I was first licensed in 1990 as N9JLH while a high school student in Oshkosh, WI. At the time, Morse code was still part of the exam elements. I took the 5 WPM code test, just barely passing on the basis of one minute of solid copy. I upgraded to General within a year, passing the 13 WPM code exam mainly because the test questions were multiple choice: Turns out the "WOSN" I wrote down was actually "JOHN."
I then pursued my Advanced class upgrade along with a call sign change to KF9FR in 1991. I kept that call for twenty years, but it never really “felt right.” It often led to confusion in DX pileups and even on local repeaters. In the fall of 2011, I applied for my current call: N9KY, which nicely combines my nine-land roots with my current state of residence, Kentucky.
I currently reside on the family farm, the third generation to do so. Mockingbird Hill Farm was named by my grandfather for the forested bluff that rises up along the back side of the property. Still a working farm, the primary crops are corn, soybeans, and wheat. At one time, tobacco was also grown on the property. Sinking Fork Creek runs through the fields and defines much of the property borders. There is plenty of room to “grow” some low-band HF antenna arrays, and I hope to perhaps explore some of these antenna designs in the future.
Since I cannot seem to escape what I am, I continue to work in the Information Technology field, specializing in systems and network security. When I’m not on the air, I enjoy time on the lake fishing and boating. In the autumn, I am often looking to put venison in the freezer or a wild turkey in the oven.
I operate mostly HF, but do enjoy a VHF/UHF FM repeater ragchew when I'm on the road. When traveling, I always try to take some kind of rig with me. It's kind of like my security blanket. On the HF bands, I enjoy chasing DX, working special event stations, and entering the occasional contest. Certificates, QSL cards, and awards not only make good shack decorations, but also good conversation starters when introducing someone new to the hobby. Recently, I have started participating in QRP activities such as the QRP Fox Hunt and the Flying Pigs QRP Run for the Bacon.
I also build kits in the winter months. Perhaps one of these days, I'll get brave enough to start the SMD component kits in my collection.
The main rig at home is an Icom IC-706MKIIG that I was using as a mobile rig. I took it out of my car for Field Day 2011, then decided I liked how it was interfaced with my shack computer and accessories, so I never put it back in the car.
I have a 200ft (60m) end-fed long wire that runs out to a tree about 40 feet (12m) high in the front yard. While capable of loading on all bands, I primarily use it for 160M - 60M operation, but occiasionally for 40M NVIS work as well. A recent addition is a 33-foot vertical dipole by ZeroFive-Antennas, which is used primarily on 40M-10M.
If you need a QSO from Kentucky, I'm happy to arrange a sked. I figure it's only fair that I pay it back, for there were many that helped me out in the past. Just email me and we'll get something set up. I work all bands and modes, and I'm always willing to experiment with something new to help give out a needed contact.
I upload to LoTW at the end of any day I make a QSO. I also try to keep my logs current on Club Log. I only update eQSL once in a while, as I find too many "phantom QSOs" in my inbox and that doesn't sit well with me.
I enjoy exchanging QSL cards, but please do be courteous: Include a self-addressed envelope and some means of covering return postage. Before you send a card, make sure you are in the log.