Thanks for stopping by my virtual QTH on the ever useful QRZ.com!
As of 11 January 2011 my call has changed from KE5ZYP to W5XJ, read more about my new call below.
My new QSL card! I wanted a custom QSL now that I have a long-haul callsign so I called my friend Randy Dorman, KB3IFH, up in Maryland and started designing it. What we came up with was a tribute to the Republic of Texas days with several flags that flew over Texas back in 1836 - 1846 whenTexas was a country. My ancestors came to Texas in 1838 so I am a very native Texan. The flags are, clockwise from the upper left-hand corner: the 1st flag of the Republic of Texas; the Texas Navy Flag; the Gonzales Flag and the Alamo Flag. Randy was very patient with my changes and proof requests so I recommend him highly. His prices are very competitive and he offers terrific personal service. His website is http://www.kb3ifh.homestead.com and you should check it out for your next QSL order.
I'm a fairly new ham having passed my Tech in March 09, General in June 09 and on 25 March 2010 I received my Extra class upgrade. I've wanted to be a ham since I was a kid but dyslexia made it impossible for me to master the code - even 5 WPM. Boy was I thrilled to learn they dropped the code requirement. Given all that, HF phone is my preferred mode with some digital ops and AM rag chewing thrown in for good measure.
Working DX as well as monitoring local repeaters from EM12ou is big fun. I also enjoy setting up in remote locations running on battery power with my improvised vertical antennas, loops and dipoles for BSA campouts and special events throughout Texas.
Equipment & Setup:
Portable Ops: using Icom 706 MK II G, ICOM AH-4 auto-tuner, into square loops, dipoles, and an S-9 31 foot vertical powered by a deep cycle marine battery with solar panels to charge it. Also I run 160 meter square loop on ranches with mucho real estate for the big boy 160 M wire.
Fixed Ops: Ten-Tec Orion I with TT Hercules II 500 watt solid state amp, Steppir Mark II Big IR vertical with 60/80 meter coil kit, LDG AT 1000 Pro II (2012), into a110 foot multi-band dipole and resonant delta loops cut for various bands. The wire rack pictured below works great for the gear and I found it for $20 at Home Depot after looking all over the place.
DC power provided by a Walt Williams (W5YUO) 40 amp custom linear power supply. I love the old school linear supplies versus the switching type when weight is not a concern. Walt is a master power supply builder from Arlington, Texas. You may still find Walt and his famous DC power supplies at DFW area hamfests. I have recently added a commercial grade 5 amp-hour solar panel and 190amp-hour commercial UPS battery to power my amp - so far so good. Thanks to Mason for the FB battery!
Lately for exercise I've started riding my hybrid bike around the lake and was using an H/T alone and it worked OK. There are some repeaters that I could not reach with that setup so I took it a step further. Below are photos of what I used out of the surplus / junk box to have a better signal while bike-mobile. This project made a huge difference in my signal and nowI can reach about every repeater that I can from my 50 watt car rig. Biking is great exercise and hamming on the road sure helps pass the time.
Wouxun H/T from www.wouxun.us mounted via a mount purchased at Ham-Com.
Close up of mount going to frame mount carrier.
Complete and ready to go, bracket is well grounded to the bike frame and tests low resistance on the meter too.
As of May 2013 I replaced the Diamond D/B antenna (above) with a homebrew vertical dipole cut for 2 meters since the SWR was quite high on the Diamond. The dipole is 1:1 SWR and more efficient and a better radiator then the Diamond given the limited groundplane a bike allows. When time permits I will post photos of the dipole. Making your own antenna is fun, rewardingand worth the effort in many cases. Try it sometime.
Boat Anchors (sometimes smelly) are great nostalgic RF fun!
Recently (May 2013) I have gotten into Boat Anchors and have picked up an AM transmitter and receiver that are older than I am. If you like the smell of old books in the library or old cars you'll love this part of the hobby. Many of these old radios came in kit form that the HAM had to assemble with a ton of soldering to be done. These bad boys used large transformers so theyweigh well over 100 pounds - not easily mobile. These need a switch to move the antenna from the receiver to the transmitter on XMIT and back to the receiver on REC. You could do this with coax switches or modern relays but there is something called a Dow Key Relay that you gotta have. The DX-100 has what is known as an octal plug in the back that has various inputs & outputs, including 110 VAC, via the DX-100 T/R switch, that powers the relay. The radio has a built in antenna matching system that tunes up like atube type amp does such as the AL-811, etc. Clearly this takes far more effort that my Ten-Tec does but it is fun to see this early ham radio in operation. If you get bored with modern gear give this a try just be careful to not let the "magic smoke" escape from the unit. I've found that once the magic smoke gets out you cannot put it back in without a lot of difficulty. There is a great boat anchor net on Saturday mornings at 7:00 AM Texas time on 3.890 AM so come join us whether you have an old or new radio - nobody cares as long as you can get a decent signal out there.AM ops can also be heard on 3.880, 7.160, 14.286 & 330, and 29.000 - 29.100. The best time for AM is late at night or early in the morning, once the sun gets up it gets noisy so get up early, brew a pot of joe, grab the paper, fire up your rig, kick back, and give 3.890 a listen.
