I have been a ham since 1973 (WN2QHN), went inactive from 1977 - 2001, and became active again (this time as a DX-er) in July, 2001. I made DXCC Honor Roll in 11 1/2 years, between the peaks of sunspot cycle 23 and 24. I have 337 entities of which 332 are current.
It was very challenging from my very hilly East Bay QTH:
Here is the affect that these hills have had on my DXCC "experience". You can see why anything in the NE direction would end up being "ESP" - for any DX that required a low take off angle:
The entities listed on the graph show the ones I still need to make DXCC Honor Roll #1 . . . Kingman Reef is now under water at high tide, and if you read this report, you will see why I have a red "X" through KH5K:
To meet the challenge, I learned EZNec and HFTA and designed and built my own antennas to get my signal out of the "ravine" I live in. I am sure I would still be stuck at 325 entities if it hadn't been for Dean Straw, N6BV's help solving the biggest blocker to making Honor Roll - which was my terrain. I was stuck at 325 for 3 frustrating years at the bottom of Cycle 23 and almost gave up on my pursuit. I have been a huge fan of all of Dean's work on the ARRL Antenna Handbook and software - HFTA, Propagation Tables, and YW.
The picture above shows Dean "presenting" me with my Honor Roll Plaque at the 64th Annual International DX Convention in Visalia. Notice the snazzy "TEAM HFTA" hats!
At the same convention, my good friend Bob Schmieder, KK6EK, presented me with a book on his DXA logging system - which was a huge hit during the TX5K DX-pedition, which I provided support for. I am very honored to have one of my "info - graphics" on the cover of the book and also to have had Bob chronicle the use of the TX5K Blog so prominently in the book.
Bob is one of the most interesting DX-pedition leaders as far as I am concerned, because he includes more than just ham radio on his expeditions. As he said about Clipperton Reef - "Its all about the island". We are currently working on the Heard Island DX-pedition, VK0EK . . . .
I have given many presentations that I call "The Little Pistol Adventure" series, and the latest one is called "DXCC Honor Roll in One Solar Cycle: A Little Pistol Adventure". I presented this at the 2013 Visalia International DX Convention - in the DX Academy program, at DX Club meetings in the SF Bay Area, and at Pacificon 2013 - in the Friday Antenna Forum.
As far as antennas go, everything is home brewed, and I have used Cabelas "Crappie" fishing poles for my Moxons - as depicted in my cartoon QSL card. In 2013 I had a 20/15M Nested Moxon up 55' on an AB-952 Military Tower, and it was a really great antenna for how light it was and how well it performed:
I have done extensive comparisons of Moxon's up at 55' vs. Yagi's at 30, 40 and 45 feet, and had this cartoon comissioned:
And after extensive analysis - that will become my 2014 Pacificon Antenna Forum presentation, I have built a 3 element optimized 20M yagi on an 18' 3" boom - which replaced the nested Moxon:
On 160 and 80M I have a Cushcraft MA160V mounted on top of a 30' push up mast - for a total of 63':
and the feed is a 1:1 current choke followed by a 40 - 500 pf variable capacitor:
It has 76 buried radials, and for RX - I use the K9AY Loops combined with an N6RK loop that is phased using the MFJ-1025 noise canceller and phasing device.
The N6RK does have a preamp and tunable circuit, and I have been able to drop the noise by -40 dBm, which in almost every case elevates the signal with almost no noise. The BIG difference between hearing and working DX on 160M and not. The TX antenna and K9AY loops also works very well on 80M, and is "good enough" to get me to DXCC on 160M. Some are still "ESP" - but ESP is better than "no hear". . . . heh heh
Because 40M CW is my absolute all time favorite DX-ing band - especially winter grey line, I put up two hatted 24' verticals and phased them with a StackMatch II switch using the Christman method:
There are 44 buried radials, and as a bonus - the verticals work quite well on 30M and 17M.
And now for the shack:
I have the full Elecraft K-Line - and its the best rig I've ever had. I also have the Elecraft KX-3 with the Begali "Traveller" key. QRP has never been more fun! Here is a screen snapshot of the KX3 with HDSDR showing a morning session of the "AA" contest:
And the "secret weapon of CW fun":
DX-ing is an addiction - an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and to celebrate this obsession, I had Jeff, K1NSS create this beauty - a logo for an imaginery DX Club:
You might be an honorary member - and didn't even know it!
I have a blog about ham radio and art at http://ky6r.wordpress.com and a blog about the history of the entities in the ARRL's DXCC program http://dxccsleuth.wordpress.com and photos at http://www.flickr.com/ky6r
Some of my past presentations are posted on the East Bay Amateur Radio Club's web site:
I graduated from University of Pennsylvania, Lock Haven, moved to California and became Oracle's 127th employee - Gupta Technologies (SQLBase and SQLWindows) employee #30 and PeopleSoft's 400-something employee. I currently work as the Director of Technical Support at Splice Machine (a Big Data / SQL on Hadoop database company and product) in San Francisco. I've been a Database Developer, DBA and Data Architect for 32 years.
If you like the cartoons on my QSL card front and back - please contact my friend Jeff, K1NSS - he is an excellent artist / ham.
Last modified: 2014-03-05 14:59:31, 8509 bytes
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