Welcome to Midland, Michigan. The picture in the upper right corner is of a unique three legged bridge (Tridge) in downtown Midland. It stradles the confluence of the Chippewa and Titabawasse Rivers. This sight was once a rondezvous point for Native American tribes. Later Native Americans and Voyageurs met at this spot. Today this walking Tridge leads to parks and recreation areas.
Above, is a picture of me operating 8P6/ on a recent cruise. 8P6GK was just about to make a connection to echolink node # 205097 when my batteries died :-( My Dad lives in Roscommon, MI where the local repeater is connected to echolink.
My 30 ft Field Day Portable tower in 2011 standing by the tower are three friends from the Midand ARC; KB8PGW, NX8A, WB8FYR. In the picture above from 2011 On top; a 3 ele 6 meter military surplus yagi and a 2 ele mini beam for 20, 15, 10 meters.
above: This year, and for the previous two years, I had a Cushcraft A3S on top of the tower (The location at Chippewese park, next the the Tridge (see above) attracted lots of visitors).
My Home Brew Screw Driver Antenna. Original mount did not allow the lift gate to open. The 2 inch copper pipe has been painted silver/gray to match the roof rack. I am still thinking of an inexpensive but more elegant support (some sort of insulator material to replace the oak wood). My new vehicle did not need any bonding to reduce ignition noise, the IC-7000 NB and NR eliminate all of that noise (if you still have ignition noise, ground your tail pipe and exhaust pipe to the frame).
A good ground is essential to performance, so a stainless steel bolt was added to the bottom of the hitch (visible in this picture) to make a very solid connection to the frame (the bolt also keeps the antenna mount square to the vehicle's bumper). Without a good ground the RF would stay with the vehicle, me and the radio, and cause all to suffer from RF feedback. I have added two ferrite beads (clam shell type design) near the antenna base (around the coax and screw driver control wires) to choke the RF and prevent it from traveling back into the radio, I am still working on a better ground connection at the base of the antenna. This antenna design was made from plans in the ARRL Antenna Handbook. I am using a few sections of military surplus, copper plated steel whip, which I can unscrew to park the vehicle in the garage. Mobile antenna efficiency is based on antenna length and diameter. The military surplus whip should perform better than thinner stainless steel whips, and the 2" copper pipe helps efficiency also. This antenna tunes 80 to 6 meters. I haven't tried tuning it on 160m and to tune it on 80m reguires swaping the shunt coil, so I rarely operate below 40m. I have the most fun working DX on 20, 17 and 15 meters and 40m is good for longer conversations. I also have a commercial (Larson) 2m/440 magnet mount antenna on the roof of the car. Programming repeater memories into the IC-7000 was the last feature I learned about this wonderful full featured radio, too bad it doesn't have alpha/numeric labels.
Warning do not play radio if you are traveling with your spouse or friends! Don't Tune and drive, keep your eyes on the road. The built-in voice recorder can help you keep a log of mobile QSOs.
Below: This is a Picture of MY friends from Dayton 2012;
Elvin, JA3CZY (my first 80m SSB Japan QSO) and Sharon (K7WZB, and Garry Fisher, (K9WZB) I just saw this picture on Garry's QRZ page and so I thought I should try to get it up on my page, I had trouble making it look good before, now I upload a higher-resolution version from my camera.
Anyway I met Garry on 40m a few years back while he and Sharon were traveling to Dayton and I had never been there. And Elvin is a big DXer and my first 80 meter SSB Japan QSO. You should Google his call sign, he is everywhere. It was fun to spend some time with all of them, its a good reason to go to Dayton (to see people you have talked to on the radio).
My previous callsign, (since 1967) was WA8YXA. I've been an extra class since the 70's but never upgraded to a shorter callsign. A friend discovered this callsign was available and thought I should have it. I applied to the FCC and learned through the QMN (80m cw traffic net) on Monday 1/25/10 that my request was granted. After confirmation I started using it on January 26, 2010.
As of Sunday, January 24th my old call (WA8YXA) at QRZ.com was taken down. I have reset the Lat. Lon., red pin location and I am slowly re-building my QRZ.COM page.
I received a new Certificate from LoTW. I uploaded my first batch of QSO's using my new callsign this morning (January 27, 2010). eQSL is now working also. I upload about once per week.
I am using a 2 ele wire yagi up 70 feet on 80 and 40 meters. I built a 2 element Quad that I designed on EZNEC+ 5.0. It works exactly as the EZNEC model. I used 6 feet of 2.5" SCH-40 aluminum pipe and two (4'x2") pieces of aluminum tubing to make an 11' boom. The spreader hubs are left over from a commercial Quad I took down for someone 40 years ago. I still had them but the rest of the aluminum was either broken or missing (probably built other antennas).
The spreaders are Max Gain fiberglass. The old spreader used plastic tubes that insulated the aluminum poles (which I don't have). I had some plastic (natural gas line, yellow) left over and used pieces of it to hold the Max Gain fiberglass poles. After tightening them into the hub I wrapped the yellow plastic with black electrical tape. The Max Gain fiberglass poles are two 8' telescoping sections, glued together with 3M 5200 adhesive to make about a 13' pole. One foot of the smaller pole was cut off and glued inside the end shown in the picture above. The wire loops for each Quad are held in place by hose clamps, copper tubing, and vinyl tubing, as recommended by Max Gain Systems. (See pictures below). I sent these pictures to Max Gain Systems and I pleased to see them on their web page.
