Ham radio became a primary interest to me when became a Cub Scout in 1954. I was introduced to the Morse code and began to learn all the various letters and numbers. By the time I entered high school ham radio was a goal and something I decided I wanted to pursue as a primary hobby. Lucky for me at about the same time I met my best friend Dennis, K9MKC. He was also interested in ham radio and the two of us would study together while enroute to school on the bus and after school at home. In 1958 we both got our Novice licenses and within a year we upgraded to General class. My call is an original and one that the FCC chose for me.
For quite some time I continued on CW, since that was the type of equipment that I could afford and which offered the best in HF communications. While the specter of phone operation was there I kept on using CW for 90% of my HF activity. In the early 90’s I upgraded to Advanced and a short time later to a coded Extra Class. By that time I had changed over to almost all CW operation and started to use QRP occasionally.
Work and raising a family was a priority but thanks to a very understanding XYL and daughter they insisted that I keep ham radio as a hobby and remain active. I wasn’t on-the-air quite as often as I would like but I wasn’t absent from the HF bands either.
In 2006 I finally retired from a 35 year career as a Labor Relations Manager in heavy industry. I was finally able to devote much more of my time to ham radio and continued with CW. In 2007, we moved from the Waukesha, WI area to Fridley, MN at the request of our daughter who lived up here with her family. It was a good move and we found a smaller home with room for a couple of wire antennas. My first floor radio room serves me well and again, my very supportive XYL insisted that I use that facility.
My favorite mode is still CW and QRP operation when the bands will support that kind of activity. I belong to ARRL, QRP-ARCI #9616, SKCC #1540, NAQCC #3894 and I am a SOTA Chaser. I am also a woodworker and enjoy combining the two hobbies. Many of the photos on this page show some of my efforts to customize my station a little bit.
I QSL 100% but do not use LOTW or eQSL. I prefer to only exchange real cards.
To keep track of time and for a station accent on the wall I built a dual clock that simultaneously shows GMT and Central time. It is made from cherry and walnut.
My operating position consists of an Elecraft K3/100 coupled with a P3 scope and a KX3 coupled with a PX3 scope. Microsoft Excel handles all my logging needs and various Elecraft software packages integrate both K3's with my computer, a MacBook Pro. I can control the station manually with either radio combination or let the computer do most of the work. I prefer manual control for most operations.
My QRP station consists of an Elecraft KX3, PX3, 7.5 and 9 Ah. batteries in custom cases and various homebrew keyer paddles. In the field I have made a variety of portable antennas that are both easy to set up and which work well covering the 40/30/20 meter bands.
For CW keying I use two different iambic paddles. The BY-1 by Bencher and the Kent Twin Paddle key. The original finger pieces on each paddle have been replaced with Zebra Wood which is more stable and won't flex like plastic, is more comfortable to use and provides greater visual interest.
Pictured below are a several straight keys that I either designed and built or which were "basket cases" and that I rebuilt. The have all been used over the years.
I have also made several keyer paddles for the field of which these are typical. One is a simple single lever paddle that is designed to be held with one hand and keyed with the other. Another paddle is made using two micro switches and is more table top suited.
One important piece of equipment for antenna work is my Elecraft W1 wattmeter. It autoscales from 0.1 to 140 watts. Being hand held it is very convenient in both the shack and field. The kit, while easy to assemble, does not come with case. So, I made one out of white oak with a plastic top panel. The back side has a removable panel for easy access to the board and for battery replacement.
Antennas consist of two different CF Zepp antennas each fed with 300 ohm window line into DX Engineering 1:1 current baluns. From there two very short pieces of LMR-400 coax bring the antenna into the shackup. One antenna is 30 feet in height and the other is a true flat top at 20 feet. Both antenna systems utilize self supporting home made masts.
7484921 Last modified: 2016-08-04 15:08:24, 7502 bytes
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