*NOTE: I go by my middle name 'Cliff' instead of Floyd because my Dad was always called Floyd.
Maidenhead Grid Square Locator: EM95iv
Last Update: August 8, 2016
ABOUT ME: First of all, I go by my middle name "Cliff" because my Dad was Floyd.I am age 55 and have been a ham since October 16th, 1996, Extra Class with CW since April 1997. I am also an all American born Conservative Christian member of the human race. I enjoy many facets of the amateur radio hobby, CW being my most favorite mode, but also operate HF digital modes.
Station Information:My station is located on the NE slope of Bald Knob Mountain (SOTA Reference W4C/WP-005) in Alexander County at 1,434 feet (437 meters) above sea level. My station equipment consists of a Yaesu FT-1000MP Mark V, Yaesu FT-897D, Kenwood TS-590S, and a Icom IC-760MarkIIG mobile rig for HF and I use a 260 feet (79 meters) doublet antenna up about 30 feet (9.14 meters) fed with 450 ohm ladder line which is connected to a homebrew balun and a short piece of coax coming on into the shack that I use on the 15 through 160 meter bands. I also use a Solarcon A-99 vertical antenna better known as a Antron 99 that I use on the 10, 12, 15, and 17 meter bands that is on a telescoping pole at 30 feet (9.14 meters) high. Other antennas I have are a Cushcraft A13B2 13 element yagi, a Cushcraft A-50-3S 3 element yagi for 6 meters, a Hustler 5BTV ground-mounted vertical, a 10 meter Ringo ground plane, and a Gap Challenger DX vertical. Several of these antennas I just received recently and hope to get them up in the cooler fall weather. I own one amp, a Ameritron AL-80B amplifier that I use mostly on 75 meter phone and a Palstar AT1500CV antenna tuner . I just retubed the AL-80B recently (see photos down this page). I use a Rigblaster M8 digital interface for HF digital modes. I also use a Yaesu FP-29 power supply for the Mark V and have the SP-8 Yaesu external speaker, a Yaesu MD100A8X desk top microphone, and a Daiwa CN-801H SWR/Power Meter. I also have a Pyramid PS-36KX 35 amp power supply and a Icom PS-55 20 amp power supply. I especially like the Pyramid PS-36KXpower supply because it has separate meters for volts and amps.For VHF I also use a Radio Shack HTX-242 mobile rig running 48 watts into a Cushcraft A148-10S 10 element yagi vertically mounted on a roof tripod. I power the 2 meter rig from a Icom PS-55 power supply.
CW Keys: My favorite and most used straight key is a J.H. Bunnell CJB26003A Navy Flameproof that is mounted on a 1/2" thick steel base custom made for me by W4CUX Bill Worley SK. I had a Begali Camelback straight key, but sold it on a Ebay auction after mounting the Navy Flameproof on the 1/2" thick steel base. The Navy key was like a completely different key after mounting it on the steel base, so much so that I began liking it better than the Begali Camelback key so I never used the Begali Camelback anymore and decided to sell it. I use a Vibroplex Chrome Vibrokeyer single lever paddle key that was willed to me by W4CUX Bill. Bill also willed me the Hendricks PFR-3A QRP rig I speak of above, a W5JH BBW (Baby Black Widow) iambic paddle that attaches to the front of the PFR-3A, and a QRP Kits 10 watt 50 ohm SMT resistive dummy load. W4CUX Bill constructed the PFR-3A from a kit. I have photos of all my equipment on down this page. I seldom work faster than 17 words per minute in a ragchew QSO with the paddle, but do go faster, up to around 28 to 30 words per minute, in a DX exchange QSO.
Clubs and Membership Numbers:SKCC # 652, FISTS # 16001, NAQCC # 1491, Flying Pigs QRP Int. # 1183, QRP ARCI #15877, Great Outdoors Radio Club=GORC # 399, 4SQRP # 536, Club72 # 46, CWRagchers # 30, 7240 Club # 171, Feld Hell Club # 62, Southcars # 1967, Grit # 171, Zombie # 867, Ambassadors for Christ # 1184, Digital Modes Club (DMC) # 6362, 30 Meter Digital Group (30MDG) # 865, and SOC # 952.
