If you are overseas or in the USA and send me your QSL direct it will be returned the very same way usually the very next day! No return postage is necessary. Although I am using LoTW I still enjoy actual QSL cards!
For those who sent QSL cards to me via the buro since I returned to the hobby in November of 2010 please be patient. I had hoped to have replied to all by the end of the 2012 but it's taking longer than I expected. It's much more fun working new one's than filling out hundreds of QSL cards!! I have a record of everybody who sent a card so you will eventually receive your QSL card.
My station consists of an Elecraft K3 which I assembled from a kit. The microphone is a Heil Proset using the Icom cartdridge. I have a US Tower model TX-455. It is a 55 (17 meters) foot manual crankup and foldover tower. Atop the tower is a Bencher Skyhawk. The Skyhawk is basically 3 monobanders on a 24 foot boom (7.3 meters). There are 3 full sized elements on 20 meters, 3 on 15 and 4 elements on 10 meters. For 80, 40, and 30 meters I use an inverted V with the apex at about 50 feet. On 12 and 17 meters I have found the Skyhawk acts like a rotary dipole and produces the stronger signal than the inverted Vee even though I must use a Transmatch to load it properly with the amplifier. I use a Palstar AT5K Transmatch which is built like a tank and made in the good old USA. I have the Elecraft P3 Panadapter which is a really nice addition to the rig and it provides a wealth of information.
My amplifier is an Alpha 8410 which will easily putout the legal limit power of 1,500 Watts PEP. The amplifier uses 2 4CX1000A tubes, or valves. It really is a beautiful piece of work. Every part in it speaks of quality. I'm glad I finally bought an Alpha amplifier and after taking the cover off it is easy to see why they are regardred as the gold standard. My backup amplifier is a Heathkit SB-1000 which I built as a relatively new ham back around 1989. It uses the venerable 3 - 500Z tube.
For CW I use a Begali Sculpture. The Begali paddles look more like a work of art than a device to send Mose code. A lot of skill and some very expensive machinery had to have been used to create such a precise instrument. If you want the best of the best when it comes to CW, I'd reccommend anything made by Pietro Begali (I2RTF).
At about age 11 or 12 I bought a Lafayette shotwave receiver and I strung up about 100 feet of copper wire as high up as I could climb the trees in the backyard. The first station I heard was the religous broadcaster, HCJB, which is located high in the Andes mountains of South America. I used to listen to it frequently since it had a weekly DX show called the "DX Party Line" with Clayton Howard. The next station I tuned in to, about 15 minutes later, was RSA from South Africa. They had a great signal and now that I have worked many ZS stations as an Amateur it's easy to see why since the path is basically all over ocean. Each new country was a thrill and I was picking up several new countries a day for about the first month. I joined the American Short Wave Listeners Club and I received a montly pamphlet which reported the loggings of members. Technology sure has changed in the last 40 years!
Listening to the propaganda from Radio Moscow, Radio Peking, Radio Tirana, The Voice of Vietnam (the war was winding down), etc. was fascinating for somebody interested in foreign countries, geography, world news, and the Cold War. I also enjoyed the BBC and VOA when I wanted to know what was really going on in the world. Those were very dangerous times, but very interesting times. I used to get a kick out of listening to Vlad Posner and Joe Adamov from Radio Mocow trying to appeal to Americans with their perfect and collaquial English but I doubt they converted any Americans to their cause. I still recall Radio Moscow interrupting their regular programming and playing Classical music when Leonid Breshnev died. If I recall correctly, the change in radio format was a signal that the Soviet Union would soon be announcing the death of an important leader.
I also recall tuning in to Radio Peking when Chairman Mao died, and I remember the ensuing nightly attacks against "The Gang of Four". No doubt the SWL hobby helped me out quite a bit at school. I had to be one of the best informed students at my high school even as a freshman. Shortwave listening was a Geography, History, Current Events, and Technology class all rolled into one little ball. I did not have any friends interested in the hobby so I taught myself everything by reading books and learning by trial and error, and there were plenty of errors! I was fortunate to have a wonderful Uncle who was an Electrical Engineer. When my Grandmother was alive the extended family would meet at her place each Sunday for a big Italian meal and I got to ask him many questions, and after she passed away he was just a phone call away. He was a big help when I took a correspondence course in basic AC/DC Electronics after I sold a business and had some down time to do as I pleased.
Some of my other hobbies are Astronomy (I own a 6 inch reflector made by Criterion who used to be based in Hatford, CT), Deep Sea fishing, watching classic movies from the 1930's, 40's and 50's, following geopolitics, eating good food, and following the sport of Baseball.
I started playing baseball at about 5 years of age and although I was very bad at the start I eventually became a very good ball player due to a lot of hard work (practicing from sunrise to sunset during each school break during the summer and practicing my swing in the cellar during the winter) and very good coaching. I was a good hitter and pitcher. It helped that I was tall for my age, reaching 6 foot 4 (~193 cm) at about age 13 or 14. My baseball career came to an abrupt end after a very bad bicycle accident at age 17. My favorite team has always been the Boston Red Sox and that usally meant a lot of disappointment. That finally ended when the Red Sox won their first championship in 86 years back in 2004 followed by another championship in 2007. My mom was as big a Red Sox fan as I and she hardly ever missed a televised game. She also drove me to all my games and sat through every inning. I am very happy she got to watch the Red Sox win the World Series in 2004 since she passed away not too long after. God has blessed me with two wonderful parents. My dad still goes to work everday at age 77. He has been a personal injury lawyer for over 50 years now and owns a law firm which employs my two other brothers who work as lawyers.
My favorite band is 10 meters but I usually work the highest band open unless there is a rare DX station I need for a new one on another band. I am a DXer at heart with 318 current countries worked and 8 deleted for a total of 326.
Thanks for reading and if you hear me on the air please give me a call!
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