GREETINGS FROM TENNESSEE!
First, For QSL'ers:
(1) I QSL 100% to all received cards regardless of direct or buro!
(2) Return postage NOT required! I will return ALL cards, domestic or DX, on my dime. A pre-addressed, return envelope ONLY is appreciated, but not required! (My writing isn't what it used to be!)
(3) SWL cards welcomed! Self ADDRESSED envelope only. No stamp (or 'green stamps') necessary!
(4) I do NOT participate in eQSL or LOTW. It's not that I am a "Luddite", but it means something to me to hold a card that I know that was handled by you. Consider it 'the human touch'! If you REALLY can't afford the postage but need a card from Tennessee or one of my local country rides, send me an e-mail with the pertinent info and my card will be on it's way within a working day.
(5) I also manage club calls W4RGT and WB4CHE. Neither of those entities have cards at present, but if you need a card for an award, send a QSL card to me and I will get something back to you! Same rules: No STAMPED envelope needed, however a self-addressed envelope is appreciated.
If you're in the market for QSL printing services, I can wholeheartedly recommend Randy Dorman's, (KB3IFH) outstanding service. I went through several permeations of what I wanted, including a custom backside, and each time Randy responded immediately with a .pdf 'proof'. Not one dime passed hands until I liked what I saw, and then delivery was within days. If only so many other things in our lives were so sure and trouble free!
Next, for our Veterans and Public Service Heros!
There are not enough ways to THANK-YOU for your service, whether it be in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, or my alma mater, the Marine Corps. And that includes all of those of you in the Reserves, National and State Guards. The dangers you are asked to face in order to help us maintain our way of life are tremendous, and I for one am grateful beyond words for each and every one of you. Whether you just served one enlistment and got out, or you rode a "full tour", worked in a "rear eschelon" office Stateside, or patroled some invisible 'line in the sand' overseas or in the Special Forces, thank-you! Our civilian bretheran will never fully appreciate what it is you do for them!
And for our truly un-sung heros, those who ride the "front lines" of Public Service every day right here at home, you are as much deserving of that gratitude as our brothers and sisters in the Armed Forces. You put your own health and welfare second, sometimes even dead last (no pun intended), to the health and welfare of people who often take your service for granted. Regardless of whether you're Law Enforcement, Fire Suppression, or Emergency Medical Services, everytime I hear a siren, I say a prayer, not only for the person to whose aid you're rushing, but for you and your families too. Thank-you for all you do!
On To The Amateur Radio Stuff!
I was first licensed in 1972 as WN8OAH. I have since held callsigns WD4DEV, KA8GRY, KC8M and K4CAP. KC8M and K4CAP have since been reassigned. My Elmer was Mr Gene Roliff, WA8TPO.
When I had a chance to choose a call sign, I wanted something that would both "sing" in CW, and be related to my U.S. Marine Corps service. As it happened, the call K4YZ was available. I served in Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 363 (HMH-363). HMH-363, the "Lucky Red Lions, had a MODEX, or tail code, of "YZ". hence the call! I was going to apply for K4YF as the majority of my heavy helo time was spent in Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 462 (Code: "YF"), but someone else was a split second faster than I was! Oh well! After some investigating, it appears as though K4YZ had never been issued before, so at least as far as I can find out so far, I have a call that's never been used by anyone but me! HMH-363 is now VMM-363, by-the-way, as it has transitioned to the MV-22 OSPREY aircraft. I wish I could have been a part of that!
I am presently the club trustee for two entities: The first is W4RGT the "club" of the Fourth Regiment of the Tennessee State Guard. The STATE Guard, unlike the NATIONAL Guard, is an all volunteer force that cannot be federalized and deployed outside of Tennessee. Our PRIMARY mission is direct support of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, especially with mobile communications units. If you're a Veteran of ANY branch, Honorably discharged or retired and looking to still serve, look us up! Our communications program is directly affiliated with the Army MARS program. We'll also consider "non-priors" (potential volunteers without previous military service) if you are an Amateur and/or MARS licensee/operator. If meaningful public service is a goal of yours, look us up!
The other call I manage is WB4CHE: This is the call sign of the Franklin County(TN) Tinkerers, a loosely formed club in Franklin County, TN, for the purpose of putting up and managing a 222Mhz FM repeater. The call sign was chosen to recognize the primary comunities in the county: Winchester, Belvidere, Cowan, Huntland and Estill Springs. We may change the call to WB4CHS to also include the last community, Suwanee, as the "S" could represent both EStill Springs and Suwanee! Ya can't please everyone! Please note this is Franklin COUNTY, not the city, which is a suburb of Nashville.
