I was born in Crowley, LA, USA in 1946. First licensed at 13 years old in 1959 as KN5YPS and received K5UA in the first vanity call program sometime in the 1970s. My ham radio background steered me towards an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1969. I entered Air Force Officer Training School in 1969 and was assigned to the Air Force Eastern Test Range at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Cocoa Beach was a great location for DX to Europe and Asia. The Hy-Gain TH-3JR mounted only five feet above the Bachelor's Officer's Quarters, about 300 feet from the Atlantic Ocean, worked like a million bucks into Europe and Asia. Worked for three years at the Air Force Eastern Range coordinating engineering projects between Pan Am/RCA and the Air Force for three USAFmissle tracking ships, the USNS Redstone, USNS Vandenberg, and USNS Arnold.
After the Apollo Program was prematurely terminated, the bottom fell out of the engineering profession, so I left the Air Force in 1972 and entered LSU School of Dentistry in 1973. Graduated with a D.D.S. in 1977 and entered orthodontic speciality training. Graduated with a Certificate in Orthodontics in 1979 and re-entered the US Air Force, assigned to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Asked for Germany and got assigned to Guam. Go figure.
The 4 element quad at 50 feet worked well from the island paradise of Guam. In 1981 was reassigned to the US Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs for a year. I left the US Air Force to return to the private practice of orthodontics in my home town in 1982. For 18 years I lived in the country near Egan, LA, and in 2000 I moved inside the city limits of Crowley. I could not erect antennas inside the city limits higher than 45 feet, so I was off the air for 3 years until I bought an acre of unrestricted country property about 3 miles south of Crowley. I put a mobile home on the property for a ham shack and installed two Heights Manufacturing 76 foot, fold-over aluminum towers that support a 4 element SteppIR yagi, and a SteppIR DB-18. The current equipment is a Flex-6500 and an Alpha 9500. Contesting and chasing DX are my major interests, as well as antenna experimentation. I have a web site (www.k5ua.com) that is dedicated to my 30 years of experimentation with a horizontal, 2 element, 40 meter phased array.
This is a 2010 aerial photo of the one acre site where I built my station. City ordinances limited towers to 45 feet, so I had to build in the country to achieve the tower height I wanted. At least the XYL was happy to see all the radio gear out of the house at last. The bottom photo is circa mid-2013 when the station was a FTDX-5000 with LP-Pan using PowerSDR-IF. The Acom 2000a amp and antenna switches are in the next room for a quiet operating environment. The current station in the photo above is a Flex Radio 6500 driving an Alpha 9500 in the next room with the antenna switches.
The left photo is me as a novice, KN5YPS, in 1959 with my Heathkit AT-1 transmitter and Hallicrafters S-85 receiver. The right photo is in 2005 with the Icom Pro II and some audio gear.
That's me on top of the Bachelor Officers Quarters at Patrick AFB, Florida, circa 1970. The Hy-Gain TH3Mk3 was 5 feet off the second story roof in a short piece of dowel wood stuck in a vent pipe. No guy wires, no rotator, pointed at Europe. You would not believe the pipeline I had to Europe and Asia, thanks to the several thousand miles of salt water, 300 feet away, straight to Europe. Later I put up a EZ-way tower right outside my window with a 2 element quad and really had a ball. My roommate, also a ham, took possession of another vent pipe and put a 10 foot mast in it for his yagi. I'm sure the base commander thought this really beautified the BOQ.
This is the USNS Redstone, a retired NASA missle tracking ship that was acquired by the US Air Force for use on the Eastern Test Range in 1970. I was in the Ships Engineering Division of the AFETR from 1969 to 1971. By 1972 the Apollo program was abandoned and thousands of engineers were laid off by NASA. There was little demand for electrical engineers in 1972, so I decided to leave the US Air Force and retrain in the dental profession at LSU School of Dentistry in New Orleans.
Got to go back and visit Cape Kennedy during the dental school years of 1973 - 1977. NASA used one of the remaining Saturn V rockets as static displays at Cape Kennedy Space Center. This is the business-end of the first stage of the Saturn V booster that generated 7,500,000 pounds of thrust for lifting the 6,000,000 pound vehicle off the pad. I was fortunate during my tour at Patrick AFB to see the Apollo 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 launches. Very impressive sight from 5 miles from the launch pad. Even at 5 miles distance the shock waves from the Saturn V would buffet your chest. Remained at LSU School of Dentistry for 2 years after the DDS degree to specialize in Orthodontics. Next stop after the Orthodontic training at LSU School of Dentistry in New Orleans was the US Air Force again, this time assigned to a SAC base in the Pacific (Andersen AFB, Guam).
