I began my adventure in radio in 1974 at age 13. With a radio shack walkie talkie, twin lead ladder line and a Log Periodic TV antenna, which was propped up between two center blocks, I heard my first QSO somewhere, on some band. This little adventure sparked an interest which later brought me into CB radios in 1976. Using my Step Dad's Call Sign "KRB7457" and a 23 Channel Solid State Radio, I quickly became hooked on "wireless talking". I went by the "Cajun- Kid" as I was a recent transplant from New Orleans. I built a modest station at our Duplex with both an Omni "Penetrator" and 2 Element Quad Beam called a PDL-2. Later, I managed to later talk my Grandfather out of his Sonar FS 23 Transceiver with the mighty glow of tubes. I still remember the many trips to radio shack to test those tubes. This led me into learning how to build "Equipment" for making your signal bigger. I met a TV repairman on the band one day and he taught me the basics of soldering and chassis building. I managed to aquired all the chassis punches and a few Stop Signs that were made out of 1/4 thick aluminum back in the day. I'll never forget sneeking that stop sign into metal shop class under my coat. A few quick cuts on the band sheer and I had my front panel ready to be attached to the chassis. I learned what "Push-Pull" meant in amplifier design but due to safety concerns and my total lack of transformer knowledge, the TV guy made all the final power connections. I know my Mom appreciated this. I spent many hours up into the late night trying to work distant stations on ground wave. I then entered High School and found "Girls."� My CB days were over!
This is the only card remaining thanks to my Mother who saved everything back then.
My start in Amateur Radio: First licensed 1996. Left the hobby in 1999 and re-entered in 2005.� Worked to master 12 WPM CW in 2008 and finally after 3 tries passed my General Exam. Then they dropped the code requirement 3 months later. I wanted a refund from the ARRL for the money and time I spent. Oh well. CW has been a blessing and is much needed where I operate.
Got hooked on 144 Mhz SSB in 2006 and quickly added the 432 and 1296 bands. Went through many antenna configurations over the years. Added 222 Mhz in 2009 and 902 MHz ad 2304 in 2010. Adding each band was a big decision, "Would I ever hear anyone, I Thought". Well hear I did and have had an exciting time each year working other HAMs with the same passion. I spend most of my time on these bands during the summer months when the conditions are present. Learned a great deal about weather and high band operating from many skilled OPs that have worked these bands since the 1950s. I credit my success to the following Elmer's, WB0NQD (SK), WR0F, KY0O, W0GR, K2DRH, W9RM, WA9KRT, W0DRL and especially K5SW in Muskogee OK.
I earned VUCC on� 144 MHz # 716, 222 MHz #147, 432 MHz # 335 and 1296 GHz # 166. Getting my cards checked proved to be harder than working all those "Grids". I enjoy 6 meters also and watch for short skip under 500 miles. This almost always results in the MUF climbing above 144 MHz and some good long Es contacts. Confirmed 44 States on 2 meters and many others on the other bands. Longest contacts on 2 Meter SSB 1,364 Miles Tropo during Hurricane"Bill". Longest contact on 1296 GHz 606 Miles CW to Ohio.
This hobby has so many roads to go down and you'll never do it all in one lifetime. Like I tell new Hams, "Find something you like to do, get good at it, and then find something else".
You can find me nightly 7 days a week on 3.847 with my friends AI4DQ, WB4QDA, WT2Q, WY7KY, N9RIX, K9EID and a host of others that show up at times. Phil (AI4DQ) and John (WB4QDA) were the first guys that would talk to me on 75 meters. Lots of "Clicks" on 75 and 40 meters too. They also helped me spend all my money on STUFF that I just had to have........... 9 Years later we still talk nightly on 3.847 with the rest of the gang. We enjoy ragging on each other.... it's our form of stress relief. Sometimes passers by just don't understand. That's why they put that big fat knob on the front.
I could list all my station gear but I feel that most would consider it over kill and not understand the "Why" behind my collection. I call it getting to only do it once. I am who I am. Have helped many an individual with donated gear and or manual labor to get on the air. In the end life is short, try to enjoy life, work hard and don't worry about the other guy that trys to hate on you!
Best 73 and Look for me on the Bands.........
The Pictures: 1. Me at Associated Radio picking up a new FTDX 3000. 2. Chewing on a straw with a killer tan in 1974. 3. My sister Dawn and me Louisville Kentucky in 1963. We laid my sister to rest in 2005. I still have my childhood memories growing up with her in New Orleans and Kansas City. 4. My Girlfriend Sharon who accepts me for who I am as I do her.5. One of My Grandfathers many Gas stations in Sedelia, MO in the 1950s and 1960s. 6. My old call sign and QSL card. 7/8. Me working on one of the over 25 towers I helped to put up or maintain for older hams. 9. My Uncle Jim, W0NKL and Bob Heil, K9EID. 10. Me with K9EID at his shack. I'm glad to call him a friend!
My stations (2 QTHs) have undergone many changes over the past 6 years. I spend about 90% of my time working the high bands (144 MHz - 2304 Ghz) and the other 10% on HF. Mainly 17 meters during the day and 75 meters (At Night). I have had the opportunity to operate a variety of modern transceivers, amplifiers and equipment through the success of my buisness.
