The photo at the upper right of this page shows N3JT with KE4PSV (Nina) at our local contest club (Potomac Valley Radio Club) Holiday Dinner in 2012. The upper photo directly above this paragraph features the antenna farm, or most of it, at our QTH in McLean, Virginia, about 1 mile west of Washington, DC. We also have a QTH in Boynton Beach, Florida, that is adorned with an R9 vertical. This is shown in the lower photo above. When in Florida I often use the Virginia station from Florida using RemoteRig gear and serial-Ethernet adapters.
I was first licensed in 1960 as K3MNJ in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but moved to Northern Virginia in 1975 for a job with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). I had expected to go into patent law given I had an electrical engineering degree (and an MBA) and had taken a number of patent law courses. But when the FCC interviewed on campus looking for somebody with my background I figured a year or two in Washington, DC wouldn't sidetrack me for long and might be fun.
Interesting assignments with considerable responsibility coupled with continuing promotions led me to remain at the FCC for 22 years. Still, it took me exactly 2 nanoseconds to accept the early-out offer in 2001 (basically a deal featuring a guaranteed annuity in exchange for never coming back to the FCC!). I then worked for 5 years at a large Washington, DC law firm (Steptoe & Johnson LLP) doing telecom work. It is a great firm and I enjoyed the work and environment but when my mainstay client Motorola decided to exit the satellite business, my work slowed and I was not interested in doing international trade work (like steel import cases). Now I am a telecom consultant specializing in a variety of FCC issues. When not working or on the air I find myself knee-deep in projects at home. Examples include a solar panel power back up system with six 250 Ah AGM batteries, a roof-water retrieval tank (1600 gallons) system, and a homebrew electric lawnmower that is powered (from the solar panel battery system) by the sun. (References to published articles on some of these and other projects appear below.) I don't always sit in the shack chair, however. I swim a mile most mornings at a local high school pool in Virginia or at our community pool in Florida, and I bicycle about 70 miles a week in both places. More recently I've renewed by enthusiasm for table tennis and play it both in Virginia and Florida.
The Virginia rig is a K3, Acom 2000A (with a KPA500 I use remotely with RemoteRig boxes when in Florida), Skyhawk tribander at 24m, a Cushcraft 3-band WARC beam at 26m, a Cushcraft 2 ele 40m beam at 28m, and LF dipoles. There is also a UHF/VHF vertical atop the mast on the tower. The Florida station consists of a K3 and Cushcraft R9 vertical with an Ameritron AL-80B at the ready. I use a K3 Mini in Florida that supports remote control of the Virginia station and allows me to monitor myself in Florida from Virginia (and vice versa) - and even talk with myself when there is nobody else around! (No, not really!) Having two stations like this allows instant signal optmization given frequently different propagation as between Virginia and Florida (though the beam in Virginia does usually give the edge to Virginia -- but not always).
A relatively new addition at the Virginia QTH in 2013 is an M2 5-element beam on 6m attached to the chimney, about 35 feet off the ground. This reactivation on 6m follows a 45-year hiatus as measured from the time the bumper-mounted 6m halo antenna fell off my dad's car onto the street as we were driving in Philadelphia. My recollection is of people pointing toward the back of the car as we went by. I kept the halo for many years as a memento but it disappeared in the move to our current QTH in 2001.
I tend to hang out on the HF CW bands with an occasional effort on SSB just to make sure the microphone is working, with a little RTTY thrown in from time to time. My peak contest success came in 1991 when I won the ARRL DX Contest from HK0/N3JT, though I"ve also operated from VP2E, CP5, HK1. HK5, PZ, 4X and 7X. I'm active in the CW Operators' Club (CWops, member #1) and am a member of the First Class CW Operators Club (FOC, member #1067). I'm also a member of ARES, the Potomac Valley Radio Club and the Boca ARC.
An article I wrote on remote control of rotators appears in January 2014 CQ Magazine and there is another in June 2015 CQ Magazine on IP address access; I also have an article in July 2010 QST on shack grounding and in May 2011 QST on solar power backup power for the shack and house. The backup power system has worked flawlessly when power is lost due to storms, with transition to backup of only a few milliseconds. On more than one occasion a neighbor would call on my cell phone to ask if I had heard anything about power restoration in the neighborhood given power had been out for some hours. I didn't even know we had lost power! There are two solar panels that keep the backup batteries charged, and a natural-gas powered generator that takes over should the bank of six 250 Ah batteries become mildly discharged.
CU on the air!
2081586 Last modified: 2015-06-21 14:23:59, 6073 bytes
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