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My amateur radio career began in September 1969 when I obtained my general class license, callsign WA0ZRT. I was 15. Shortly after receiving my license I encountered the County Hunters Net on 75 meters and found that my county (Fremont) in Iowa was very rare. I worked all 50 states that night before I closed my station the next morning at 5 AM. This was in an era when I had to ask permission to make a long distance phone call 40 miles away.

During my highschool days I used a Galaxy GT-550 ( 550 W PEP, 360 W CW ) and a TA-33 mounted on the second story of my family's garage. Propagation to the east, west and south was extraordinary so I had many enjoyable QSOs on 10m and 15m.

For a time after college I was very active. Being the poor college graduate that many of us are in our early years, I built my own free-standing, 63 foot tower and this became home for my TA-33. The tower was 4 feet on-a-side at its base, tapering to 18 inches at the top for the last ten feet. Now some thirty years later, it is still standing in my small hometown in Iowa.

A return to college and accompanying major career shift to electrical engineering kept me away from the hobby considerably until I returned in February 2006 to try out the Virginia QSO party. I had such a good time that I soon acquired an SB200 amplifier that received the customary modifications. With some power to accompany my disadvantaged antenna situation ( due to covenants and restrictions {C&Rs} ), I became further involved

I moved to a new country QTH in Oct 2010 where I am able to install antennas. In early September 2011 I finished the majority of the new antenna installation. The 72 foot crankup tower has a complement of a Force12 C-31XR for 10-20 m and a Cushcraft XM-240 for 40 m. When fully extended the C31XR is at 73 feet and the XM-240 at 81 feet. August 2012 I installed a DX Engineering DXE-8040VA-1 vertical ( ~ 54 ft high for 80m). There are 90 radials forming the ground plane for the vertical. I am in the process of modifying my station for SO2R operation.  I am using an Array Solutions 2x8 RatPak, the Microham u2R, various stubs at the antennas for added isolation, and homebrew bandpass filters to protect the receivers.  I will likely not be ready to go until sometime in 2015 because of the filter construction. Another important modification has been to change the open-sleeve feed of the C31XR to three separate coaxes and chase down tweeks to minimize inherent interactions with the XM240.

I look forward to our next QSO, whether at a leisurely, rag-chew pace, or in a contest. I operate almost exclusively CW.

On the left, below, is my operating position with my Ten-Tec Orion II transceiver and a Centurion amplifier, as well as an Alpha 8410. To the right is a picture of the QTH with the yagis approximately 125 ft beyond the house. The antennas are rotated by a M2 Orion 2800P rotator.

Equipment

Hardware:

Ten-Tec Orion II,Ten-Tec Centurion amplifier,Ten-Tec 238B Antenna Tuner X 2

Alpha 8410 amplifier,Kenwood TS-570D

Antennas:

Force12 C31XR for 10-20m; Cushcraft XM-240 for 40m, M2 RC2800PX antenna rotator

DX Engineering 80/40 53 ft Vertical ( 90 radials ) for 80m

Inverted Vee for 80m (short distance) Inverted - L for 160 m

DX Engineering 4-Square for 160/80m receive

Array Solutions 2x8 Switch Matrix remote RF switch

Hamation Bandpasser II X 2

Other:

SignalLink USB; AIM4170B antenna analyzer; Palstar PM2000A Wattmeter X 2; Vibroplex iambic key

MicroHam u2R for SO2R

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