I became interested in radio when I was about 7. That year I received a pair of "Star Trek Communicators" that operated on either channel 16 or 19 of CB. But I had never heard of either CB or Ham radio at the time. Eventually, those "walkie talkies" died and got thrown out. It wasn't until my early teens that I was exposed to radio again when I went on a road trip with my grandparents from San Diego to Santa Fe, Durango and Mesa Verde. My grandfather had a Sears RoadTalker CB radio in his car and I loved listening to it as we drove. A few years later, when I turned 16, my grandparents gave me my own CB radio that I set up in my bedroom using a wall wart power supply that the geniuses at Radio Shack sold my grandfather. It put out 12 volts at maybe 1 A max. I also used a magnet mount antenna sitting in my bedroom window sill located on the second floor of our house. Our house was also located on a hill so that helped. But I knew I needed something better so the first weekend after I got the radio, I bought a 1/4 wave ground plane antenna from Radio Shack for $20 and mounted it to the eaves outside my bedroom window.
A few days later, I "ran" in to a kid from my high school on the "local channel." We became good friends, meeting almost every night on the radio. Almost 30 years later, we're still good friends and he holds the call N6CAZ. He taught me quite a bit through our nightly conversations. In fact, it was because of him that I learned my "wall wart" power supply was inadequate for my radio. He also taught me about "skip" and this thing called "sideband." I really wanted to try it, so that year for Christmas I asked for and received a Cobra 148GTL. I also asked for 20 ft of mast, a tripod and enough coax to put the antenna higher up on the house. Between the time I got my first radio and Christmas when I got the Cobra 148, I had started to learn about ham radio by checking books out of the library and I decided I wanted to get a license, too. Another CB friend I knew gave me a code tape - but my interest would rise and fall. Finally, in the fall of 1986, I decided to really work at it and I started listening to the code tape for 20 - 30 minutes every night for several months. In January 1987, I took my tests and passed. At the time, I had a Cobra 2000 CB base station that I traded for a Tempo 2020 that I used with a Butternut HF6V. It took me about another year before I upgraded to Technician.and that's where I sat for several years. Not because I didn't want to upgrade, but because I didn't have a station or a place to operate from. Shortly after I got my Novice license, my parents split up and we ended up living in a condo. I tried to get on the air once but I caused so much RFI in the neighbor's electronics above us that I was told to cease all operations. So, I mostly operated VHF/UHF mobile and some 10M operations via my Uniden HR-2510.
In December 1991, I went in to the Army Reserve. When I came back from training in August 1992, I became a dispatcher for two different sheriff's offices until 1996. In 1997, I went back to school and got a degree in electronics. Upon graduation, I went to work for Qualcomm back in San Diego. In 2000, my new wife and I rented a house and the landlord allowed me to put up an HF vertical in the backyard. I enjoyed operating HF for a few years on the Icom IC-746 I purchased. I especially liked PSK31. Unfortunately, in 2003, my wife was laid off when her Programmer/Analyst position was outsourced overseas. A few months later, she found a job in Tampa and we moved down there. We were able to buy a house but finding one without antenna restrictions was nearly impossible. I was fortunate to obtain permission from the HOA to install a SteppIR 40-6 meter vertical in our backyard. When we moved down there, I returned to dispatching because Tampa didn't have a high tech industry. The president of the HOA was a deputy for the agency I was working for and I think that helped me get permission to put the antenna up. I wrote, what I thought, was a very well done proposal explaining what amateur radio was, how it could benefit our neighborhood during a hurricane and explained my role as a liason between the communications center and the Sheriff's Office Tactial Amateur Radio Club. The BigIR worked pretty well from our location. There were no houses behind us - just a small lake. The antenna was only blocked on the north side by our house.
In 2009, we moved to Colorado Springs when my wife accepted a job as a Database Administrator for the county. Unfortunately, because of the economy, it took me some time to find work. I went back to school in April 2009 and graduated with honors with a degree in Network Systems Administration. I'm now working on a third degree in Information Technology. I was also fortunate to get several temporary contracts that kept me working for the past year and a half. I worked for six months at Hewlett Packard as a SAN Technician. Then I started working for the City of Colorado Springs as a Help Desk Analyst. In August 2011, I started a full time job working for Pueblo County Government as a Technical Support Analyst mostly supporting the sheriff's office. Then, in July 2012, I finally found a full time job closer to home as a Help Desk Technician with Peak Vista Community Health Centers.
We recently moved and I haven't had an opportunity to put all my equipment back on the air. Currently, I have an Icom ID-880H for VHF/UHF and D-Star, a Kenwood TM-3530 220 mobile, a Kenwood TR-251 all mode 2M mobile, and a Yaesu FT-950. I plan on getting a Buckmaster OCF dipole to use on 80 through 6 meters. I also have an LDG AT-200 Pro II and a SteppIR 2 element Yagi. I purchased the 40/30M folded dipole option so I'll basically have one element on 40 and 30, two elements on 20 through 10 and three elements on 6. I have a 30' Universal Tower that I want to put the antennas on.I just need to dig the hole and get the concrete poured. I hope to get the HF beam up to 35' with my 2M beam above that and the OCF dipole mounted at 30' in an inverted V configuration. We live on a hill at an elevation of 6700' so it should all work pretty good.
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