W3IK is "John" in Gray, TN, United States of America in the extreme northeast corner of Tennessee. Black and White Photos are 1969-1970 vintage. The color photo is present station.
My QTH is nestled in the foothills, hollers, knobs, of the Appalachian and Smoky Mountains, about fifteen minutes from Virginia, thirty minutes from North Carolina, and about forty minutes from Kentucky. Wildlife abounds, seen here have been bears, fox, coyotes, racoons, deer, wildcats, and since in the country, all the typical livestock animals. I am located in the center of the Tricities area of Kingsport, Johnson City, and Bristol, TN.
Greetings Brother and Sister Radio Operators and Shortwave Listening Enthusiasts. I was FIRST LICENSED forty-five years ago in 1969. The photo you see above is when I was 15 years old. Over the years I have held the calls: W3IK, WN4OAA, HP1XJC, KF9N, WB4OAA, AD2L, DA1ON, AND A VE1 and VO1 RECIPROCAL LICENSE from 1972 to 1975. I also at one time held an F.C.C. Commercial Telegraph License in the 70’s. The license is a relic of the past (hmmmm Ebay item?).
The magic of radio exists in many forms for all of us. For those of us: old, young, new ham, old ham, shortwave listener, or whathave you, IF you have never experienced building your own gear, you must do so --- and most particularly with tube equipment. My first transmitter is in that picture, made from old tube and tv radio parts I picked up as a kid riding my bike and finding on the side of the road from trash piles. I scrapped them, used the parts, and voila, radio transmitter. Thus, my most memorable moments of radio were not with sophisticated solid state gear, but moments spent in a hot dark room, illuminated only by the filaments of a dozen tubes glowing in the dark through a metal mesh cabinet of my receiver, the smell of well heated components, ozone in the air, the percolating fluctuations of an OV2 regulator tube in my homebrew crystal controlled transmitter, changing its hue of blue with each key stroke of Morse, a set of cans (headsets) upon my ears, and my hand grasping the receiver dial to "tune the band" up and down for an answer to my CQ. In those days, even on HF you "TUNED" your receiver up and down the whole band looking for an answer to your CQ. That's a magical moment every ham then, and still today should have. I encourage you, buy a kit, build it, and they will come. You can find tube kits still out there to build your own station. The contact you make with a radio built with your hands will more than likely be your most nostalgic and cherished ham radio memory.
MY CAREER AS MILITARY RADIO OPERATOR 1974-1994: My early part of my career was point-to-point radio which began in 1974. Serving during the Vietnam War, I took part in Operation New Life, providing communications that helped transport distraught Vietnamese refugees out of VietNam to USA. I would be interested in hearing from other vets who participated in this military but also humanitarian operation. During my 20 years as an Air Force Radio Operator, most of my career was support of HF Air-To-Ground Presidential, Vice Presidential, and Special Air Missions such as Air Force One, Air Force Two, etc. from Albrook Airways, and Scott Airways. This included long range flight following (HF Air Traffic Control). I also worked MARS RADIO, and was Chief Operator at AGA6MC 1974-1976 McClellan AFB, AGA6TR Travis AFB (90 day TDY) 1975, and AJA3AIR Rhein Main AB 1976-1977. I also did considerable HF Point-to-Point Communications, and served with a Combat Deployable Unit (3rd Herd). I spent 6 months special assignment working with Combat Crew Communications at Loring AFB, ME (primarily B52's and KC-135s). Other ancedotes of my military career include working communications/support during the Iran Hostage Crisis of the late 70's, Grenada Invasion, Bosnia, and the Iraq War. My most memorable communications experience was assisting a Search and Rescue C-130 looking for a downed balloonist who was one of the earlier attempts at crossing the Atlantic by balloon. The balloonist kerplopped off the coast of the Azores.
LIFE AFTER THE AIR FORCE (TODAY): I am retired from the USAF. Since then, I have taught college for the past fifteen years in the evenings, and also in the day time I work for the US Postal Service.
AMATEUR RADIO TRANSMITTING + RECEIVING APPARATUS
STATION Position #1: Ten Tec Model 516, a.k.a. "Argonaut". The Argonaut 516 in my opinion is the best of all the Argonauts made. It is a "keeper", although a QRP rig, I have also a "Pride 100" linear amplifier for 80 through 10 meter bands. For VHF-UHF I have Baofeng and Wouxing HT's along with a 30 watt linear amplifier to a dual band Ground Plane. I just recently added the TONFA 10 watt dual band VHF/UHF HT. The big two meter rig, Alinco DX135 is in the mobile capable of 50 watts out into a 2m/6m dual band mag mount antenna. Although the mobile is "S0-not- a" car (( Sonata Hyundai )), the radio is much more than the car (Smile).
STATION Position #2: Galaxy GT-550 Transceiver Line (GT550/RV550/SC550)produces 400 Watts, for almost half a kilowatt of output in a self contained desktop transceiver covering the 80 - 10m bands
STATION POSITION #3. A SECOND COMPLETE GT550 Line like above, but dedicated to 80m/75m use.
STATION Position #3: Hallicrafters S-38C and Homebrew QRP=QRPp transmitter. .
STATION Position #4: Heathkit HW8 QRP Transceiver
STATION Position #5: Alinco DX135 2m FM transceiver
STATION Position #6: Motorola MCS2000.
