K1HTV - Rich Zwirko (Continuously active since 1958 running 100 Watts or less on HF, contacting all DXCC countries except No. Korea)
1958 At age 16, passed Novice exam, received callsign KN1HTV. Began chasing DX as a novice with 50W from a Heathkit DX20 and a dipole in New Haven, CT. Heard the first Russian Sputnik satellite on 20 MHz and got the satellite bug!
1959 Replaced the ARC5 and Ocean Hopper regenerative receivers with a Hammarlund HQ110. Added a VFO to the DX20 transmitter and I was on my way to becoming a serious DXer. With my new General Class license I could operate phone on HF for the first time. A crystal microphone fed the audio section of a broadcast receiver which was used to screen modulate my DX20. I was lucky to get 10 Watts output to feed the 8 ft vertical that my dad had installed on the roof. Back then we had lots of sunspots and great propagation on 10 Meters. I managed to work all continents but Asia on 10 Meter AM with that setup. It sure was fun back then. Here is what the 1959 shack looked like.
1960 - Passed FCC 1st Class Radio telephone license exam.
1960 - At age 18, started 48 year career in broadcasting at WELI (5 kw) in New Haven, CT as a broadcast engineer.
1961 - Passed Amateur Extra license exam while at the New England ARRL convention at Swampscott,MA.
1963 - Married (and still married to) Phyllis, KN1WSN (now K1WSN).
1963 - Started working at 50 KW station WTIC-AM-FM-TV3 in Hartford as broadcast Engineer, working at 'TIC until 1980.
1964 - Son Andy born (ex-WB1ALW, ex-KA1GD, now K1RA)
1965 - Daughter Christina born (now N3JMR).
1965 - Purchased first house in Thompsonville, CT. Worked 36 states on 144 MHz, many of them via meteor scatter.
1960's & '70's - Was a member of CWA (Connecticut Wireless Association). It was great associating with the likes of many old timers like W1BDI, W1TX, W1BIH, W1FTX, W1NJM, W1EOB (N4XR), W1JYH (W1AX) as well as newbies (at the time) like W1BGD (W1RM), W1DGL (W1XX), W1ECH and W1WEF. Have lots of memories participating in the ARRL Field Day events with the CWA gang and guest ops K1ANV (W3ZZ), W1FJJ (W1FJ) and W1NJL (K1VR).
1972 - Moved to Meriden, CT. Tried 2 Meter moonbounce (EME) with an 80 el. collinear antenna and 500 Watts. Ran skeds with K6MYC, VK3ATN & Sam Harris (W1FZJ/KP4). Signals were heard both ways, but never completed any 2-way EME contacts with them. A few years later, I worked WA6LET on 144 MHz via the moon using a single yagi. In the 70's was a control operator for AMSAT-OSCAR-5 satellite at the Talcott Mountain Science Center in Avon, CT. Worked 36 states (again) on 144 MHz from the new Meriden QTH.
1974-1984 - AMSAT Vice President of Operations and member of the AMSAT board of directors.
1980 - Moved from Connecticut to Maryland to work at the Voice of America in Washington,DC, retiring in 2008.
1982 - Involved in Beta test of the TAPR Packet Radio TNC. With W3IWI (now K3IO), made one of the first Packet radio QSOs via digipeater. In 1985, was instrumental in persuading the west coast inventors of NETROM packet node software to allow for it's installation in the first East Coast node (UMD) at the University of MD, with a KU-band wormhole Packet Radio link to California. In the 1980's was sysop for numerous NETROM packet nodes in the Mid-Atlantic states. Created and distributed maps of the radio packet node network links throughout the USA. Started chasing HF DX seriously again in the 1990's, always with 100W or less.
1994 - Joined the PVRC (Potomac Valley Radio Club) and have won multiple Division and section awards running low power in the annual ARRL Sweepstakes as well as section awards in a number of other ARRL & CQ 160 Meter contests. I've been in the 6 Meter chair at multi-op K8GP June and Sept. VHF contests since '94. Have been operating at the 160M position at multi-multi superstation W3LPL in ARRL & CQ DX contests since 1995.
2008 - In December, I retired from the Voice of America as senior VOA Technical Support Telecommunications Manager. Wife Phyllis (K1WSN) and I moved from our old Glenn Dale, MD QTH to our new home in Amissville, VA to be closer to son Andy (K1RA) his wife Amy (KZ1AMY) and little granddaughter Anna, no call yet :-).
2009 - Received a fully loaded Elecraft K3 tranceiver from XYL Phyllis (K1WSN). I'm really enjoying retirement with this great radio.
2012 - In the first 4 years at our new VA QTH I have worked 287 DXCC countries, all with 100 Watts or less, the first 265 of them with wire antennas.
K1HTV Ham Radio Firsts
1st USA to FP8 (St. Pierre I.) on 144 MHz - July 6,1971
1st USA to YU (Yugoslavia) via satellite - via AMSAT-OSCAR 6
2nd ever satellite QSO between U.S.A and Africa (CN8). W1NU was first by a few minutes.
1st New England station to earn Satellite WAS (Worked all States award
1st New England station to earn Satellite WAC (Worked all Continents) award. Used transponders in the low earth orbiting AMSAT-OSCARs 6 & 7 and the Russian 'RS satellites to do so.