Slide the vinyl tubing through the copper. Pinch the copper tubing to hold vinyl in place.
I bought a piece of aluminum plate and 8' of 2.5" SCH 40 aluminum pipe to make to mast-to-boom plate and center section of the 11' boom.
Started diging the hole for the tower base in April.When I had dug about five feet deep I hit water. The hole started to cave and it was becoming impossible for me to dig any deeper. My neighbor had a small digger with a very small shovel. He came over with a bigger shovel. As he dug he hit the side walls and the hole got a lot wider. It became necessary to build a concrete form, which I made with 4'x8' Oriented Strand Board and 2"x4" lumber. Although the 2"x4" lumber reinforced the box shape, it was too weak to hold the heavy concrete. More timbers were wedge into place. Troy (used the digger) along with my crew of friends to back fill around the box as the concrete was poured.
Troy using his Digger, Placing the form in the hole, Ground water in bottom, My son Michael leveling Tower
Myself & son Michael, added Painter's tape & cardboard around the tower. This shield kept cement and backfill dirt off tower as concrete was poured. After the pour was complete we quickly removed any concrete from the aluminum tower as concrete is very corrosive.
Pour and backfill. As concrete was poured in, water flowed out, everywhere! The last pic shows concrete and dirt cleaned off the tower.
I still used more than the recommend 8 cubic yards of concrete. A continuous pour (used more than 12 yards to fill the form to the top, which required another concrete order from a different supplier at days end). The Universal tower company said I did a good job, the tower isn't going to move. I'm glad, I didn't want to make a "Leaning Tower of Pisa". The concrete is more than 6 feet under ground and about 18" above ground. I plan to landscape the mound with stones.
The Tower is a 70' free standing. I installed a 4K pound winch to raise and lower the tower. (See below)
I finally got the Quad designed and built just before winter. Here it is going up, November 21, 2009. Thank goodness my neighbors came over when they saw it going up, I really needed their help to gently pull the tower into place (4 men, two men wasn't enough) while I bolted it into the base. I installed a steel bar to prevent it from tilting over the other way as the tower was upright and the 3rd bolt was installed at the base.
Before I raised the tower, I added four Halyards to the bearing plate with pulleys to pull up wire antennas.
I now have a 2 element full-size 40 meter slopper pulled up to the 60 foot level. It has a 15 degree take-off angle and 7.7dBi of gain when pulled up to about 69'. It works good where it is and I can still rotate the quad but it works better when pulled up to 69'. I recently used it with good results to work DX over the north pole into Asia. I switch back and forth between the slopper and my 2 element horizontal wire yagi to decide which antenna is receiving better. The made a 3 element 80m yagi pointing NE and with short spacing the F/B ratio was +25db, I could barely hear strong west coast stations! I have changed back to a 2 element 80/40m yagi pointing East North East. I have added an 80 meter inverted vee to the South side of the tower. It works very well on 160 meters also! So now I finally have a 160 meter antenna!
While soldering the rotor plug I used pieces of heat shrink tubing to prevent the insulation from melting back.
On a recent visit to Florida, my Uncle gave me most of his Ham gear. Sad to say two years later, my good Uncle is now a silent key.
So much gear it barely fit in the car.
So far I have used the transcieivers and antenna analyzer and mini SWR bridge, and I am using the Henry 2K Classic since I need an 8877 tube for my amplifier. I rewired the Henry for 115/120vac operation and then used a Variac (auto-transfomer) to bring the voltage up slow, thus I avoided blowing the electrolytic capacitors in the power supply, which had not been charged for many years. After the capacitors had been on charge for 24 hours, I removed 120v Variac and rewired the Henry for 240 vac. I have wired the shack for two 220v linear amps so, some day I may have two very good stations.
Other Hobbies and Awards.
I might have finished the Tower and Quad project sooner if I had not spent so much time flying model airplanes.
I enjoy serving Christ by serving others (mission trips, mostly in USA).
I recently returned from Cambodia, where I taught the Bible to adults. What an awesome experience!
God Bless you.
I applied for DXCC at the 2009 Dayton Hamvetion and 80m DXCC at the 2010 Dayton Hamvention. Here are my certificates.
I now have my 40 meter DXCC. And I was lucky enough to win the Rookie Award in the Michigan QSO Party in 2012.
I recently earned my 20 meter and 15 meter and 10 meter DXCC Awards, and the 5 Band DXCC awards.
On March 12, 2013 I received the 1st placeCertificate of Merit, 8th Area US, in the CQ WW WPX Contest 2012!
On March 26, 2013 I received my 10 meter DXCC and my 5 Band DXCC Award (the 5BandDXCC plaque arrived later)!
Thanks for reading my page. I had fun making it and I am sure I enjoyed meeting and talking to you. 73, Steve
1185555 Last modified: 2014-08-14 14:42:32, 18275 bytes
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