I am currently assisting Bob, KK6EK, Wayne, N7NG and Martti, OH2BH with the VK0EK 2016 Heard Island DX-pedition. I am working on the behind the scenes logistics - creating and maintaining http://www.vk0ek.org, working with our very superb equipment sponsors and managing some of the logistics - all "back office" parts of the project. Its a very exciting project to be a part of.
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 337 entities of which 332 are current. It was very challenging from my 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. 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!
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.
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:
This yagi - up 45' on a very sturdy AB-577 military tower has solved my "NE problem". I did extensive testing between this yagi and my previous 20-15M nested Moxon up at 55', and this new yagi won hands down - even though it is 10' lower. I can now work into the ME and AF zones on the short path with no problems, and am busting sizable pileups first call - like I never had before (with 500 watts). On the Long Path, ZS stations regularly hit S9 +30 dB! Here is the AB-577 with the yagi just above the trellis on my deck:
I also have a full sized mono band 17 and 15M yagi sitting on the side of my house - ready to be set up "field day style" if needed for an ATNO on a Rohn pushup mast attached to my house - and "just in case".
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:
The antenna is resonant in the CW portions of 160 and 80M. I very easily worked FT5ZM on 160 and 80M - which is 13K miles away, and working FT5ZM on 160M is the most exciting QSO I have ever made. For 160/80M RX - I sometimes use a 40' N6RK Loop:
It has 10' sides - with a circumference of 40', which offers 10 dB more than the "traditional" loops with 5' on a side. I use the controller and remote boxes documented on Rick, N6RK's web site:
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.
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!
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.
Proud card carrying member of LOAD - the League Of Armchair DX-ers, and I follow the "LOAD Code".
1133007 Last modified: 2014-07-27 13:09:15, 7011 bytes
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