I was licensed as a Technician way back in 1976 at the tender age of 15 with the callsign WB5XIK. The FCC took that callsign back about a week after I received it (said they weren't supposed to give 'X' suffixes out to regular people) and re-dubbed me WB5YGR. While completing my electrical engineering degree at Miss. State University, there was no time or funds for hobbies, and I was forced into inactivity for several years. I renewed my ticket under the grace period in 1989 and was issued the new callsign of N5IBL. I quickly upgraded to General, then Advanced, and received the callsign KI5NB while flying KC-135s for the Air Force, in Shreveport, LA. In the mid 1990s, I upgraded to Extra Class and was issued my last FCC assigned call of AC5ZU. I recently acquired the vanity call of K5OLV. I obtained my first pilot's license as a teenager flying out of our local airport here in Olive Branch, MS, which has the four-letter ICAO identifier of KOLV. The new call ties in with that history and my hometown. My wife, Gayle, is a Tech (N5SIE) and our 24 year old son Ben (who is also a commercial pilot) also holds a Tech license (KD5LSF).
In early 1992, after spending almost eight years in the Air Force, we all moved back to north Mississippi, putting down permanent roots in the old hometown. I am currently flying full time as a captain in the Airbus A300 and A310 for FedEx out of Memphis, TN. I was fairly active up until 2001 when multiple deployments with my air guard unit after 9/11 and losing my antennas to an ice storm, coincided with a waning interest in radios. It was just as well since family interests and all the activities associated with two teenagers needed my attention.
Now that the kids are grown, I find myself having a new desire to re-discover ham radio. I've put together a station that, so far, consists of a Kenwood TS-2000S and a Yeasu FT-857D/LDG YT-100 tuner combination. Both of these rigs are used to work all modes on both HF and VHF/UHF. For local 2m/440 FM, I use the -857D into a J-pole, or a Kenwood TM-733A. The -2000S is brand new, so while I'm going through some growing pains trying to integrate it fully into the station, I'm pleased with it so far!
For HF, both radios are switched into a 700 ft loop antenna at 25 feet that is used for 80m-6m phone, CW and PSK. The rest of the antenna stack can be seen in the picture at left. Starting at the top is a Comet GP-1 for local 2m/440 FM, a homebrew 432mhz yagi, Cushcraft 10 element 2m yagi, and finally a Cushcraft 5 element 6m yagi. The feed point for the BOL (big ole loop) is just below this stack. The top of the GP-1 is at 40 ft. We keep a condo in the mountains of North Georgia. I recently setup a station there as well using some older gear I had laying around. That station consists of my old Kenwood TS-440S radiating into a 6-BTV HF vertical, and a Kenwood TM-701A VHF/UHF rig paired with another Comet GP-1. I use it whenever we are there, which is usually one week every month.
All in all, life is very good. I am living joyfully under God's Grace! Hope you are too!
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