I use a Lunar Link 1.5 Kw on 144 MHz and a rare 432 MHz Henry 3004 1.5 + (8938 Tube). Also 1KWs "W6PQL"on 144 MHz, 222 Mhz and 432 MHz. On 903 300/160 watt converted Motorola and Down East Microwave Amps. On 1296 GHz 150 watt SS W6PQL amp and a converted 200 watt Spectrian Amp for 2304 GHz.
The following pictures show my VHF/UHF/SHF station positon at my main QTH. Two K3s connected to 6 Transverters. 144/432/1296/2304 are Kuhne Transverters made in Germany. They are connected to a Kuhne Transverter switch box which uses the data from the K3 to change bands. On 902/222 MHz I use Down East Microwave Transverters. They are also controlled by a Kuhne switching unit. A Flex 5000 is used for 6 meters and HF. An ACOM 1500 backed up by and Elecraft KPA 500 is used for 6 meters. A M2 144 Mhz amp at 1200 watts is used on WSJT Digital Modes. All antennas from 144 Mhz through 432 are made by M2 and have been up for 8 years. Blow Torchs for 902/1296/2304 are made by Directive Systems.
Update: New InnovoAntennas will be going up in April 2014. Pairs for 2/222/432. All over 30ft long. Looking forward to seeing what these antennas can do.
Antenna Farm Feb 2015:
Antenna Farm Video 2014:
Joplin Hamfest August 22/23 2014 Video:
Jamboree On-the-Air Oct 2014 Smithville Lake, MO:
My YouTube Site: Here you will find a variety of videos which I have produced covering Tropo Openings and other topics.
All of my transverters, the K3s and the Flex 5000 use a 10MHz reference to keep them locked and on frequency. This is accomplished with an HP 23815A Time and Frequency Reference Receiver which uses a GPS antenna on the roof to lock in up to 10 Sats. JWM Engineering RDA-8 Distribution Amplifiers pipe the signal into the various transverters and receivers. This is all monitored with a Fluke PM6685 Universal Frequency Counter.
My First Moon Bounce contact with Chris - SP4K in Poland
My 2nd Moon Bounce Contact to I2FAK in Italy.
How many Hams can say they had a pileup off the Moon? Pretty cool stuff to be a State that everyone needs. Screenshots courtesy Norbert/OE3NFC Thanks!
My First Meteor Scatter contact using FSK441 with Paul- K4MSG in Virgina
To Learn more about operating Meteor Scatter watch this video
On HF: I run a IC-7800 and IC-7700 in SO2R configuration with an SPE 1K-FA Amplfier into a Hex Beam and SteppIR 3 Element with 40 meters for contesting. A Yaseu 5000 FTDX, Yaseu 9000MP, Yaseu 3000 and Kenwood TS 990 are my main rigs for the WARC Bands and 75 meters at night. An Alpha 9500 and ACOM 2000A provide the power into a W5GI Mystery Antenna and a Modified G5RV (W8ZMS Model). A Pair of Palstar HF Auto Tuners handle the matching duties. A recently put a up a Pixel Loop technolgies antenna for recieve. A great addition to the shack. An IC 9100 sits on� local FM VHF/UHF and "D-Star" frequencies. A Kenwood TS 2000X is a backup and for Field Day use. Heil PR40s, PR781s and a PR22.
QTH 2:� An IC-7600 (with Pan Adapter Mod), Kenwood TS590 and QS1R for a second receiver and Pan Adapter, Flex 6700, IC-7100 (FM VHF/UHF/D-Star) and an Elecraft KX3 are my rigs. ACOM 1500 , ICOM PW-1 and SPE 2K-FA pick up amplifier duties. A Palstar HF-Auto handles tuning duties into a full size 160 meter Inverted-V, 80 Meter Folded Dipole Inverted-V (AI4DQ Design) and a W5GI (AI4DQ Built) also in an Inverted-V configuration. Using a Heil Fin and Goldline GM-5 for audio. A Ten Tec Orion II and Omin 7 are still in their boxes. An Alesis iMultiMix8 handles audio duties through a pair of JBL 2P 35 Watt Amplified Speakers.
Audio/Speakers: I finally got away from the beautiful matched and overpriced speakers from the radio manufactuers. I did this after watching one of the first Episodes of "Ham Nation". Invested in the JBL Control 2P speakers and a Alesis mixer. Man do folks sound good coming out of these powered speakers!
Working K0AWU in EN37 Upper MN on 1296 GHz, Aug 24, 2009. An SDR panadapter in the shack has added a huge advantage to working other stations on the microwave bands. At over 450 miles it took some good conditions and "CW", yes the Dit Dah stuff to confirm his grid for my VUCC award. You can't really realize the challenge, fun and technical skill it takes to master the higher bands, unless you do it!. It really upsets me when I hear a local ham talk about getting the newly licensed hams off VHF. I understand they are referring to FM mode, but 99% of these new hams never learn or exercise their privilages on these bands before running off to get their "Extra Class" license.