I operated from Okinawa, Japan as KA6CM in 1981. During that period of time, a lot of folks forgot the 2 x 2 "KA" calls belonged to the U. S. Armed Forces in Japan and folks thought "KA6" was 'just another Californian' due to the (then new)'Sequerntial Call Sign System' brainchild of the FCC! Japan actually forbade thier Amateurs from working us! I made a lot of unanswered "CQ's" until I started tagging my call "KA6CM/JR6". Then all of a sudden my log book started filling up! That was a blast!
I have held MARS calls NNN0VVU, AFA1OQ and AAT4SA at one time or another, depending on what agency I was associated with at the time. I was the Asst CHOP (Chief Operator) for NNN0MOQ in 1980 and was CHOP for NNN0MOC/MOF in 1981, which by proxy made me assistant for the entire Island. That was some choice duty for 6 months! My USN/USMC activity waned after that tour, but I joined USAF MARS when I was more active in Civil Air Patrol in the mid 80's. Of course the geniuses at CAP declared MARS was "going to be dead in two years" and demanded that anyone associated with it quit. I did, and that was dumb move on my part. It was also one of the reasons I quit CAP. Their leaders are (as politely as I can put it) clueless, and that goes all the way to the top! I held Army call AAT4SA during my first brief association with TNSG in 1999. I am pending re-joining Army MARS now.
The present home station consists of a Yaesu FT840 and FT897D for HF. For VHF/UHF I have a Yaesu FT-7800 that feeds my "Copper Cactus J-Pole" antenna that I built from plans provided by N7QVC. I monitor local EMS/Police/Fire/Air Bandwith an old Radio Shack "Pro-2032". I also have an "EMTECH-40" QRP transceiver kit that is a "work-in-progress". Most of this gear is usually powered through a 24/7 battery/trickle system, but since I am moving toa new QTH across town. It's only 0.8 miles away, but I'll actually have a lot big enough for a 160M dipole and a roof of my very own upon which I can install tripods for V/UHF antennas.
My primary mobile consists of a Yaesu FT 7800. I carry a Yaesu/Vertex VX-150 HT. My XYL's mobile (she's W5AMY, by the way) is a Yaesu/Vertex FT-1802M.
And yes, I have SEVERAL "Yaesu" or "Vertex/Standard" ballcaps on the wall!
By the way, when I built the "Copper Cactus J-Pole", I left it bright copper and clear-coated it that way. I actually get positive compliments from the neighbors! When was the last time an antenna of yours did that.?!?! It's a work of art!
I used to live in a small duplex and that's usually the death knell to any operating activities. However I was lucky to have landlords who said "If we can't see it from the street and if you don't drill holes, we don't care" when I inquired about the possibility of putting up some form of antenna farm. I've whipped up (pardon the pun) a nice little portable HF antenna installation that uses "Ham-Stick"-type whips on a small ground-mounted mast (about 5 foot) that can be raised or lowered by one person in less than a minute. The set-up was featured in the March, 2011 edition of "QST" magazine. Take a look! I am sure the whip will be put into use for a few days at the new QTH until I can round up some hands to assist with the wire stringing effort.
And about my article. I am far-and-away from being a 'professional writer', but being published in QST was a lifetime high for me! And trust me, the article wasn't rocket science nor was it a literary masterpeice. But if I can encourage my fellow Amateurs who have ever had even the slightest glimmer of Walter Mitty bravado about writing, JUST DO IT! Take your little back yard project, solder bench creation, best (or worst!) on-the-air experience, or other Amateur Radio related experience and PUT IT ON PAPER! The folks at the League were TREMENDOUS in offering aid and suggestions, and made this one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences of my life!
I am a credentialed VE under the ARRL, Western Carolina, and W5YI programs. I have been an ARRL VE almost since the beginning of that program.
My favorite Amateur operating is CW, usually on the bottom end of 80, 40, and 30, and SSB on 17 meters. I also enjoy 6 and 2 meter SSB. Additionally, I enjoy foxhunting as it enhances my skills for locating ELT's, or 'Emergency Locator Transmitters'.
