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                                    SEASONS GREETINGS FROM THE VK0EK TEAM!


I am helping with the Heard Island DX-pedition - for news and information, please visit:


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 with my own "little pistol" station, between the peaks of sunspot cycle 23 and 24. I have 339 entities of which 334 are current. Here is what I need now to get to Honor Roll #1:

It was very challenging from my hilly East Bay QTH:

I was stuck at 325 entities for a while, so sought out Dean Straw, N6BV's HFTA program. HFTA most definately got me "over the hump" because it told me why I seemed to miss the ATNO's that I needed for Honor Roll. 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 graph was produced by running my HFTA data files through Stu, K6TU's program that then visualizes that data in a 360 degree "azimuthal plain". A huge thanks to Stu for all his help! The entities listed on the graph show the ones I still need to make DXCC Honor Roll #1. My main goals are to get to DXCC on 160M and just stay on the Honor Roll. If Honor Roll #1 happens, great, if not - no big deal - lately I have been feeling a lot of "been there, done that". But I sure will keep slugging along - ATNO's are the best! I could be within 2 of working them all by Visalia 2016 . . . . 

More than anything - I still love building antennas - and busting pileups with the best antenna farm I've ever had - which is 100% home brewed now. My latest excitement has been to concentrate more on having a few good antennas - mostly monobanders. The journey has by far been the real award! I also have had a blast working on my antennas and getting advice from real ham radio legends - Tom, N6BT and Dean, N6BV. I have learned a ton from them, and appreciate their patience. Tom has helped me with EZNec, and Dean with YW when designing my antenna farm. Jim, K9YC has helped me with modeling and especially - adding the proper current chokes to prevent stray RF and other "nasties".

Speaking of where my "excitement" with ham radio lies these days - I recently designed and built a 3 element 20M yagi with full sized elements on a 16' boom (5 dB and 23 dB F/B):

On 160 and 80M I have a 60' top hatted and loaded vertical - with 100 buried radials:

and the matching circuit is a Low Pass "LC" circuit for Low Impedance antennas - is documented in the ON4UN Lowband DX-ing Book on page 9-42:

There are 100 buried radials, and this antenna is based on a design by Jerry Sevick, W2FMI (SK), and from his short verticals book on CQ Press. I easily worked FT5ZM on 160 and 80M with this antenna. That 160M QSO is the most exciting QSO I have ever had. We recently ran an antenna shootout, and this antenna was on par with a Hy Tower.

Because 40M 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. It easily worked FT5ZM on 30 and 40M. It is one of my all time favorite antennas - I love the instant switching, and it performs per spec with 4 dB gain and 18 - 20 dB front to back - end fire, and 3 dB gain broadside. Surprisingly, it also exhibits 10 dB F/B on 30M, and it also has 36 dB more gain than the 60' vertical on 40M and 18 dB more on 30M. I think the "pleasant surprise" on 30M is because the verticals are hatted and below the hats the aluminum is a perfect 1/4 wl on 30M. But they are resonant on 40M - when you check them with the antenna analyzer.

I have a very lucky and "happy accident" - where my lowband vertical (when retuned at the base to 30M) turns into a 2 element parasitic phased array. The pattern is perfect for my "needed" because there are two lobes - one towards the South East, and one to the South West. Even FT/G - ends up being in the Long Path - and this is why with FT4TA - the strongest I heard them was on 30M - and it only took one call.

I have a full sized 15M 3 element yagi ready to deploy at any time on a second pushup mast that can go up to 35':

I also might throw an occasional dipole up for other bands - if needed - here are my options:

And now for the shack:

The K3, ACOM 1500 and AT2K make up the core station, and the Array Solutions Stackmatch II and Ratpack switch handle the antenna switching chores. I use Astron Linear power supplies.

I have a blog about ham radio, cycling and art at http://ky6r.wordpress.com I have presented at Pacificon for more than 10 years - and some of my past presentations are posted on the East Bay Amateur Radio Club's web site:


My photography and assemblage art is posted on Flickr:


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 33 years.

I'm a proud member of L.O.A.D - the "League Of Armchair DX-ers". I like to work DX from my shack and with home brewed antennas in my own back yard. ALL HAIL TO THE LEAGUE OF ARMCHAIR DX-ers! - because we are the people who donate and otherwise sponsor DX-peditions, thus making it possible for the teams who do go.

1529965 Last modified: 2014-12-18 12:06:59, 7983 bytes

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