September 29, 2013
I have been continuously licensed and operational with this original call since October 1959 when a sophomore in
high school. My rig was a Globe Scout 680A transmitter, Heathkit AR-3 receiver, a home brew 6-meter converter using
a 6U8 oscillator/mixer with a 6AK5 RF Amplifier, and a modified surplus low-band Forestry Service folded monopole
ground plane on 6-meters.
My favorite band is 6 meters although I can be found on 80 through 10 – all SSB, depending on propagation and
interest. I do operate WSJT and related digital modes while learning and enjoying weak signal methods. I also enjoy
144 and 432 MHz operation and am planning to expand my operations to include EME, Meteor Scatter, and 10GHz.
I enjoy building and experimenting with antennas and utilize the DG8SAQ Vector Network Analyzer VNWA (from
sdr-kits.net) which I highly recommend for the serious experimenter. I simply got tired of SWR Bridges and Bird 43's.
I like to experiment with unique antennas such as the HenTenna (a form of slot antenna) pictured here for 6 meters.
Even though it physically is vertical, the radiation pattern is horizontal. It works quite well with a gain of about
2 db above a dipole and a take-off angle of about 15 degrees. On 80-10 meters, I utilize an old Butternut HF-6V
The counterpoise is a cyclone fence, which works surprisingly well. A MFJ-986 Differential Roller
Inductor Antenna Tuner does help.
My main transceiver is a Yaesu FT-857D that has been modified with a XRef-FT Main Oscillator Board from VK3HZ.net.
This board allows precision frequency generation when synchronized with a highly accurate 10 MHz reference source
such as a GPS Disciplined Oscillator (GPSDO). I utilize the Trimble Thunderbolt GPSDO for various test equipment
references through a distribution amplifier. This arrangement provides for very accurate frequency generation,
necessary for weak signal work. The rig is shown here with the MFJ-986 and SignaLink USB digital interface.
I occasionally listen to AM broadcast and shortwave utilizing a Hammarlund SP-600 JX-17 manufactured in 1952. There
is something about the receiver that is heartwarming – besides the 20 tubes. It is simply a joy to operate, including a
hefty spin of the tuning knob. Here are a couple of photos - the front panel and a close-up of the S-meter and main tuning dial.
I look forward to working you somewhere on the dial …