A-1 Operator Club member since April 11, 2012.
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I upload all contacts to ARRL LOTW, eQSL.cc, QRZCQ.com, and to ClubLog!
and to a few other amateur radio websites as well!
LATEST UPDATE - May 23, 2016
I had installed a new 3-500ZG-RFP Vacuum Tube in my Ameritron AL-80B amplifer back on January 16, 2016, but on April 15th the tube suddenly starting messing up. I was in a QSO with W4JCW when my SWR meter on my Yaesu FT-1000MP Mark V suddenly pegged out the SWR scale on the radio and I immediately unkeyed and after doing so the tube began glowing a much brighter orange than normal while at the same time was pulling 100 mA of plate current although the amplifier was unkeyed! I switched to a 1500 watt dummy load (cantenna) and repeaked the amp to make sure it was still properly tuned and it was, but after I unkeyed it did the same thing again! I posted about the issue on the Ameritron amplifier Yahoo Group and W8JI Tom Raunch, the engineer that designed the AL-80B amplifier, replied and said I had a intermittant grid filament short. I contacted RF Parts where I purchased the new tube and shipped it back. After they received the tube they could not get it to ever act up on them like it had with me. In the meantime I reinstalled my weak tube and ran it with no issues. RF Parts said that although they couldn't get the tube to mess up that they were still shipping me a new tube per the 3 year warranty. I had less than 500 hours of total operation on the tube I shipped back and less than 400 or even less on actual transmitting time on it. I received the new replacement tube on May 23, 2016 and installed it that evening. Also I installed the Hyper Plate Cap high efficiency plate cap on the tube that I had on the previous one. See the video below to see what a difference the new plate cap makes in tube heating. My old tube that I bought the tube from RP Parts to replace had gotten so I could only get 600 watts output with 100 watts drive from the exciter, but the newest replacement one peaks at 1050 watts with 100 drive. I can get 800 watts with only 60 watts of drive and that's where I'll be running it most of the time. I never use my amp anywhere but on the 75 meter phone band unless I'm trying to bust a huge DXpedition pile up on another band. I work mostly CW so don't usually need over the 200 watts my FT-1000MP Mark V is capable of, but on 75 meter phone, especially in summer when static levels are so high, a amp is about a must have piece of equipment if you want to be heard over the QRN! Anyway, I'm glad that RF Parts sent a new tube with no scrupples about doing so. I highly recommend them as good as their customer service did with me on this issue. My new tube is performing like a champ! I hope that it will be the last tube I ever have to purchase! W8JI says that although the Ameritron AL-80B is advertised as a 1 kilowatt desktop amplifier that if you run it at 1 kw all the time that the 3-500ZG tube will not last. I wish I had read that a couple years ago and I probably wouldn't have had to purchase a new tube to begin with. W8JI Tom says that if you will only drive the 3-500Z to 800 watts that it will last a lifetime so that's where I'll be running mine from now on, at 800 watts output maximum output or less, after peaking the tube with 100 watts of drive.
A Few Pics of the new tube & plate cap installation
A Few Photos of My Station, etc
"Yours truly in the hamshack"
A close-up of the Yaesu FT-1000MP Mark V
FISTS CW Club 25th Anniversary Tee Shirt
Warning! Looking At This Photo For A Long Period of Time May Be Hazardous To You Health As Most People Cannot Stand To Look At This Much Beauty All At Once For A Long Period of Time!
If you're into CW operating I would like to extend a invitation to you
to check out my Facebook Community Page, the "CW Operators Group"
The photo below was taken at the 2013 Dayton Hamvention with the cast of theHamnation Podcastthat is onTwit.tveach week and 2 of the members of the AmateurLogic.TV webcast.The only Hamnation cast member not in the photo is K9EID Bob Heil. Not sure where Bob was at the time, but he was at the Hamvention.
This banner hangs over the doorway to my hamshack!
Ameritron AL-80B 1 KW Amp & Daiwa CN-801H Meter
My Paper QSL Card by UX5UO Printers
My current eQSL Card design. I am pictured with the cast of the Hamnation and AmateurLogic.tv amateur radio podcasts in a photo taken at the 2013 Dayton Hamvention.