Latest 144 Mhz E-Skip Video:
Smoke and solder shack (Caused by George/W5JDX of Amateur Logic TV and Ham Nation Fame) consists of Rigol Test Equipment, DSA 815 Spectrum Analyzer good to 1.5 GHz with tracking, 2 GHz DS2202 Oscilloscope and DG4162 Function Waveform Generator. Fluke 8846A RMS Desktop multimeter and Fluke 289 RMS Multimeter, Tektronix and Instek power supplies and BK Precision 1856D 3.5 GHz frequency counter. A Hako FX-951 solder station rounds out the equipment.
I had the opportunity to meet George/W5JDX the man behind Amateur Logic TV and Ham Nation (Smoke and Solder) at the Missouri Midwest Convention in Lebanon, MO in November 0f 2013.
I got interested in video and video work many years ago. I upgraded to a Mac Pro a few years ago which gave me the opportunity to work with more professional video editing software. It continues to be a passion and I enjoy using the hobby for most of the videos I produce. Below is a shot of my video editing station with dual Mac Monitors and Video production keyboard. https://www.youtube.com/user/jdizzy47
The June 2014 ARRL Field Day Special Event Station WW1USA:
WW1USA Special Event Station 6 - 7 Sept 2014:
The June 2014 ARRL VHF QSO Party Contest:
Richard, WB0NQD was my big motivater in pushing the limits of the high bands (144 Mhz and Up). Long antennas and at least four (4) per band was his standard. I use to sit up into the late night hours taking turns calling CQ with him. We worked many a rare grid, tag teaming propagation. I also made many a trip to his QTH putting togther antennas and working on his tower to keep the old man going. Not to mention keeping his computers working. He had such a good location I remember roving through Des Monies Iowa late one night (240 miles)� and hearing him loud and clear on his stacked Big Wheels. He was also 100% behind me when I started the KC VHF Grid Bandits in 2007, which later got so big we had to drop the "KC" and just became the "Grid Bandits".� It was a sad day when Richard became a Silent Key (SK) in 2011. He is surely missed.
Richard WB0NQD working his Station Back Home In Kansas City... This Would Be Our Last Trip To Mena, AR Together:
I started the "Grid Bandits" in 2007. There were not many groups taking advantage of promoting the hobby through the use of video and the internet. So that's why I started it. Over the course of the next 5 years we have grown to over 350 members in 45 states,Canada and Mexico. The web site has alot of information and can help the new guy just finding the excitement on the high bands or be a source of information for the seasoned veteran. Link: http://www.kcvhfgridbandits.com/
I Have supported Bill "K5YG" and Marshall "K5QE" for the past 5 years during their many 6 meter rare Dxpedtions and have designed the many logos that have graced the front of QSL cards sent to happy 6 meter Ops around the United States. K5N and K4N trips have been to rare grids deemed most wanted on the 6 meter Grid List for the Fred Fish Memorial Award. The Fred Fish Memorial Award was created in honor of Fred Fish, W5FF (SK), who was the first amateur to have worked and confirmed all 488 Maidenhead grid squares in the 48 contiguous United States on 6 Meters. The award will be given to any amateur who can duplicate W5FF's accomplishment.
I have met many great folks in the Ham Community. Here's a few of the A-Listers.� Dale (N0OU), George (W0AV), Justin (KC0OGH), Dave (N8TMN/SK) He went by the phonetics "Nancy Eight Too Many Noodles", Dave (N0IRC), Bob (WB0YWW) and XYL Mary in Iowa, Larry (N0MST) "Mountain Standard Time" and XYL Sue (KB0ANT) Close too but not in Joplin, Missouri. Charles (KB0MSB) and Gary (KB0HH) Bunk House Gang Leader.
I flew radio controlled aircraft for 20 years, up until 1996. Just got back into the hobby and became hooked on Quad and Hex-Copters. Flying Go-Pro cameras on them with stabilizer gimbals and pitch control. On board telemetry and FPV cameras and goggles add to the fun. The Quad (4 Engines) on the left is a DJI Phantom. It has a Zenmuse Camera Gimbal and 5.8 GHZ Video Down Link Transmitter. The is a very popular entry level aircraft for folks that have never flown a Quad Copter. They have since replaced it with the Phantom 2 and much upgraded. The Hex-Copter (6 Engines) on the right is a DJI Flame Wheel 550. The Flame Wheel 550 has tons of fast climb out speed. These units are not turn-key like the phantom. You have to build them up to included doing some soldering. Theres lots of information on the internet about both of these models.
One of my Flying Videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ahkgKOBXg4&list=UUt9qKoCKD4vChg3yVw-2KiQ&feature=share&index=2
Video of Me Flying During Easter at My Brother-In Laws Property:
Don't forget to Tune into "Ham Nation" on "TWIT TV.Com",� Wed nights, 8:00 pm Central Time. Lot's of fun, history, how too's and much more. They also have a chat room to talk about the show to other Hams. If you miss the show you can watch any episode by typing in "Ham Nation" into Google. You can also set ITunes up to download the shows, both in audio or video automatically as they are uploaded from the TWIT Studios.
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