I'm sure the Andersen AFB base commander thought this 4 element quad was an attractive addition to the officer's housing area. I had a Kenwood TS-180 and an Alpha 374 (3 8874 tubes) tied to the quad and made a lot of noise from deep in the Pacific. Speaking of noise, Andersen was a SAC base with B-52 bombers (8 engines). I bought an Icom 2KL amp while on island, and I remember the first time the fan kicked into high gear. I thought a B-52 was passing over the house. It was a 500 watt amp and put out 450 watts of fan noise at idle. Sold it as fast as I could. Next stop was the USAF Academy at Colorado Springs for a year, then back to Crowley, LA to start my private practice of Orthodontics. Anyone who served in the military in the western Pacific will recognize the rosewood used to make the desk and chair. Literally went broke "saving money" buying Chinese carpets and furniture and Japanese silk screens and vases.
Sometime in the 1990s a windstorm blew in from the northwest. I guess a 4 element quad on a 30 foot boom with an interlaced 2 element 40 meter phased yagi was a bit too much wind load for a 50 foot EZ-Way tower. Notice the Wonder Post, 8 feet deep in sand,did not budge. Thank God the cows in the next field were not speared by the quad elements. Decided to start from scratch with a Tri-EX W-51 in the side yard and 50 feet of Rohn-25 with a Hazer in the front yard.
I rebuilt the 4 element quad on a Tri-Ex W-51 tower, put up a 50 foot Rohn tower with a Hazer for the 2 element 40 meter phased array in the front yard, and got a new bottom section for the EZ-Way tower to hold an inverted-vee for 75 meters. I stayed at this QTH in Egan, LA from 1982 to 2000 and then moved into the city limits of Crowley. I had to take all the towers down. The photo on the right is the 50 foot Rohn with the homebrew tilt-over base attached to my homebrew version of the EZ-Way Wonder Post base. That homebrew EZ-Way style Wonder-Post, 8 feet deep in sand, was as good as any concrete base if placed in undisturbed soil. Since I could not rebuild the towers inside the Crowley city limits because of height restrictions, I was off the air for 3 years while I looked for a new site outside the city limits.
I finally found a suitable acre of land to build the new station south of Crowley. Drake Demitry, owner of Heights Towers, installed two 76 foot fold-over Aluminum towers, each in about 9 yards of concrete. The left photo was on the day of installation. That's 72 feet of aluminum tower hinged over, driven by a screw mechanism with a 1/2 HP gear-motor. On the right photo, my contest and Field Day buddy (Roland, NA5Q) was so impressed with the towers that he later installed one at his QTH.
Watching one of these towers tilt over with the screw mechanism is an incredible sight. The screw is a 1.25 " diameter hardened steel threaded rod. A 3/4 H.P. motor turns the screw, which goes through a threaded brass traveling block attached to the tower. This pushes the tower over or pulls it up, depending upon the clock-wise or counter-clockwise rotation of the reversible motor. The tower hinges on clevis joints fabricated of one-inch thick machined aluminum. One inch bolts through the clevis joints secure the tower to the tilt-over stand. Drake estimates the tension in the threaded rod at 60,000 - 80,000 pounds. Look mom, no climbing. The tower can bring the mast all the way down to touch the ground if necessary. NN4ZZ tilt-plates on the DB-18 SteppIR and the 4 element SteppIR allow the antennas to come down parallel to the ground for maintenance at about the four foot level. In the right photo the tilt-plate had not yet been installed, so the antenna is coming down "boom first". The "boom first" orientation is much harder to work on, so the NN4ZZ tilt plates are the way to go.
The 4 element SteppIR really looks nice against the Louisiana sunset.
These ducks were flying about 2 miles west of my shack. Sportsman's Paradise until the BP oil spill. Who knows what damage has be done to the marshes and the wildlife that lives and reproduces there? Only time will tell.
6643728 Last modified: 2015-08-16 01:16:21, 11506 bytes
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