My HF rig control software, Ham Radio Deluxe version 188.8.131.52
A TRIBUTE TO MY ELMER - KF4LLF
KF4LLF Seth in Machu Pichu, Peru
This is to show my appreciation to the person that finally got me involved in the world's great hobby of amateur radio. At age 35 I had spent the past 20 years operating on 11 meter single sideband with a local group of friends until KF4LLF Seth came on one day and announced to the group that he had gotten his Technician Class amateur radio license. All of the guys in our group had discussed ham radio, but that's about as far as we ever went with it. Single sideband operation on 11 meters was just about exactly the same as 75 meter phone with the exception that we didn't have to ID every ten minutes. We did go by our first names and not a handle. When Seth announced that he had gotten his ham ticket my first thought was he's only 16 years old and if he can do it I can too! I had purchased the "Now Your Talking" book at the local Radio Shack but it had only laid on my bookshelf gathering dust until then and I credit Seth as being my elmer because him getting his license is what finally made me take down the book and start studying. Seth came 3 weeks later and took me to a V.E. Test Session in Yadkinville, NC where I earned my first license. I was on cloud 9 when I left there that day! Over the next 6 months I kept studying and in only 6 more months I passed the written exams for General, Advanced, and Extra Class as well as the 5, 13, and 20 word per minute Morse Code examinations. I had reached the pinnacle of amateur radio from non-ham to Amateur Extra in only 9 months total! Thank you Seth for your encouragement and great friendship for all these years! I am forever grateful!
The certificate below is to me, my most outstanding achievement in amateur radio!
History of the A-1 Operator Club
First organized in May 1933, the ARRL A-1 Operator Club has a proud history and occupies an important place in Amateur Radio tradition. Communications Manager Ed Handy, W1BDI, announced its formation with these words in July 1933 QST:
Are you an A-1 Operator? Excellence in stations has often been emphasized. Yet, station performance, equipment, adjustment, etc., are but part of the story. The operation of the equipment, knowledge of procedure, and general communications technique are of very great importance in determining the results of any station. To bring attention to good operating as a paramount issue, and to give it something of the importance it deserves we are this month announcing in these columns the launching of a club for A-1 operators.
By early 1934, the roster of recognized A-1 operators swelled to more than 400; by the end of 1938, to 1,000 and as of April 8, 2015 there are 6,135 members of this special club! Then, as now, nominations were not made lightly. Through the years, recognition as an A-1 Operator represented an unsolicited acknowledgment of one's high standing among one's peers.
Much is said about the handful of radio amateurs whose operating practices do not quite measure up. Not enough is said about those who, by contrast, lead by example - who set the standard for others to follow. Let us correct that now. Let us honor them as A-1 Operators and in so doing, honor the best in Amateur Radio.
In Memorial of W4CUX William "Bill" Worley SK
This is in memory of my great friend Bill whom I had worked a weekly CW schedule with on 80 meters for 3 years and 3 months until his recent death on December 29th, 2012 from pancreatic cancer. Bill was only diagnosed with the cancer a few weeks before his death. Below are pictured some items that Bill willed to me. I was contacted by W4CJV Wayne shortly after Bill's death and Wayne told me that Bill had asked him to send these things to me. I will treasure them for as long as I live and will think of Bill with fond memories each time I use them. Heaven is a better place with his presence!
*Note: There is a story about this on Page 2 of the June 2013 issue of the SKCC Rag Chew Newsletter available for download at
Vibroplex Chrome Vibrokeyer Deluxe wired as a Sideswiper/Cootie Key
This is my primary CW key now except I'm using it as a iambic paddle and not as a sideswiper key. Other than that I'm usually using one of my two straight keys, either a J.H. Bunnell CJB26003A Navy Flameproof or the Czech Army key I picked up at the 2013 Dayton Hamvention.
Hendricks QRP Personal Field Radio Model PFR-3A Three Band CW Only Transmit on 20,30,& 40 meter bands. Receives SSB. Bill built this rig from a kit and also attached a Hendricks 10 watt 50 ohm SMT resistive dummy load and a W5JH BBW (Baby Black Widow) iambic paddle that attaches to the front of the rig.
