I have been very blessed and I am thankful. We didn't have much growing up, but we never realized it as children. I had great parents who knew how to raise their children with love. I am also blessed to have an absolutely wonderful wife.
Amateur radio was a major influence early in my life. It shaped who I became and how I applied myself during life. It is amazing how a hobby can shape a person's life.
I obtained my novice license in 1976, at the age of 15. Obtaining my novice license showed me that I could do anything if I tried! I remember when it came in the mail. I was SO excited. The first thing my father said when I opened it and saw my new call sign was "WN8AFB .. Air Force Base. That's a good call." The irony of this is that I am now an airline pilot. I have been a pilot for many years, and have flown all over the world. In the early '90s I flew for Sabena World Airways out of Brussels Belgium while I lived in Antwerp. It was a great experience living and flying in Europe for a couple years.
Here are some pictures of my beautiful YL and I. We enjoy traveling.
Do you remember the 1976 Bicentennial year? My first award was for working / confirming the original 13 states during the Bicentennial year, using a Heathkit HW-16 and various antennas. This award was offered by the Kearny, N.J. Amateur Radio Club.
I have always enjoyed working the low bands.The first beam I was able to use was a monoband 4 element yagi on 10 meters. I saved my money to get that beam. It was very exciting. My brother Eric & our friends helped hoist it up into the top of a plum tree. That was back during the big sun spot cycle and 10M was wide open. I was very active on 10M then and got a lot of 10M awards. I have posted some of them at the bottom of this page. Does anyone remember these 10-10 Chapters?
Like everyone else, life has given me some distractions from amateur radio. I was inactive for 24 years. In 2007 I became active on VHF/UHF with Dstar. In 2009 I got back onto the lowbands. My current shack is pictured below. I have furnished it with an Icom 7600 and some classics from Heathkit. We had an HW-101 back in the 70's & 80's, so I bought another one in great shape on Ebay. I built the HR-1680 receiver in 1979 for a high school project. I never knew Heath had a matching transmitter for the HR-1680 until my brother Eric (WD8KNL) & I saw one at the Orlando hamfest in 2009. I picked this one up on Ebay and restored it. They are a fun pair to work CW with.
I love the smell of TUBES! It makes me feel like a kid again. :-)
I absolutely love working CW with my Vibroplex key and bugs. I am active with the SKCC & FISTS organizations.
I really enjoy using my 1962 Vibroplex Champion bug. I also have a 1920 Vibroplex Original bug, but I don't use it much.
My current HF equipment is:
Heathkit HW-101 -w- Shure Bros. 444 mic
Heathkit HR-1680 Rcvr & HX-1681 Xmiter
Heathkit SB-200 Amp
Heathkit HW-8, about 1 w. output
I really enjoy the old Heathkit equipment. I have a collection of many old Heathkit Catalogs. I am in the process of scanning and posting them on my website. To view them, go to www.WD8AFB.com
My 2 Antennas:
The Home Owners Association will not allow me to put up a tower or visible antennas. Therefore my 2 antennas are hidden in the woods behind my house. I buried 130' of 2 inch conduit from my house into the woods. I have 160' of LMR-400 feeding my antennas through a remote antenna switch.
1. I have a 40M Extended Double Zepp (176 ft dipole feed with 450 ohm ladderline) up 65 feet in the thin pine trees. I feed this with a DXEngineering 10 kw 1:1 current balun and use an MFJ 1kw remote tuner for multi band operation. The trees sway a lot with the wind. I use a weight and pulley system on it with two bricks to keep the correct tension on it.
UPDATE: August 29, 2014 - I discovered that my MFJ-998rt remote tuner had failed. It somehow became saturated with water and was destroyed. I sent it back to MFJ and they shipped me a new one in a matter of a few days. Thank you MFJ! I now have the new MFJ-998rt enclosed in a big plastic storage bin that has been caulked to keep all moisture out of it. Hopefully the double waterproof enclosure will protect this tuner. I have switched to a DX Engineering 4:1 10KW balun. Now I am able to tune all bands. Before I could not get 15m to tune with the 1:1 current balun.
2. My other antenna is a Hustler 6BTV vertical with a DX Engineering current balun and tilt base. It has eight 30ft radials spread through the palmettos. It is right next to a big pond and the ground has good conductivty. It works very well on 40m & 30m.
SKCC # 7196T
FISTS # 15361 CC# 2125
10-10 # 16130
QCWA # 34700
EPC # 20379
DMC # 06124
BDM # 3474
NDG # 1344
30MDG # 6271
BARTG # 8981
CDG # 1062
PSE QSL: Direct, LoTW, eQSL(AG) or via the Bureau
I reply to ALL QSLs rcvd. No SASE needed.
My last mailing to outgoing QSL Bureau 600+ QSLs --July 11, 2014
Back in the late 70's I started collecting many different 10X chapter awards. Here are some of them.
Globe added 5 July 2014