I was first licensed in 1967 as WN6ALC in Vacaville, CA while I was in the Air Force. I had an old DX-20 and a handfull of crystals for my transmitter and a Hallicrafters SX-110 receiver. The SX-110 was a general coverage shortwave receiver and the ham bands were about half an inch wide. I would zero beat my signal and listen to the entire novice band for an answer to my CQ. My antenna was an inverted-V hanging from the overhang of the roof and the legs were just a few inches from the ground. When I went back to civilian life, I moved to Downers Grove, IL and became WN9FTX, WN9MUZ and finally WB9VMY. I hated cw and when I got my Technician license thought I would never use a key again. I found out that I could work alot of weak signals on the VHF bands with cw and it became alot of fun. Now I rarely work any phone. I love to work QRPp and only work phone on 50 MHz and up. I love microwaves and have found that I can work DX with QRP on any microwave band. Microwaves are amazing! I upgraded to Extra after some of my friends gave me a hard time about having a GROL and working in the electronics and communications industry and no Extra ticket. That is when I received the W5GHZ call.
Over the years I have collected a ton of ham gear and some day I need to hold my own ham fest and get rid of most of it, no wait, I need that HW16, it goes with the other HW16 and the matching VFO and speaker next to the TS-520 and the TS-520S with all of the extras. I just need a bigger ham shack.
I spend most of my HF operating time on 30 meter cw with an ICOM IC736 HF rig and a 200 watt, homebrew (3 x 6146B), 30 meter amplifier. Full-sized quarterwave phased array verticals with miles of wire in the ground make up my 30 meter antenna. The verticals are made from old 5/8 wave CB antennas with the matching transformers removed and one of the ground radials used to extend the length to 1/4 wave on 10.105 MHz. The antennas are spaced 1/2 wavelength apart and fed 180 deg out of phase. This makes an excellent DX antenna and is oriented with maximum gain East and West. I also run QRPp on all HF bands with 100 milliwatts output or less.
With a callsign like W5GHZ, one might ask why I am on HF at all. I am not only on HF, but I also participate in the ARRL's 500Kc experiment with many hours of monitoring propagation on the 505Kc to 508Kc band. As soon as the new license is approved, I will also be transmitting. The challenge is to fit a 500KC antenna on a city lot! I am presently looking into the possibility of using a Fractal antenna(Google Fractal antenna).
For those that think this callsign may be wasted on an HF only op, I can assure you, I love microwaves and even have two parabolic mirrors for use with laser communications. Talk about hard to get a QSO and work grid squares (DXCC is just a dream), try doing it on 532 nanometers! I have a six foot dish for 5 GHz, a two foot dish for 10 GHz and a two foot dish for 24 GHz. A 40 element yagi for 1296 Mhz. Still need to get on 2.4 GHz with something other than the portable telephone and the LAN in the computer. I also work six meters, two meters, 1.25 meters, and 70 cm.
I have discovered a new mode (to me). It is High Speed Meteor Scatter (HSMS) using WSJT on the VHF bands. There are meteors (rocks as they are affectionatly called by the HSMS ops) much more often than I was aware. I have found out that meteors enter the Earth's atmosphere during the day and even when there isn't a meteor shower. Using around 100 watts and a small beam and the WSJT software written by W1JT, it is possible to bounce VHF signals off of the ionized trails of meteors using VHF frequencies. Of course, more power and bigger antennas make for more contacts
I worked for AT&T as a test engineer writing software, as Chief Engineer at a UHF TV station and as a commercial pilot flying traffic watch and sky divers.
Now I am a research engineer doing propagation research on the Ham bands with 100 milliwatts and less, testing the structural integrity of miniature aircraft, the eating habits of certain fish, ballistics comparisons of lead projectiles, ocean and wind currents and the effects of climate change on inteligent animals living in the wilderness.
Other interests include flying (real airplanes and RC), sailing, fishing, hunting, the outdoors in general and the propensity of the Human mind to believe in a supreme being.
Have you ever wondered how far apart to space the ends of your radials on an HF vertical for a given number of radials? Use this formula:
r = length of radial in feet.
theta is the angle between each radial.
d = distance in feet between the ends of the radials.
To figure the angle, divide 360 by the number of radials.
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