Dateline 23 August 2013: thanks to WW9W I added a DX-40 AM transmitter and VF-1 VFO to the meager collection. It is much easier to work on than the crowded DX-100. Tomorrow will be its debut on the 3.890 AM net so I hope they will hear me using the Steppir BigIr vertical.
Heathkit DX-40 AM/CW Transmitter and VF-1 VFO circa 1959
Heathkit DX-100 AM/CW transmitter circa 1958
National NC-300 AM/SSB/CW Receiver circa 1959
These things use something called "vacuum tubes" that glow when operating which is interesting and they keep the shack warm in the winter.
This photo is the 6146 tubemade by GE and the DX-100 uses them in the final amplifier stage,two of them in the DX-100. The DX-100 only likes 6146's of 6146A's, not B's or other variants of the B type tube or else you'll find out what VHF/UHF parasitic radiation is. Also B type tubes are difficult to neutralize which you need to do with the DX-100 transmitters.
My Vanity Call:
I'm very pleased to have shed my 2X3 call on 11 January 2011 in favor of the new 1X2 and wish to thank Fred, with W5YI (SK), for his help finding me the new one. Fred did a great job and most of all delivered on his promise to do his best to secure the call for me. RIP Fred.
The previous holder of W5XJ was a well known West Texas Ham named David Smith (SK) from Winters, Runnels County, Texas. I never had the pleasure of a QSO with David as he became a SK beforeI received my first license. I am very familiar with Winters, Runnels County, and the near West Texas area since I have visited there often. One of my best friends and native son of Winters owns the Dry Hollow Ranch outside of town. I'm very pleased to keep the call in Texas and 5-land where it belongs.
Prior to David, my call was held by Terry Burkholder, now N4TB, when he was living in Texas. Terry told me the call was pretty good for CW. A lot of hams in the Dallas area remember Terry.
DX and not so DX Trips:
From 12/27/09 - 1/2/10 I was setup portable in vacation rental on the side of a hill in the southeast part of Santa Fe, NM running the 706 MK II G and a new multi-band dipole that was far too low to the ground. Made some good contacts nonetheless! Next time I am bringing the monster delta loop for 160, ladder line,anda balanced linetuner.
December 2011 - January 2012 I was back in Santa Fe running portable and on the Santa Fe area repeaters. Thanks to all the SF area hams for the warm welcome, again.
In May 2012 I was QRV on top of the Texas Monument outside Houston running simplex FM on 146.52 and made many contacts with the coastal bend area hams.
July 9th - 23rd 2012 we were QRV driving 4,000 miles from Dallas to visit friends in Big Sky, Montana and back via: Philmont Scout Ranch / Cimarron, NM; YMCA of the Rockies / Estes Park, CO; a stop at W W V in Fort Collins, CO; Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming; Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming; Tatom Homeplace / Big Sky, Montana; Mount Rushmore in Keystone, SD and home through Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and back to Texas. I was running mobile on 20 & 40 and some 6 Meter mobile as well. Good to hear everyone on the 7.185 net along the way and for the many FB QSO's.
Many thanks to all the hams that have helped me get started in this great hobby: KC5AKB had great ideas and encouragement plus my first QSL card in the mail; W5SYU helped test my first HF rig (a used 706 MKIIG off craig's list);WY5V for his extraordinary help with my RFI & antenna issues;K5XG & AK5DX fortheir QRO, antenna and tower expertise; andRuss, K5OSH, for hisboat anchor library. HAMSthat take the time to help new hams are the best! Help a new ham get started today,you will feel good doing it while helping launch another into this great hobby.
Circle Ten Radio Scouting:
Recently we launched the webpage to promote HAM radio to the Scouting community in North Texas. If you are interested in joining the group visit our page to learn more about our programs by clicking this link
Don't miss the BSA Jamboree on the air (JOTA) each October 20th. Talk to scouts and show them what radio is all about.Get your club to bring HAM radio to a scout unit and let them help you setup the station and operate. Field day is also a great time to work with scouts.
Videos / W5XJ Youtube Channel:
Sometimes a picture is worth 1,000 words so I post various "how to" and "I did" ham related videos to You Tube, if you want to see them, here they are http://www.youtube.com/user/W5XJ and thanks to my son Mitchell for the FB camera work - hopefully he'll have his Tech license soon.
Hope to hear you on the bands whenever I take a break from leasing and selling office and warehouse space in EM12!
73 and good DX de W 5 X J
So many antennas . . . . . . . . . . . . . so little time!
Who says it never snows in Texas! 4 February 2011 - Smith Park
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