY contest from the Goshen (IN) ARC station (K9WJU). They have a TH11DX on a 100 foot tower which ran circles around my attic dipoles at home. Who knew? At the start of the contest the SFI was 190 and whole world was rockin'. Thanks to the club for letting me use their station.
I was #1 in the USA with a new record, #2 in North America and #6 in the World. This isn't the kind of thing that happens from home, so I was happy. The record only stood for one year, until 2012, when KZ5A broke it. That's what records are for: Make 'em, break 'em. Congrats to Jack.
In 2012 I went back and did it again, this time Assisted (SOSB(A)/15 LP), and was #1 in North America and #3 worldwide and had an even higher score, my best contest effort ever. That record held until 2014 when J35X took it away, although I still retained the USA record.
In 2013 I blew out a disc in my back and I didn't go anywhere. I had an operation but it wasn't successful.
In early 2014 I blew out another disc. I think this means my tower climbing days are over. In July I had another operation, more extensive this time. Now I'm recuperating and hoping for the best, aside from climbing towers.
Thanks for stopping by. Please call me in contests. Help me justify all that time I try "Running."
Kermit (aka Ken), AB1J
This AB1J Waltham, MA log goes back to July 1979. I update it weekly. If you scroll down a bit there's a log search for my Indiana operations.
This log goes back through 2007 and is my activity (contests, mostly) from Goshen, Indiana. Sometimes I signed AB1J/9 and other times just AB1J, but if you're in this log, you've worked the Land o' Goshen, but not the one in Egypt (Genesis 47:27)
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