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K1HTV - Rich Zwirko - Continuously active since 1958 running 100 Watts or less on the HF bands with all DXCC entities confirmed except No. Korea and over 300 countries confirmed on all 7 bands between 40 and 10 meters.

1958 At age 16, passed Novice exam, received callsign KN1HTV. Began chasing DX as a novice with 50W from a Heathkit DX20 and a dipole in New Haven, CT. Heard the first Russian Sputnik satellite on 20 MHz and got the satellite bug!

1958 - KN1HTV bedroom shack


















1959 Replaced the ARC5 and Ocean Hopper regenerative receivers with a Hammarlund HQ110. Added a VFO to the DX20 transmitter and I was on my way to becoming a serious DXer. With my new General Class license I could operate phone on HF for the first time. A crystal microphone fed the audio section of a broadcast receiver which was used to screen modulate my DX20. I was lucky to get 10 Watts output to feed the 8 ft vertical that my dad had installed on the roof. Back then we had lots of sunspots and great propagation on 10 Meters. I managed to work all continents but Asia on 10 Meter AM with that setup. It sure was fun back then. Here is what the 1959 shack looked like.

1959 K1HTV shack
























1960 - Passed FCC 1st Class Radio telephone license exam.

1960 - At age 18, started 48 year career in broadcasting at WELI (5 kw) in New Haven, CT as a broadcast engineer.

1961 - Passed Amateur Extra license exam while at the New England ARRL convention at Swampscott,MA.

1963 - Married (and still married to) Phyllis, KN1WSN (now K1WSN).

1963 - Started working at 50 KW station WTIC-AM-FM-TV3 in Hartford as broadcast Engineer, working at 'TIC until 1980.

1964 - Son Andy born (ex-WB1ALW, ex-KA1GD, now K1RA, married to KZ1AMY)

1965 - Daughter Christina born (now N3JMR).

1965 - Purchased first house in Thompsonville, CT. Worked 36 states on 144 MHz, many of them via meteor scatter.

1960's & '70's - Was a member of CWA (Connecticut Wireless Association). It was great associating with the likes of many old timers like W1BDI, W1TX, W1BIH, W1FTX, W1NJM, W1EOB (N4XR), W1JYH (W1AX) as well as newbies (at the time) like W1BGD (W1RM), W1DGL (W1XX), W1ECH and W1WEF. Have lots of memories participating in the ARRL Field Day events with the CWA gang and guest ops K1ANV (W3ZZ), W1FJJ (W1FJ) and W1NJL (K1VR).

1972 - Moved to Meriden, CT. Tried 2 Meter moonbounce (EME) with an 80 el. collinear antenna and 500 Watts. Ran skeds with K6MYC, VK3ATN & Sam Harris (W1FZJ/KP4). Signals were heard both ways, but never completed any 2-way EME contacts with them. A few years later, I worked WA6LET on 144 MHz via the moon using a single yagi. In the 70's was a control operator for AMSAT-OSCAR-5 satellite at the Talcott Mountain Science Center in Avon, CT. Worked 36 states (again) on 144 MHz from the new Meriden QTH.

1974-1984 - AMSAT Vice President of Operations and member of the AMSAT board of directors.

1980 - Moved from Connecticut to Maryland to work at the Voice of America in Washington,DC, retiring in 2008.

1982 - Involved in Beta test of the TAPR Packet Radio TNC. With W3IWI (now K3IO), made one of the first Packet radio repeater contacts with other Packet Radio pioneers in the Washington, DC area.. In 1985, was instrumental in persuading the west coast inventors of NETROM packet node software to allow for it's installation in the first East Coast node (UMD) at the University of MD, with a KU-band wormhole Packet Radio link to California. In the 1980's was sysop for numerous NETROM packet nodes in the Mid-Atlantic states. Created and distributed maps of the radio packet node network links throughout the USA. Started chasing HF DX seriously again in the 1990's, always with 100W or less.

1994 - Joined the PVRC (Potomac Valley Radio Club) and have won multiple Atlantic Division and Maryland/DC section awards running low power in the annual ARRL Sweepstakes as well as section awards in a number of other ARRL & CQ 160 Meter contests. I've been in the 6 Meter chair at multi-op K8GP June and Sept. VHF contests since '94. For almost 20 years, operated at the 160M position at multi-multi superstation W3LPL in ARRL & CQ DX contests.

2008 - In December, I retired from the Voice of America as senior VOA Technical Support Telecommunications Manager. Wife Phyllis (K1WSN) and I moved from our old Glenn Dale, MD QTH to our new home in Amissville, VA to be closer to son Andy (K1RA) his wife Amy (KZ1AMY) and granddaughter Anna, no call yet :-).

2009 - Received a fully loaded Elecraft K3 tranceiver from XYL Phyllis (K1WSN). I'm really enjoying retirement with this great radio.

2014 - In the first 5 years at our new VA QTH I have worked 301 DXCC countries, all with 100 Watts or less, the first 265 of them with only wire antennas. I'm now using a small 3 elment triband yagi at 77 ft for 10, 15 & 20 Meters.

K1HTV Ham Radio Firsts

1st USA to FP8 (St. Pierre I.) on 144 MHz - July 6,1971

1st USA to YU (Yugoslavia) via satellite via AMSAT-OSCAR 6

2nd ever satellite QSO between U.S.A and Africa (CN8). W1NU was first by a few minutes.

1st New England station to earn Satellite WAS (Worked all States) award

1st New England station to earn Satellite WAC (Worked all Continents) award. Used transponders in the low earth orbiting AMSAT-OSCARs 6 & 7 and the Russian 'RS satellites to do so.

1st U.S.A. to VP9 (Bermuda) on 144 MHz - Sept. 1976, W1NU/VP9 via tropo.

