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December 2009:

I returned to Amateur Radio in Summer 2009 after 40 year hiatus. Formerly a 6M Technician op in the mid-1960's, I am enjoying my first foray into HF. Bring on the sunspots(soon, please)!

The primary antenna is a 24ft. ZeroFive vertical atop a sloped tin roof. Antenna #2 is a 43ft. sloper that is woefully inadequate in its present configuration. The rig is currently an IC-756, and I am in the process of setting up a Flex3000.

Happy Holidays to all.

 

August 2010:

CRS! This has needed updating for some time now.The ZeroFive set up was actually completed 1 week prior to the season's first of 3 major snowstorms - unusual for Baltimore.

The Flex3000 has been in operation since then and is now on its 2nd computer. The antenna complement is still the same for the time being. This Summer in the mid-Atlantic has been too hot to work on the (hot) tin roof and the groundplane. Upcoming is a remote coupler for the ZeroFive ground plane, setting up a 40M OCF dipole, and moving the 2M/70cM antenna atop the 2nd chimney on the roof.

I've been enjoying HF, contesting, digimodes, earning Extra this Spring, and making additions to the hardware and software running the station. Thanx to everyone who has answered my calls.

 

December 2010:

Upgrades to the ZeroFive completed in early November. It now sports an AH-4 remote coupler and readily tunes all bands from 80M-10M. Over Thanksgiving, the OCF went up and it seems to be a good NVIS antenna. The sloper is gone; and the VHF vertical is now mounted to chimney 2 enabling access to 2M repeaters across the Chesapeake Bay.

The antenna building bug has hit, so we'll see what plans/designs develop for warmer weather. Squeezing more wire onto the small urban lot presents challenges.

So, 1 yr. has passed since the first entry here. What a busy year! It's again time to extend Seasons' Greetings to all.

 

April 2011:

This year's antenna project is a vertically-oriented, almost full-wave 40M loop antenna strung off the side of the house. It will be fed via a remote tuner at a lower corner of the pentagon-shaped loop. The latest shack addtion is the MFJ-1026 Noise Cancelling Signal Enhancer; the sloper went back up and is the Noise Antenna. Instead of S-9 power line noise levels on 40M, they're now down to the S-5 range. Do I hear "noise rich environment?" The Flex3000 has become the primary rig and it suits my environment well for both regular and contest use. SDR is the way to go (for at least very good DSP).

Retirement has meant that I have spent quite a bit more time monitoring and on-the-air; and there have been some surprising DX contacts made since 1 Jan. 2011 - not that the improving solar condx. haven't helped. I've enjoyed them all, short or long, weak or strong. It's time to get back into CW practice to extend the reach of this 100W pipsqueak station!

 

January 2014:

Since the last update, the 40M loop has been taken down. Erecting antennas off the side of the house - built of ferrous stone - has proven a fiasco. In the loop's place went a ZS6BKW strung over the magnolia tree (apex at 35ft.) with each end terminated 20ft above ground. 2013 also saw the addition of a Hex Beam (MW0JZE design). The "farm" now includes the Hex Beam at 35ft., the roof-mounted vertical and the ZS6BKW. Antenna diversity does come in handy. This year's projects include putting a Flex5000 into service and trying out operating with a 500W linear.

I continue to enjoy contest operating, particularly at friends' stations, namely WX3B and W3LPL. Tnx, Jim and Frank!

 

73; I hope we QSO on the bands (again) soon. And I still plan to post some pics one day for those who have asked.

 

 

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