I was introduced to ham radio back in 1973 and 74 by a couple of local hams both of whom are deceased now. I received my Novice ticket in Oct of 1976 and my Technicians license in November or December of the same year. My first call sign was WB9YTT which I quickly added the phonetics of Yesterdays Tired Turkey.
Introduced to TOPBAND during the ARRL/160 Meter contest DEC/1976. At that point I decided that I had to get on 160 meters. That contest really turned my life and attitude around. There was something magical about 160 that I couldn't get out of my head . After obtaining my General Class License in March of 1977, I was faced with another hurdle of not having 160 meters on my Yaesu FTDX 570 transceiver. However, the Fox Tango Group had a modification for the rig and I quickly purchased it and installed it. It worked first time out of the box. Hooray! I'm now on 160 meters. Relocating from Moline, IL to Washington State in 1982, I applied for a new call sign and received N7CKD, to which many of you might remember me through the "West Coast 160 Meter Bulletin" and "The Topband Frequency Allocations List" that is still active and alive but maintained by a Friend/K8ND-Jeff Maas. Download a copy "FREE" from either of our web sites. Jeff now maintains and manages the changes and additions to this invaluable tool. Amazing to see and realize how such a simple DXing tool has withstood 27 years of existence. Thanks to all who helped make this possible and a "Special Thanks" to Jeff Maas for picking up the task after I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in 2005 and spent the next 3 year battling this disease to which I am still fighting yet today.
Relocating from Auburn, WA back home to Muscatine, Iowa in 1996; I applied for and obtained a new vanity call of K0CKD exchanging the N7 for the K0 prefix. I kept the call K0CKD during relocation to SC and after taking residence in York, SC; once again I felt the need to change calls but decided to see if the call sign of K4CKD was available and it was. In March of 2009, I applied for the call and it was issued to me in November of the same year and it is the call I currently have and probably will have the rest of my life as an amateur radio operator. The only thing missing or regret I have in my 35 years as aLicensed Radio Amateur is the absense of the Extra CLass License. With all the taking away and deleting the novice license and grandfathering many amateurs even after they allowed their license to lapse prior to 1987 is a slap in the face to many of us GENERAL CLASS OPERATORS. Even if they would have given us operating privileges below the bottom 25 KHz of the main bands so we could enjoy CW there as well, but NO we were stood up. This of course is IMHO! Maybe someday or in another life I'll get the coveted License called "THE EXTRA CLASS".
By now you probably have guessed that 160 meters is my band of choice not to mention that it is also an obsession and addiction. Chasing those rare and illusive DX stations on CW has been a long time passion.It took me 27 years to make DXCC to which I never filed for the award. It took me 4 months to work 100 countries from my current location of York, SC after getting back into Ham radio in Oct of 2008 with an IC-735, an inv-L and a small 300 watt tuner. The IC-735 only put out 65 watts so I was rather restricted from the get go but Challenge is my middle name. My station today consists of the following:
My inv-L is 128 feet long and goes up into a southern pine tree at 92 feet with the remaining 36 feet horizontal and fed against a modest ground radial system consisting of 9 radials each 136 feet long and 27 radials ONLY 36 feet long. I DO NOT use a tuner on top band unless I really feel the need to do so. I have added a salt water reservoir to the ground system to make the antenna think that it is sitting in salt water. Adding this system increased the bandwidth at resonance by 10 KHz and lowered the VSWR by the same. Contrary to many who think that this idea and or experiment is mute and doesn't work, all I can say is that I don't argue with success and what the numbers tell in the end result. If you don't play or experiment, you'll never learn; if you never learn you go NOWHERE.
I have spent over 3 years perfecting the inv-L and my RX antennas to the point of diminishing returns, (no further improvements available) Well, we will see about that. I guess a few more radials can't hurt anything right? I enjoy the art of building and experimenting with antennas; spending time with my best friend Eloise and singing in Karaoke bars in the area. My long term goal is to overcome the effects of Prostate Cancer, being able to take a walk on the beach in the moonlight and to play a round of Golf I haven't been able to do in 4 years. This is our fantasy dream we both hope to do in the near future. STILL CHASING THAT FANTASY DREAM----OH WELL, WE CAN STILL DREAM.
I have learned NOT to take things for granted and to accept and be blessed with those things life has to offer. I also thank God for giving me those Second Chances at life and the ability to tell my story as it is. To all those friends, operators and DX stations I have met and worked; I hope to do so many times over and see you all in the DX Pileups on 160 meters or maybe at a Ham Fest.
As for the cancer, it's going to be with me for the duration of my life and so I have to deal with it and move ahead. This past week I had a full stint installed in the Right side Kidney to bladdeer as the cancer had invaded the bladder area disallowing draining from the kidney. It can't be cured but I guess it can be tamed somewhat so that's where we are with that. As long as I can continue to chase the DX on top band and be withmy girl friend; that's all I can ask for these days, After retirement, what else is there? Being happy doing what one enjoys doing best and taking it a day at a time.
The 18th of this month/October; I will celebrate 36 years of amateur radio with 35 of those years as a General Class License Holder. My only regret is that I didn;t get my Extra. Trying to study for the Extra CLass Ticket is like learning to walk all over again. The cancer has caused some short and long term memory issues that causes one not to remember what he has read or studied long enough to take a test let alone sit for an hour and so so. It would be niced if the ARRL and League Organizers would allow the General Class operators access to the 25 kHz windows on 80, 40, 20 and 15 meters. What would it hurt to allow us CW OPERATORS to operate there and continue our quest for DXing in those segments that are currently off limits? Well, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!
Dennis G. Peterson
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