"Yours truly holding the items that Bill willed to me.
In Memorial of another great ham radio friend I lost to cancer,
K4KCS Paul "Slim" Copeland SK.
My other QRP transceiver, a Ten-Tec R4020 that was received as a gift from my friends on 3.895 Mhz.
QRP operating at the Hiddenite Family Campground in Hiddenite, NC
QRP Gear is Ten-Tec R4020 2 Band Transceiver (20 & 40 Meter Bands), homebrewed K7HB CW Paddle, Emtech ZM-2 QRP Antenna Tuner, HMDX Ampilified External Ipod Speaker (only $10.00 at Walmart!), and a Power Patrol 12V 7ah Battery (only $18.00 on Amazon!). I sometimes use my Hendricks PFR-3A 3 Band Transceiver (20, 30, & 40 Meter Bands) Which Has It's Own Antenna Tuner Built Right Inside The Rig. I Use Either A 66 Feet (20 Meters) Dipole Fed With 450 Ohm Ladder Line Or A 42 Feet (12.8 Meters) Wire Vertical With No Counterpoise Required.
MY OTHER QRP TO GO KIT
My Kit Building Projects
Emtech ZM-2 QRP Antenna Tuner completed Spring 2013
For Info on the ZM-2 or to order one click the image below!
I just completed this Thanksgiving week. It's the AA0ZZ EZKeyer II memory keyer I purchased from 4SQRP Kits. Click the photo to see where to purchase the kit.
This is my next project! Pig Rig serial # 83 that transmits on 7030.7 Khz.They have 3 different versions available at kitsandparts.com You can choose the one that transmits on 3561 Khz, 7030.7 Khz, or on 7122 Khz. Click the photo to open the website that has all the info, schematic diagram, photos, build instructions, and order form for them. This one was built by W8DIZ. WA0ITP will print and mail you a template for drilling the holes in the case and the panel labels as well upon request or he will email them to you to print yourself! He sent me one identical to this one with the exception that it has my callsign on it. I ordered the case from Ten-Tec project box part # TPC-19. After completion of the Pig Rig I'm going to start my most difficult build yet! A Softrock SDR RX/TX Ensemble that has a slew of SMT parts. Hope these old eyes are up to it! Going to order me one of the jewelers magnifier headbands with LED lights from Harbor Freight Tools to help with my poor vision. I have the desk magnifier swing lamp with the circular flourescent light, but that's not good enough for my old eyeballs!
CW Stuff, Keys, Clubs, Etc
My favorite straight key! A J.H. Bunnell CJB26003A Navy Flameproof I purchased from NOS (New Old Stock) from the manufacturer in New York.
The base it is mounted on is a 1/2 inch thick steel base custom made for me in his machine shop by W4CUX Bill Worley SK. Adding this key to the steel base completely changed the feel of the key for the better! I liked it so well that I sold my Begali Camelback straight key!
This is my newest straight key that I picked up at the 2013 Dayton Hamvention!It's a Czech Army key! I got to attend the Dayton Hamvention this year for the first time ever in my 17 years as a amateur radio operator! These keys are still available for purchase online, but they expect them to be all gone soon so get you one while the getting is good! I love mine! They are great keys and very quiet due to the enclosed contacts. This also keeps the contacts clean so they should never need cleaning.
To check out the website where they're available just click the photo below!
My Favorite Digital Mode is Feld Hell also called Hellschreiber. I like it best mainly because the duty cycle is much less than other digital modes which means a lot less heating of the rig's finals. For info about the Feld Hell Club check out their website located athttps://sites.google.com/site/feldhellclub
The photo below is of the W8H Feld Hell Club Special Event held at the 2013 Dayton Hamvention! Left to right are Yours Truly - KU4GW Cliff, W4KRN Karen, KJ8O Joe,
W8LEW Lou, VA3PC Paul, and N8VSI Scott.
Feld Hell Videos Courtesy of K7AGE Randy
Check out, in my opinion, the best camaraderie phone net on amateur radio!