About QSLs, LOTW, and eQSL
Deep into retirement, I have no extra money to waste on the postage to send and receive QSL cards, the cost to print them, and the many hours it takes to file them and send replies. The average cost of sending an SASE with return postage is now more than $3 US. I have to pay $2 for one IRC. If you're not on LOTW, I'm much less likely to call you when I see you spotted. Putting your log on LOTW and eQSL saves an average of $3 for everyone who wants a confirmation from you. Be a considerate ham -- put your log on LOTW and eQSL. Both are free, and are easy to use if you use the popular computer logging software. I've used DXKeeper (also free) with LOTW since 2004. Yes, LOTW charges a small amount when you apply a QSO to an award, about the cost of printing one paper card. I started over on DXCC when I moved here from Chicago, and I recently made a submission for DXCC on the nine HF bands. Of 1,300 band-countries I submitted, about 1,000 were LOTW. Using LOTW saved me about $3,000 in postage -- that's more than enough to buy a really nice rig! And LOTW has finally reached critical mass -- as of last week, half of all my QSOs since moving to California in 2006 are confirmed on LOTW!
My log is uploaded to LOTW and eQSL nearly every week. QSL direct or via the Bureau. I respond to Bureau cards several times a year via the ARRL via the ARRL Bureau. To my friends in Japan -- I am completely disgusted with the massive abuse of the Bureau system by JA hams, who so badly flood it with cards that it takes an average of two years for a one way trip, and another two years for them to receive my card in return. I receive 5 cards from JA for every card from the rest of the world combined; many JA hams have sent me more than ten cards, and some have sent me 20 cards! This is CRAZY, and I will no longer respond to it.I just spent 20 hours filing five months worth of JA cards and preparing more than JA 700 QSLs. They are my last responses to JA Bureau cards. Effective immediately, I will no longer respond to Bureau cards from Japan.
The photo above looks west toward the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Monterey Penninsula from a point about 30 miles inland. K9YC is on the far side of the most distant ridge, at an elevation of 2,000 ft, five miles from the Pacific Ocean. This gives me great propagation anywhere in the Pacific, but because the top of that nearby ridge ranges from 2,200 to 2,650 ft, working to the north and east is a bit of a challenge!
I grew up in West Virginia. I was first licensed in 1955 as WN8FNI, W8FNI (General Class) in 1956, and Amateur Extra and First Class Radiotelephone in 1959. I received my BSEE from the University of Cincinnati in 1964, where I was trustee of W8YX, the club station, reactivating it after a long period of down time. UC's engineering was co-op; as part of that program, I worked for WLW, WSAZ, WCAW, and RL Drake, where I tuned up some of their first TR3 transceivers.
I moved to Chicago in 1964 and received W9NEC, where I was sporadically active from a small city lot between 1976 and 1986. During my first years in Chicago, I worked briefly for Motorola, then taught for five years at DeVry. I moved to a new QTH in 1987, and was inactive until 2003 when I erected a few trap dipoles on a somewhat larger city lot, acquired a used OmniV, and put an FT-100 D in my Volvo. In 2003, I received K9YC under the Vanity licensing program. I first got into contesting in 1957, and now that I'm back on the air, that's my primary activity. My HF operation is mosty CW, but I'll pick up the mic to do contesting. I also enjoy VHF tropo, aurora, and Es, I've been playing a bit with PSK31 and I do RTTY contesting
In April 2006, we moved 2,200 miles westward from Chicago to Santa Cruz. We have a cottage nestled in an old growth redwood forest, 8.5 acres of which is our land. In addition to these magnificent trees, many of them nearly 100 years old and more than 150 ft tall, there are also pin oak, some beautiful madrones, and Douglas fir. Here's a view of our home in the mountains from the porch outside the ham shack.
The K9YC antenna farm consists of wire dipoles suspended from these trees at about 120 ft, a 3-el SteppIR at 100 ft, monoband Yagis for 20M, 15M, and 10M on two shorter towers, a 40M 2-el wire Yagi at about 100 ft pointed ENE, and two reversible Beverages to EU, VK, SA, and JA.There's an 86 ft top-loaded vertical for 160 with 60 radials. I've also rigged sloping quarter-wave wires for 160M from the tower. They're not connected to the tower, and fed from the base against radials. The tower acts as a passive reflector, and gives me about 2dB of gain. I feed the wires one at a time -- one faces ENE, the other west. What isn't obvious in the photos is that the trees rise more than 50 ft above the highest antennas.
Inside the shack, the operating desk holds a pair of K3s and a pair of Ten Tec Titan amps (for SO2R contesting) with the very nice YCCC SO2R box. There's a third K3, Titan amp, and a Ten Tec Hercules II amp in reserve. A year or so ago I added an Elecraft KPA500 amp, which, thanks to its instant-on feature, allows me to rest the filaments in the Titans during the week and use them only for contesting. I also work 6 meters, loading one of my HF dipoles or the SteppIR. I've always liked VHF and UHF small signal work, but I'm on the wrong side of the ridge to do much of that from this QTH. For about the last year, I've been using FSK441 and ISCAT on 6M, and JT65-HF on the HF bands. My current JT65 emphasis is on 160M. I've operated QRP in recent 160M CW contests, with 44 states and 10 countries worked
The 3-el SteppIR is at 100 ft, but at least 50 ft below the tops of the redwoods that surround it. I'm really thrilled with my wire antennas too, and would love to show you pictures, but they're up so high that they don't show up in a photo, even with a very good lens. There are guys at the top of this tower, but they're barely visible.
I'm a member of the Northern Califronia Contest Club, the Northern California DX Club, the CW Operator's Club, the Pine Flat Contesters, and the Ridge Runners Radio Club, and trustee of the Ridge Runners and Pine Flat Contesters Club Stations, W6BX and KU6W. After moving more than 2,000 miles (from Chicago), I started over on DXCC, WAS, and VUCC. In six years, I'm up to 305 countries worked with 298 confirmed (133 worked and 129 confirmed on 160). I've worked all states on 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10M, and I've worked all states on 160M with 100W. Back in Chicago, I'd worked 238 grids on 6M, with 228 confirmed. From CA, I've worked 280 and have 220 confirmed.
In my professional life, I'm a retired sound system design consultant, specializing in systems for public places -- theaters, churches, stadiums, arenas, etc. I still do technical writing and consulting on EMC. I'm a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), vice-chair of the EMC Working Group of the Standards Committee of the AES and Chair of the Technical Committee on EMC. I'm a principal author of four AES Standards on EMC -- AES48, AES54-1, AES54-2, and AES54-3. I'm also a contributor to the ARRL Handbook.
I find my ham and engineering background extremely helpful in understanding the issues associated with EMC, and have published several research papers and tutorials on the topic. They can be downloaded from my business website, http://audiosystemsgroup.com. Click on the "Publications" link. There are also various technical notes on sound system design, the technical issues associated with wireless microphones, and the effect of digital TV on wireless mics. I enjoy doing research and sharing it with others in the form of formal publications, tutorials, and applications notes. That's a major reason why I'm so lazy with QSLs.
I've also done some recording of live jazz for broadcast and my own personal enjoyment. One of those recordings, Carmen McRae live at Ratsos in 1976, was issued in 2003 by Hitchcock Media and received 4.5 stars from Downbeat. http://www.hitchcock-media.com
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