1st 144 MHz Packet Radio meteor scatter QSO - August 1984 with W0RPK.

1st U.S.A. to ZC4 (Cyprus) on 50 MHz - Nov 26, 1989.

1st U.S.A. to EA9 (Ceuta) on 50 MHz - July 18, 1993


K1HTV DXCC  (DX Century Club Award) - All HF QSOs made running low power (100 Watts)

10 Band DXCC - Have confirmed contacts with more than 100 countries on all bands from 160 Meters through 6 Meters

Confirmed 339 of the 340 current DXCC entities (Still need North Korea)

Confirmed/Worked (includes deleted entities)

Mixed DXCC - 362/362

SSB - 354/357

CW - 349/352

Digital - 289/299   (Running 80 Watts on RTTY and 50W on PSK31 and JT65)

160M = 224/224

80M = 263/267

40M = 304/310

30M = 300/304

20M = 358/358

17M = 320/334

15M = 347/350

12M = 309/318

10M = 334/340

6M = 155/155 (first 154 made with 200 Watts or less. Now running a solid state KW & 7el LFA yagi on 50 MHz.

Running low power on HF, have confirmed 362 DXCC entities (includes deleted), the latest one was ST0R in South Sudan on CW, SSB & RTTY. The only DXCC entity not yet worked is P5 (No. Korea). The closest I got to working North Korea was a contact made with P5RS7. The QSO was made while running only QRP 5 Watts on 15M SSB. It turned out to be a bogus operation by Romeo Stepanenko 3W3RR, operating outside the No. Korean border. Around 4 years after receiving the QSL card for my contact with P5RS7, the ARRL disqualified Romeo from the DXCC program under the ethics clause. QSL cards for his operation from North Korea were never approved.

160 Meters - (100 Watts) - Presently using a 75 ft shunt fed, house bracketed tower or Inverted-L antennas.

224 countries & 33 CQ Zones confirmed .

Some of the latest 160M DXCC countries worked include :

#215=FK8CP (New Caledonia), #216=PJ6A (Saba), #217=PJ2T (Curacao), #218=PJ7E (St. Maarten), #219=KH2/N2NL (Guam), #220=PJ4LS (Bonaire), #221=ZL8X (Kermadec Island), #222=VP8ORK (So. Orkney), #223=HK0NA(Malpelo CW&SSB). 160M country #224 was A45XR.

Confirming 30 of the 40 worldwide zones are required for the 160 Meter WAZ award. I received 160 Meter WAZ award # 356 for working 32 of the 40 CQ zones. Guam was K1HTV zone #33 on the Topband with 100 Watts.

K1JTV 160 Meter WAZ Award












160 Meters - QRP (5 Watts or less)

86 countries on all 6 continents have been worked on 160M while runing QRP.

Here are pictures of QSL cards confirming K1HTV 160 Meter QRP contacts with all 6 continents.

North America (Alaska)

NA - KL7Y (QSL front)






South America (Shetland Islands)

HF0POL (QSL front)






HF0POL (QSL back)






Europe (Russia)

RW6BQ (QSL front)






Africa (Namibia)

V5/ZS6YG (QSL front)






Asia (Israel)

4X4NJ (QSL front)

Oceania (Australia)

VK6HD (QSL front)






5 Watt QRP DX country #84 was TX3D operating from the Austral Islands and #85 was PJ2/K8ND on Curacao, #86 was PJ4C on Bonaire . My best 160M QRP DX to the south (and first ever QRP DX QSO) was with HF0POL on the South Shetland islands in the Antarctic. Best to the west was VK6HD in western Australia (worked twice). Best QRP DX to east was 4X4NJ in Israel, twice with 5 Watts and once with 1 Watt and V5/ZS6YG in Namibia, worked with 5 Watts.

IOTA (Islands on the Air)

Have worked 1011 IOTAs with 1001 islands confirmed.

6 Meters

155 countries have been worked and confirmed on 50 MHz. The latest DXCC entity worked on 6M was FK8CP in New Caledonia on Oct 22, 2014.

Here are QSLs for the K1HTV 6 Meter WAC (Worked All Continents) Award:

No. America







So. America















ZS9A-- 6M




















Received 6 Meter WAS (Worked All States) Award #1003

The latest DX countries confirmed on 6 Meters include E7DX (Bosnia/Herzegovina),  HA3UU (Hungary) and FK8CP (New Caledonia).

Received 50 MHz WAZ award #99 with 29 CQ zones confirmed (25 needed for 6M WAZ).












50 MHz VUCC Award

Received 50 MHz VUCC Award #1734 from the ARRL. My 6 Meter total now stands at over 950 grids worked and 913 confirmed.

On 6 Meters I now use the Elecraft K3 transceiver to drive a solid state KW amplifier. The 6M antenna has been upgraded to a 7 element LFA yagi on a 32 foot boom at a height of 77 feet. The old temporary six element yagi which had been on the back porch at 20 feet for 3 years has been removed and will eventually be put on the tower fixed on Europe for E-skip season.

My latest venture in Ham Radio has been with some of the weak signal digital modes developed by Joe Taylor, K1JT, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics "for the discovery of a new type of pulsar, a discovery that has opened up new possibilities for the study of gravitation".  Joe has applied his knowledge of writing software used to detect the very weak pulsar emissions to Amateur Radio. Thousands of Hams around the world are now using his WSJT (Weak Signal JT), JT65 and WSPR software to propagate and detect radio signals via the ionosphere as well as via EME (Earth-Moon-Earth) without the need for high power and huge antennas. 

I'm still having lots of fun in HamRadio after 56 years of operating.

73, Rich - K1HTV

1531851 Last modified: 2014-12-19 03:36:45, 18490 bytes

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