STATION Position #7 Yaesu FT450D HF/VHF 100 watt transceiver.
LINEAR AMPLIFIERS: Half Kilowatt HF amplifier (Modified GT550), 100w HF solid state Pride 100, Mirage 2m 30w amplifer.
ANTENNAS: - 4 Element Corner-fed Bobtail Curtain Array for the 20 Meter band with about 6db gain over a dipole. - ¼ Wave 160 M Inverted L Tunes all bands 160-6m. - A99 Half Wave Vertical for 10m, and a 2m/70cm GP Beam (Hybrid Ground-Plane Beam)
ACCESSORIES: HP Pavillion g7-1310us Notebook Windows 7. Rigblaster NOMIC + assorted software, Vectronics VEC-841 Tuneable CW filter, MFJ-945B Antenna Tuner, a Uniden HF-VHF-UHF Scanner, AEA Morse Machine Keyer-VibroKeyer Paddle + J38 hand key. My favorite accessory is a 2004 K1TTY Purr-colator (Feline Foot Warmer - Domestic American Breed, a.k.a. named "Sage" 10 year old kitty-cat who IS a delightful bundle of love at eighteen pounds.
QRP and QRPp CW are my first preferences. I have worked all states with LESS THAN a ½ watt and about 50 countries with ½ watt using simple wire antennas. Some of the dx countries on 500 milliwatts of RTTY were with simple wire antennas (sloper, dipoles, end fed, inverted L). QRP does not take much, even on 160m, my 130' end fed up 25 feet allowed me to work 37 states in 3 hours during a 160m Contest --- not bad for 5 watts on 160m). A not too long ago DX Contest, for the heck of it, I ran QRP and wire antennas, and in three hours worked over forty states (CW and QRP rules the airwaves)!
QRPP Digital: If you have never ran ½ watt RTTY, PSK31, MFSK16, or any other digital mode, try it. You are missing out! It is amazing! People find it difficult to believe you when you tell them you are running half a watt on RTTY.
VOICE: If I do ever have to talk on the radio, my preference is 40m AM or 10m AM, followed by 10m FM. I formerly enjoyed VHF and UHF SSB, especially when mountain-topping or hiking the Appalachian Trail.
OTHER: I enjoy dx-ing, equipment building, and favor antenna experimentation...duct tape is a life saver during VHF contests!
QSL’s: Note, I am not big on this, and no I am not a QSL-Grinch. It just is expensive, and I have a lot of other priorities that I prefer to spend the money on not to mention the time. I do a lot of charity work, and fifty cents per qsl card can quickly and actually adds up when you send a lot of cards. This is money I could use to help some kid or person to have a meal or something. However, I know how desperately important a card can be to someone, so I am happy to qsl in those instances. However, if it is just another average card to your collection then consider how much you need it. I will honor your request. I do recognize people enjoy this aspect of the hobby. Likewise, others should recognize that some hams are not into QSLing anymore than some hams are no longer into Morse Code. Hams need to respect no-coders just like non-qslers. QSLs arriving here are unsolicited mail, like junk mail. It takes time to get to them, and QSL-ing is a chore to some hams like me. HOWEVER, I do discourage qsling here, unless you absolutely need a QSL and to those who genuinely want and need the card. I do not have printed cards, and for a person to receive a card, I have to print one out. Further, it takes time for me to get to this, and it might be a good while before you get a card back. Including an S.A.S.E. also increases the likelihood and probability of a return card. Also, should you not receive a card, don’t get mad and forget about it. Email me and let me know, and I will send out another card. I am not too well organized and I sometimes forget or think I replied to a qsl. I do want you to get a card if you want it and need it, so if applicable and I need reminding, do remind me! My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org I want you to get the card. One more note: I do not do EQSL, LOTW, or any of the other methods.
ABOUT ME: I started radio at the age of 11, became novice class-licensed at 15 under the test proctoring of W4LUV, Charles Hennessy. Then in 1970 and subsequent years, I drove the 100 miles to take my exams at an FCC Field office, ultimately upgrading to Extra Class and a Commercial Radio Telegraph licensee. These led to me becoming a professional/military radio operator for over 20 years. I am retired military (having been both officer (Guard) and enlisted (Active Duty), retiring in the early 90’s), am currently employed as a college professor, and also work for the post office. I am married (one wife), with a daughter and son, both grown. I have an awesome 4 year old granddaughter. I am now 60 years old (and apparently somewhat cantankerous).
HOBBIES/OTHER INTERESTS: Reading, studying the art of leadership-management science, teaching, education, motorcycling, hiking, fishing, mountain topping, laying on the couch doing absolutely nothing. Of particular and very strong interest is sleeping AND avoiding the xyl's do list --- both are high on my agenda of other interests.
Vintage Photo is of my station in 1969-1970, age 15. Station consisted of Hallicrafters SX-43 Receiver, Lafayette HA460 6m AM Xcvr, and a homebrew one tube ("807 tube"), crystal controlled, forty meter, 30 watt transmitter. (I believe the other receiver in the picture was also a Hallicrafters), and the portable receiver on top an Allied. SO 73 !! And enjoy our wonderful hobby. [[ If you have read all this, I commend you! 73 from Gray, TN ]] John W3IK
1598397 Last modified: 2015-01-11 14:37:34, 12140 bytes
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