1st U.S.A. to VP9 (Bermuda) on 144 MHz - Sept. 1976, W1NU/VP9 via tropo.
1st 144 MHz Packet Radio meteor scatter QSO - August 1984 with W0RPK.
1st U.S.A. to ZC4 (Cyprus) on 50 MHz - Nov 26, 1989.
1st U.S.A. to EA9 (Ceuta) on 50 MHz - July 18, 1993.
K1HTV DXCC (DX Century Club) Award
10 Band DXCC - Have confirmed contacts with more than 100 countries (entities) on all bands from 160 Meters through 6 Meters
Band - Worked/Confirmed with 100 Watts on HF
160M = 223/223
80M = 262/256
40M = 297/293
30M = 294/282
20M = 359/359
17M = 329/310
15M = 345/345
12M = 298/280
10M = 331/325
6M = 154/154 (all worked with 200 Watts or less)
Running low power, have confirmed 362 DXCC entities (includes deleted), the latest one was ST0R in South Sudan on CW, SSB & RTTY. The only DXCC entity not yet worked is P5 (No. Korea). The closest I got to working No. Korea was a contact made with P5RS7. The QSO was made while running only QRP 5 Watts on 15M SSB. It turned out to be a bogus operation by Romeo Stepanenko 3W3RR, operating outside the No. Korean border. Around 4 years after receiving the QSL card for my contact with P5RS7, the ARRL disqualified Romeo from the DXCC program under the ethics clause. QSL cards for his operation from North Korea were never approved.
Digital Modes - RTTY, PSK31 & JT65A
Have worked 278 countries, 254 confirmed, running 80 Watts on RTTY and 50 Watts on PSK31 & JT65A digital mode.
160 Meters - 100 Watts or less - Presently using an Inverted-L on the Topband
223 countries worked (includes 3 deleted countries) with all 223 countries in 33 CQ zones confirmed .
Some of the latest 160M DXCC countries worked :
#215=FK8CP (New Caledonia), #216=PJ6A (Saba), #217=PJ2T (Curacao), #218=PJ7E (St. Maarten), #219=KH2/N2NL (Guam), #220=PJ4LS (Bonaire), #221=ZL8X (Kermadec Island), #222=VP8ORK (So. Orkney). 160M country #223 was HK0NA, worked on both CW & SSB with 100 Watts.
Confirming 30 of the 40 worldwide zones are required for the 160 Meter WAZ award. I received 160 Meter WAZ award # 356 for working 32 of the 40 CQ zones. Guam was K1HTV zone #33 on the Topband with 100 Watts.
160 Meters - QRP (5 Watts or less)
80 countries on all 6 continents have been worked on 160M while runing QRP.
Here are pictures of QSL cards confirming K1HTV 160 Meter QRP contacts with all 6 continents.
North America (Alaska)
South America (Shetland Islands)
5 Watt QRP DX country #84 was TX3D operating from the Austral Islands and #85 was PJ2/K8ND on Curacao, #86 was PJ4C on Bonaire . Best 160M QRP DX to the west is VK6HD in western Australia (worked twice). Best QRP DX to east is 4X4NJ in Israel, twice with 5 Watts and once with 1 Watt and V5/ZS6YG in Namibia, worked with 5 Watts.
IOTA (Islands on the Air)
988 IOTAs worked with 980 islands confirmed.
154 countries have been worked and confirmed on 50 MHz. The latest four DXCC entities worked were PJ2, PJ4, PJ6 & PJ7.
Here are QSLs for the K1HTV 6 Meter WAC (Worked All Continents) Award:
Received 6 Meter WAS (Worked All States) Award #1003
The latest new ones confirmed on 6 Meters are E7DX (Bosnia/Herzegovina) & HA3UU (Hungary).
Received 50 MHz WAZ award #99 with 29 CQ zones confirmed (25 needed for 6M WAZ).
Received 50 MHz VUCC Award #1734 from the ARRL. My 6 Meter total now stands at 853 worldwide grids worked, with 775 confirmed.
On 6 Meters I now use the Elecract K3 transceiver to drive a solid state KW amplifier. The 6M antenna has been upgraded to a 7 element LFA yagi on a 32 foot boom at a height of 77 feet. The old temporary six element yagi which had been on the back porch at 20 feet for 3 years has been removed and will eventually be put on the tower fixed on Europe for E-skip season.
My latest venture in Ham Radio has been with some of the weak signal digital modes developed by Joe Taylor, K1JT, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics "for the discovery of a new type of pulsar, a discovery that has opened up new possibilities for the study of gravitation". Joe has applied his knowledge of writing software used to detect the very weak pulsar emissions to Amateur Radio. Thousands of Hams around the world are now using his WSJT (Weak Signal JT), JT65 and WSPR software to propagate and detect radio signals via the ionosphere as well as via EME (Earth-Moon-Earth) without the need for high power and huge antennas. I have received numerous reports of my 5 Watt WSPR signals from all continents. Using the JT65A mode on HF I'm now working many DX stations, some with signals that are well below the noise level. Running 30 Watts and wire antennas, I've woked all 50 States and 65 countries using the JT65A mode.
I'm still having lots of fun in HamRadio after over 54 years of operating.
73, Rich - K1HTV
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