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Originally licensed in May, 1962 as WN5CGI (14 years old). Took the novice test in Ft Worth, TX with my mother and father. (WN5CGH and WN5CGJ).  Moved to Southern California in June, 1962. Didn't know anyone, so studied and took General Test in August, 1962. License was WB6BEE. Mom and Dad eventully became WB6BUW and WB6BUX sometime later. Both are SK now. Took Advanced test a few years later. Received the Heathkit Maurader transmitter and Warrior Amplifier as Christmas gifts.

Left Southern California for Hawaii in 1967. Stationed at CINCPACFLT as a Radioman with the Navy. While there, one of the main operators for KH6SP, the submarine base amateur station.

During that time, my mother WB6BUW spent her days in Southern California using her Collins equipment to run phone patches for injured servicemen that were on the hospital ship USS Repose (AHS-16) back to their friends and family on the mainland.  Photograph and QSL card below are of my mother during her active days on the radio in the late 1960's.   My father had built the nice console cabinet for my mother's Collins S line.  Her most prized possession.



Moved to Northern California (above Sacramento in 1970). Very active on RTTY during those years using WWII Model 19 equipment, including a paper tape machine.

Pretty inactive during the 90's. Moved to Colorado in 2004. Forgot to renew my license and let the 2 year period go by. A good friend emailed and said my call was on the "available" list. Couldn't believe I let it go by. Took the General exam in Durango, CO in 2011. Received a KD0 call sign. Immediately applied for my old call back and was successful. Who wants a 2X3 call anyway, so it was waiting for me. It's a great CW call and easy to remember. Drug out my dad's IC 751a from the attic, put up the wire antenna and re-entered a world of ham radio that didn't look anything like what it did in the mid-eighties. Took the extra class in 2012, just before 65th birthday while on a street rod trip to Palm Desert, CA. The local club there gave me the test.

Now running a street rod and vintage land cruiser shop in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. At 7,500 feet (2,286 meters) above sea level, you really don't need much of a tower. You can check out that website at www.wolfcreekrodworks.com. If you like street rods and vintage land cruisers, you will enjoy all the photographs of past and current projects.

Two personal vehicles, 1965 FJ40 Toyota Land Cruiser and 1938 Chevrolet Coupe. Lower photos are the Land Cruiser crossing the Golden Crack on the Golden Spike Trail in Moab, UT and the 38 Chevy leaving our house in a snow storm in late April. Engine in the red car is 502 cubic inch big block chevy, fuel injected, 515 HP. Gets about 18 MPG on the highway, passes everthing. It's never been on a trailer. Just turning 62,000 miles and still drives like a dream.

My wife is Wen Saunders. Wen is a 35 year professional photojournalist that specialised in photographing rodeo, weddings, families and street rods. Her real passion was for black and white photography. We have a darkroom built in our home. You can check out her photography web site at www.wendysaunders.com. She is now a real estate agent for Re-Max in the beautiful Pagosa Springs area of Colorado. You can check out her real estate website at www.wensaunders.com. She never heard of ham radio until she met me. She's still skeptical, I think.

The QTH in Summer: View from Front Deck and Rear Deck

And in the Winter. Those mountains in the center photo are the Continental Divide for the US. Rivers on the East side flow east or south, Rivers on the West side flow West or South.

And, our guard dog, Abby, taking her job seriously (and a bit grayer in the face now days). Abby with her two brothers, Elvis (yellow cat, recently SK) and Sebastian (black/white cat). Sebastian keeps the critters under control.

And, the equipment. Icom. IC 781 transceiver, IC 2kl 500 watt amplifier, IC 500AT automatic antenna tuner. Antenna is 68 Foot Vertical with 160 meter coil, ground mounted with 60 radials. Also have a ZS6BKW antenna set up in inverted V form for 40, 80 and 160. 20 Meter and 17 Meter Extended Double Zepps oriented EU, 40 Meter and 15 Meter Extended Double Zepp oriented JA. 30 Meter Dipole East/West.  Wattmeter is a N8LP LP 100a. Logging program is DXLab Suite. QS1R receiver for SDR/Skimmer.


White Circle-68 Ft Vertical with 60 radials and 160 Base Coil,

Green Line- 15 Meter Extended Double Zepp,

Orange Line-17 Meter Extended Double Zepp,

Red Line-40 Meter Extended Double Zepp,

Pink Line- ZS6BKW (G5RV),

Yellow Line-10 Meter Phased Extended Double Zepps,

Dark Blue Line, 12 Meter Extended Double Zepp,

Gray Line, 20 Meter Extended Double Zepp,

Light Blue Line-30 Meter Dipole.


99.99 Percent Pure CW.

A Photograph is worth a thousand words.

Would have made 100%, but I have a two meter FM radio in the Land Cruiser, just in case.

The tools of choice, Vibroplex Presentation Serial Number 240134, Circa 1964, purchased new in 1965.

Vibroplex Blue Racer, Circa 1955. Serial Number 190651

Vibroplex Original, Circa 1947, Serial Number 154023

G3HGE Olympic Bug Serial 09-2013, w/W0EB Dot Stabilizer and KT5X dash bump stop.

McElroy 1938B Deluxe Serial Number 1554.  One of only two such keys restored by Tom Withers, G3HGE.

Vibroplex Original, Circa 1925, Serial Number 95428

Vibroplex Lightning, 1945, Serial Number 146032

Telegraph Apparatus Company TAC 510, Circa 1945 era

All hooked up and ready to go.


FOC Member No 2041 CWops Member No 1195 ARRL A1 Operator Club

1964 Vibroplex Original Presentation                                         1955 Vibroplex Blue Racer Deluxe

2013G3HGE Olympic                                                                 1947 Vibroplex Original

1938 McElroy Deluxe                                                                 1925 Vibroplex Original

1945 Vibroplex Lightning                                                          Circa 1945  TAC 510

Homebrew 68 Foot (20.7 Meter) Vertical, 60 radials over poor mountain shale earth,  160 meter base coil.  Remote tuner.  Useful for 17 M, 30M, 40M, 80M and 160M.




The equipment stashed inside XYL approved cabinet with doors that close..

My Favorite Six Pack.................

Around 1963-1964 I was a young man starting my college education in Long Beach, California.  I was a new ham with a Novice class ticket, and I decided to go to the local Federal Communications Commission Office in Long Beach and take my General Class exam.  At the time, the General license required a CW receiving test at 13 words per minute and a written test.  I passed the code and written exam and with the generous permission of my landlord set up an amateur station in my rented apartment with a vertical on the roof.  One of my early contacts was with another young ham named Don who lived in Lakewood, California not far from Long Beach.  Don’s mother and father were both radio amateurs and had  a fancy Collins Radio station in their home. At the time Collins gear was high end equipment and I just had to see it.  Don invited me over for a visit and I was given his QSL card for the “eye ball” QSO.  Don’s amateur radio call sign was WB6BEE.  Don recently became a member of the FOC and I immediately recognized his call sign. Digging around in my boxes of old, dusty, cards I found his QSL with WB6BEE in bold black letters and a photo of a much younger Don in front of his own Heathkit gear. Don now lives in Colorado and I am in Tennessee.  I spotted Don on the FOC RBN and we have since made a couple of very enjoyable QSOs. We are reunited by the FOC after more than 50 years!
161 de John AK4Z 



6222184 Last modified: 2015-07-16 00:24:48, 13182 bytes

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