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Looking 302.3 degrees WNW towards JA-land from CN74xm

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you'll enjoy this write up and find the pictures of interest. May our next QSO be not far down the log!

Struck with an early fascination with radio, it soon became my vocation and avocation. If I wasn't rockin' listeners out of bed up and down the FM dial, I was chasing DX up and down the ham bands. All things radio was it for me, work and play, and continues to be my favorite pastime today.

Now retired, I haunt the airwaves as a full-time ham and ardent shortwave listener, sharing the radio shack with my lovely xyl Annette N7 Surfer Girl. We enjoy operating a variety of gear spanning a half century from Ten Tec, Drake, Elecraft, and Kenwood. She's SSB, I'm CW.

Would you believe we first met when my errant signal came blasting through her stereo speakers three doors down? Never did solve the RFI; instead we got married, she passed her Extra, and we've been living hammily ever after.

N7SG and I enjoy several phone nets, but most of my on-air time is spent on CW, the last Amateur Radio operating oasis and happy haven for crusty OT's like me.

When not polishing code keys, testing tubes, or building QRP rigs, I enjoy combining ham radio and RV'ing. Our mini-motorhome is complete with two HF operating positions. One is traditional with an IC-706 MKIIG and 31' vertical, the other is a grab n' go portable setup that auto-connects to the cloud & home QTH antennas for remote HF operating, shown below.

Fueled entirely by hardware and firmware hidden underneath a small laptop table, it has no OS to crash & is totally computer-free. Remote Rig serial servers manage IP addressing and all transmit/receive audio. Cloud connectivity is provided by a cellular wireless router and an AT&T aircard. Topside sports a TS-480SAT detachable head, 11" antenna for 1.8GHz, microphone, and G4ZPY micro paddle. The whole package deploys & connects to the internet in less than 30 seconds and goes anywhere with a convenient carrying handle. The chimp is there to periodically throw a monkey wrench into things!

When off the air, I enjoy plenty of naps, traveling along the Oregon Coast, hanging out at Starbucks, rocking out on guitar, and sampling local seafood!

Thanks again for stopping by; see you on the bands!

73, John K7FD


The RED ROOSTER hand key

Try building the RED ROOSTER hand key! In less than an hour, you can have your very own!

All it takes is a silicone oven mitt (available from kitchen stores or Amazon), 2 brass brad contacts, mono plug, and 2 conductor cable. Punch two holes, solder it up, and you're ready for action!

Simply slip your hand inside Red's beak and flap away for flawless dits and dahs!

Key clucks optional, chirp guaranteed!


Want a hot tip on sending CW? Stop using periods at the end of sentences. I believe ARRL code practice is to blame for spreading this bad habit, having a brainless computer send text from the pages of QST. In any event, do your fellow hams a favor and leave those periods out and use the telegrapher preferred prosign BT dahdidididah. You're not writing a letter, you're pounding brass. Nothing takes the air out of a good CW QSO quicker than copying a bunch of boring didahdidahdidahdidahs sent over, and over, and over. If I'm listening to you send periods and you suddenly lose me during our QSO, you'll know I went to sleep! ZZZzzzz


History of K7FD, the early years

If you've read this far, you might as well stay around for the whole story, hi! Sometimes someone will ask how I became interested in Ham Radio and I always find it interesting we seem to stumble into it in a variety of ways. But I suspect my way was fairly typical of many a half century ago, bumping into a family friend 'ham'. In my case, it was a chance visit with Joel, WA7BYF (SK) in Napavine, Washington. Joel was 13 and I was about 10 years old. But Joel had some neat radios in his bedroom, ones his uncle had given him. If I remember right, one was a Johnson Viking. But what I remember most was listening to Radio New York Worldwide that day. Wow -- New York! Can you believe it? I couldn't and it made a big impression on me. Shortly thereafter, I diverted my life savings for a BB gun over to a knightkit Star Roamer shortwave radio. It wasn't long before I had QSL cards from Radio Japan, Radio Australia, and others pasted to the wall above my bunk bed. Popular Electronics even issued me an SWL 'call' -- WPE7COH. I listened to Hilversum Holland and The Happy Station, laughing nightly at Tom Meijer's antics on the air. I thought to myself, that's what I'm going to do some day!

The Star Roamer wasn't much by today's standards but it was enough to pick up Hams talking to each other. Not long after, I found a copy of the ARRL License Manual and began to study on my own. I had some help with the code; my dad was a signalman in the Navy and nightly practice began with him at the helm. Soon I passed my Novice and waited patiently by the mailbox for that envelope to arrive from the FCC. Eventually it did and I became WN7IHO. All of 1967 I hung out on 40 meters with my Ameco AC-1 transmitter; I even received a special pink 'QSL' from the FCC monitoring station in Alaska! In any event, it was time to upgrade. Time to pass that 13 wpm!

Again, it was my dad assisting as he drove me to downtown Portland in his '66 Bel Air to take the General exam. Several floors up in a big building, I found a hallway of other exam takers. We all clutched our dog-eared license manuals. I wasn't old enough to smoke but all the others did as we waited for the results. Some of us passed, some didn't. It took me a couple of tries, always struggling with the theory. Along the way, I upgraded to a Heathkit HR-10B and DX-60. Then picking a lot of strawberries paid for a Galaxy V Mk III. A little later, bussing tables bought a new Drake TR-4.

Eventually I made it to Extra by the time I graduated from college. Thirty-six years ago I changed my call to K7FD, celebrating fun times experienced at Field Day. Fast forward through life's ups and downs, and to this day I continue to enjoy the world's greatest hobby. This year marks 47 continuous years operating from Oregon.That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Last modified: 2014-04-14 02:20:11, 11533 bytes

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