Have been a ham since 1980. Had a lot of fun on HF with CW, SSB and some QRP in the early years. Started off with a Heath HW-8 and moved up to a SB-104a. Eventually added a Heath SB-220 amp and Kenwood TS-530S for 10 MHz etc. I was bitten by the "VHF and up weak signal bug" in 1986 when I returned to Rochester, NY after my time in the U.S.A.F. I started off with a Kenwood TR-751a and Cushcraft 11 element yagi. I soon upgraded with a Mirage B3016 160 watt brick and a Cushcraft 4218xl yagi. I began to enjoy some longer contacts and the "buzz" mode of Aurora contacts. I owe many thanks to Al Goss, K2SPO (now K2ERG) and Todd Ellis, KS2Z for all of their encouragement at this time. In 1989 I moved to Kennsaw, GA to get off the road and spend more time with my family. I put up two of the 4218xl yagis stacked vertically and started to really enjoy the southern tropo conditions. In June of 1992 I worked W5UN off the moon (via CW) with the two 4218xl's, 160 watts and no elevation just using the setting moon. I was now bitten with a whole new bug ... EME! By, 1993 I had four of the 4218xl's modified per VE7BQH specs up on an H frame at 60 feet. (see picture above) I bought a W6PO 8877 two meter RF deck and managed to get that working by stealing the HV from my SB 220 HF amp. I was able to get about 700 watts out with 25 watts of drive with the low HV of 2300 volts or so on the 8877. The first EME contest I participated in was 1993. This was the first time I could elevate my antennas above the horizon. When the moon rose above 30 degrees and I could begin to hear calls like DL8DAT, SM5FRH, I2FAK, KB8RQ and many others I about fell out of my chair. I spent my first 2 hours just listening to the magic! Later I added a preamp and relays at the top of the tower to improve my RX. I really enjoyed 144 MHz EME from 1993 - 2000 or so. In 2003 I had to take the array down as my family and I moved from Kennsaw to the mountains of Jasper, GA about 45 miles to the Northeast. I am now on a 3200 foot ridge and have a great horizon in most directions. LoS is 50 - 65 miles in most directions from here. Propagation is fantastic but the rough weather and icing in the winter have cut back the size of the antennas that I am dreaming to put up. I have a single 4218xl (VE7BQH mod.) up for 144 MHz and a 23 Element German design up for 432 MHz. I have had many temp antennas up for HF - 1296 MHz and need to work on permanent antennas for those bands. I am always interested in scheds for 144/432 so send me an email if you need EM74. I hope to work many of you on the bands.
73 and good luck to you!
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