Fall 2016 Update: After spending most of my "ham lifetime" in Richmond, VA (FM17el) I am in the process of moving to a new QTH near Reedville, VA only a few miles from the Chesapeake Bay - grid locator FM17uu. Because of the move when I can get on the air I am operating with temporary wire antennas. A tower and beam as well as a salt-water ground are in the works!
I got my Novice class license in October 1964. The picture to the right was taken just after upgrading to General (WA4VXR) the following summer. In 1970 I upgraded to Advanced Class. In the mid-'60's I was a member of the Huguenot High School Amateur Radio Club in suburban Richmond. That club hatched a number of hams who are still active on the air today. We get together on 40 meters on Sunday mornings and every year for Field Day.
Following several years of college I joined the US Coast Guard. From 1971 to 1974 I was an Electronics Technician (Radar) aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Ingham. We primarily stood Ocean Station duty in the middle of the Atlantic which included taking frequent weather observations, providing navagational fixes to ships and aircraft, and making ocean-science measurements. We were always ready for search-and-rescue. Luckily all of the SAR missions that we handled in those years were successful. While at sea I was active as WA4VXR/MM on Maritime and Hurricane nets and with a lot of help from some very generous hams back in the US, handled personal phone patches to connect our crew and their families.
Today, Ingham is a floating museum on the waterfront in Key West, Florida. Please visit http://www.uscgcingham.org for more information about the ship and Museum. And be sure to work Ingham's ham station, NR4DL, during the Museum Ships Weekend and Coast Guard Day on-air activities. NRDL was her military callsign, thus the very appropriate ham call!
In 1978 I received my Extra Class license having passed the exam, as I did with the pervious tests, at an FCC Field Office. Then in 1989, with a new block of callsigns opened up by the FCC, I decided the old call was too long and cumbersome for VHF contesting so I switched to the present one. Its not a vanity call, doesn't represent anything special, its just what popped out of the FCC computer at the time.
My shack today consists of a TenTec Orion and an Icom IC-7100. Antennas are a Force12 C3ss yagi at 50 feet, a HyGain 4-el 6M yagi 5 feet above that and in between them is a 6-el InnovAntennas LFA yagi for 2 meters. 80 and 40 is covered by a trap Inverted-Vee and for 30 meters I have a home-brew wire ground plane hanging from a tree limb. VHF/UHF FM and D-Star duties are handled by an Icom ID-880H using a Diamond dual-band vertical side-mounted on the tower. In November 2015 I added an Elecraft KPA500 to the station, my first-ever HF amplifier. With 304 countries confirmed and all but 2 while running 100 watts I don't really "need" the amp but it will be nice for dx pileups.
Over the years, my on-air activity has varied, some years more active than others. I am frequently on 80 - 2 meters, phone, cw, and digital including RTTY, JT65 and JT9, plus 2m and 70cm FM and D-Star. I enjoy RTTY contesting, VHF openings, various QSO Parties, and can be found chasing DX. Several times a year I team up for multi-op contests with long-time ham buddy N4HB at his station near the Chesapeake Bay - that salt-water ground works wonders on 160!
Operating Awards include DXCC on 8 bands, DXCC Challenge, WAZ, VUCC (6 mtrs, close on 2) and WAS Triple Play. During the 2014 ARRL Centennial I was one if the Virginia W1AW/4 operators, running mostly RTTY. That was an incredible thrill!
My working career has been a direct extension of the Ham Radio hobby. Beginning part-time in the mid-'60's, I have been in the engineering and operations side of television broadcasting. I spent much of that time responsible for the installation and maintenance of analog, and more recently digital, high-power VHF and UHF transmitters as well as microwave relay and satellite uplink systems. I held a Radar-Endorsed First Class Radiotelephone License until the FCC downgraded them to General Class, which I hold today. In early October 2015 I retired from Richmond's NBC affiliate WWBT after 38 years with the station and 49 years in the industry. Now its on to all of those "started but unfinished" ham projects!
QSL info is good here on qrz.com. I upload to LoTW and Club Log frequently and answer all paper QSL's. SWL reports are always welcome.
73 and hope CU on the air soon!
Thank you for visiting!
7748764 Last modified: 2016-12-09 20:35:30, 8446 bytes
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