I was first licensed in 1960 as a Novice with the call of WV6IPY, and passed my General the same year, receiving the call of WA6IPY. At the time, I was living on top of Mt Soladad in La Jolla (San Diego) California, and a 15 year old Sophomore at La Jolla High School. My rig was a Heathkit DX100 TX, a Hallicrafters HQ-170 RX, and a Mosley TA33jr 3el tribander at 25 ft. I shared this rig with my brother Larry, N6AR (then WA6EPQ). My radio time was limited as I was on the High School football and track teams, and also in youth hostels.a young person bicycle group that did 50-80 miles each weekend on lightweight 20 gear bikes.
In 1962, we moved to Palos Verdes Estates (Los Angeles) California to a home on the Pacific Ocean side , and much lower down the hill than the hilltop location of W6AM and his rhombics. Our station improved with a Heathkit Apache TX, Collins 75S1 RX and a 5 el homebrew 20 meter beam on a 50ft boom. I also built a KW amplifier using 4 811a's and a power supply using mercury vapor rectifier tubes that lit up the shack in a purple glow!! While the amp never got more than 400 watts out, it was beneficial, but the parasitics on 10 meters were so bad.I never could get it to work on that band. Unfortunately, the same hill that benefited W6AM completely blocked short path Europe and Africa for Larry and me, but long path was fantastic, and that hill added 6db to our 5el 20, so we could hear and work many stations the big guns in the Southern Calif DX Club could not. One morning, I heard and called YK1AK, Talha on 14005, who came back and gave me a 579. Talha was running a 6AQ5, 5 Watts to a dipole, and he was 579 as well. I still have that QSL!!
While at this location, Don Wallace, W6AM, allowed my brother and I to operate at his Rhombic farm.just at the top of the hill in the CQWW contests. We were really impressed with the rhombics on 20 thru 160 meters. However, 10 and 15 meters were marginal. But what an improvement from our location going short path toEurope and Africa. Larry and I also operated at Dale Hoppe, W6VSS's Fallbrook California Avacado Ranch. It was amazing what you can hear ona full size 5 element 40 meter beam on a 100ft boom (Dale used aluminium tower sections for the boom) !!! The JA's came in at 3 in the afternoon 599!! His other antenna's were equally as impressive, and the one chance my brother and I got to operate CQWWCW from there was a unique experience, in more ways than you might think!!
In 1967, with the Viet Nam war going full tilt, I joined the US Marine Corp, and was out of radio for a long stretch, not getting back to radio until 1978. After an Honorable Discharge as a Sergeant in 1972, I then went through college, first a UCLA in Los Angles, and because they moved undergraduate business to Berkley, finishing up at California State University in Northridge California as an Accountant, then passing my CPA to become a Certified Public Accountant. Shortly after, I got married and we moved to Lake Forest Illinois where my Daughter Kimberly was born. I also upgraded to Advanced Class as KA9CNH, and then to Extra as AI9J. Antenna's improved with 4el KLM 40, 6el KLM 20, 5el KLM 15 and 7el KLM 10. My 80 meter antenna was my first home made 4 square 4 vertical array, and 160 was a shunt fed tower.all on 1 acre of land. The rig then was a TS-820 and Alpha amplifier.
In 1982, my wife and I moved to Alpharetta Georgia on 5 acres where my son Tommy was born. For the next 5 years, I worked on building a competitive station. The main tower was a 120ft Rohn 45 with stacked 4 el 20 meter 45FT boom homebrew (modeled), one at 130ft, one at 70ft. At 120 ft I had a modeled/homebrew full size 3 el 40, and at 140ft I had a 80 meter rotatable dipole and 3- 160 meter slopers. On a second tower of 90ft Rohn 25 Tower, I had stacked KT34XA's, on a third tower of 70ft Crank-up, I had a 7el 15 meter 45ft boom and 8 el 10 meter 45 foot boom homebrew (modeled) antennas. This Tower was Shunt-Fed for 160 meters. On a 4th Tower of HDBX with 2 additional 8 ft base sections, bringing it to 70ft. I had a 4el 17 meter and a 5el 12 meter homebrew (modeled) antennas. On 80 meters, I had a full size 4-square using a Comtek box.
During the 80's and 90's, I operated many contests, getting into the top 10 for the US Single-Op in the CQWW, CQWPX and ARRL DX contests. My favorite contest was the Scandinavian, both CW and SSB which I won for North America many times.
With all that hardware in Georgia.and my trusty Alpha77, I still could not seem to win a major contest.so I started venturing to the Caribbean, first as PJ0J in ST. Maarten with Mike K4PI and Bob, W3BTX, and then as P40I/P49I/P40T with Mike and Bob as Multi-Single and finally with my own call, P40J, all at Juan's 5 acre estate, P43AS in Aruba. And finally, in 1994, I won the ARRL Phone Contest Single-op for the World. The week before, I won the CQ 160 Phone for the World. During my years as P40J, I won the 20 meter and 40 meter mono-band Single-op World several times. The rig I always used in Aruba was my TS-850 and a Titan 425 amp.which always had problems.so thatI hadto bring 3-4 of the circuit boards and a bag of partswith me as spares to keep it running. The antenna's: a KT-34XA I built from spare parts which I put on a 70ft rohn 25 tower shunt fed for 160 meters, a shortened 40 meter dipole using linear loading, and a 3 band 12-17-30 dipole which I created from the linear loading ground plane that KLM sold, and an 80 meter dipole hanging off the top of the tower. Later, on 40 meters, we used a 4square with the Comtek box.
But as is typical for many of us, at the pinnacle of our success, everything falls apart, and it certainly did for me. First, my wife of 23 years divorced me, which with child support, made it impossible to continue at my Alpharetta Georgia location. The following year Juan, P43AS passed away and this eliminated my P40J location, and, finally, I lost my job.
So, with 10% of my equipment, I moved to Florida, to Ana Maria Island, to Lakeland, to Bradenton.and finally to North Port Florida.where things stabilized for 5 years. I put up a 120ft rohn 45 with a 4el steppir, and 4-squares on 40 and 80 meters, and did well, but was spending most of my time with Kathy, who is the other person in the picture above which was taken in V4, St Kitts.
After being offered a great job in Raleigh NC in 2007, I moved to Wake Forest so my son Tommy could enjoy High School, but bought 10.5 acres in Rougemont, about 40 miles north, at the top of Red Mountain, 600ft high . Kathy and I designed my current house in Rougemont but although she saw the foundation built, she passed away from cancer 6 months before the house was completed. With very mixed emotions, I moved into that house in 2010.
Currently, I have a 2el Steppir on 70ft of Rohn25, which is Shunt Fed on 160, a 4-square on 40 and 80, and a 30 meter vertical. The rig is a FT2000 and Alpha 1500.
My dream was to re-assemble a competitive station like I had in Georgia, but without Kathy, my incentive has waned. While 1,000 feet of Rohn 55, 45 and 25 lay on the ground, 1,000 feet of aluminum tubing sits in the basement, as does 2- 4el steppirs, and a full size steppir 40-6 dipole, 50,000 feet of radial wire, 2,000 feet of Heliax and coax, and 2 -7el M2 6 meter antennas.
With the housing market collapse in the US, I have 3 homes, the one in North Port Florida, one in Wake Forest NC and the one I am living in in Rougemont, none of which are saleable close to the amount of the loans. I retired in June at age 68, so what will transpire from here is uncertain. But my health is great as is my faith in Jesus, so who is to say
TO BE CONTINUED!!!!
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