And On A Personal Note:
Here I am, all dressed up and ready to fly. In addition to Amateur Radio, I also loved to fly, both as a Private Pilot and Hang Gliding. Powered flying just got too plum expensive and I can't carry the glider to launch any more! I have been involved in volunteer emergency communications, both in Amateur Radio, Emergency Medical Services, and other agencies. (Photo from July 2004. I should look so good today!). An employment-related injury has pretty-much grounded me, these days. If not from the damage done to my back and neck, from the medications I am taking. Thank the universe for Amateur Radio!
I have been married to the former Amy McElroy of Trumann, AR since December of 1990. She is W5AMY.
I have five children, the last two with Amy. Jennifer Lynn (1976) plus two grand kids, Steven Edward (1978 ) plus two grandkids, Ryan Samuel (1983) plus two grandkids, Samantha Brooke (1991)two grand kids andTaelor Paige (1993).
Unfortunately, Taelor Paige succumbed to birth defects only six days shy of her sixth birthday on 16 May 1999. She went to sleep and never woke up. She was, and still is, the light of my life, and the strength and love she showed in her short tenture on this planet gave me a strength to live my life anew.
Daddy loves and misses you, Taelor Paige!
After I left the Marines in 1992, I became a Nurse. My prefered discipline was Emergency and Trauma Nursing as I was also (then) a Paramedic. I was certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, was a Basic Life Support Instructor, and completed Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMS-C) I am a former EMT-Paramedic. I was forced into medical retirement after an unexpected shock bounced me off a wall and dropped me to the floor. My spine now looks like a set of Lego blocks that got smashed with a hammer. I'm entirely too young to feel this old! Amazing what a little voltage and gravity can do to ya!
I was Honorably Discharged from the United States Marine Corps in 1992. I was an Avionics Technician on the CH-53 series helos and the OV-10A and OV-10D Bronco. I attained the grade of Gunnery Sergeant. I served in all four Air Wings at one time or another, albeit my time in the Second MAW was only while undergoing TME/A-School training. During my Armed Forces career I was stationed, at one time or another, at NAS Atlanta, GA, MCAS(H) Tustin, CA, MCAS Futenma Okinawa, NAS Willow Grove, PA, MCAS Beaufort, SC and MCAS Cherry Point, NC in addition to occasional excursions to wherever it was the President of the United States decided it was he needed us at that moment!
I continued to serve my State and Country as a Master Sergeant in the Tennessee State Guard where I served as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the Communications Section of the 4th Tennessee Regiment. I am currently inactive due to the aforementioned injury.
As of July 2011, I am no longer a member of Civil Air Patrol. Although I had been a member, off and on, since 1969. I got tired of seeing tens-of-millions (Yes, I said millions)of our tax dollars being 'invested' into programs that were poorly planned, irresponsibly managed, and wholly incapable of meeting their stated operational purpose. If you're considering membership in the Civil Air Patrol, especially because of its communication program, please e-mail me first. I might save you a lot of money, time and frustration!
On a different note, I have completed my first SciFi action novel! It's inspired by the "re-imagined" TV series 'Battlestar Galactica', however it has nothing to do with that story-line.
I have also written a short story, also based on the same series, called "Ashes On The Face of the Sun" that ties the end of the "re-imagined" series to "near-future" Earth. You can read it (for free!) at www.fanfiction.net.
On 25 February 1999, my friend, mentor, and just coincidentally my Father, died at home. Although not a Ham himself until later in life, (KA8MPB, N8DOS) he encouraged me as I entered Amateur Radio as a teenager. A Signalman in the Navy during the Korean conflict, it was my Dad that taught me the Morse Code. He got his Novice, then General, years later, in order to "follow" me around the world. He was a Korean War combat veteran (USN) and later served with the United States Army Reserve (TAR) as a recruiter in Ohio.
My father was never a rich man, but he loved this Country and he was as proud as any Veteran could be of his service. Even near the end of his life, he'd go out of his way to shake the hand of a fellow Veteran.
Fair Winds and Following Seas, Sailor.I love and miss you, Dad.
And Now, An Original Short Story With A Moral for Amateurs by K4YZ
THE THREE HAMS
THE NEW HAM, "Billy"
The New Ham, Billy, isn't hard to pick out of a crowd. He has a K-something-four ecks-why-zee call sign and is obviously having trouble getting his own call (and everyone else's) correct. He's not too sure of the proper use of phonetics, and you can hear both the confusion and embarrassment get mixed in mixed up with the excitement his voice.
He says things like "…the personal here is" instead of 'handle', "…seventy-thirds" instead of 'seventy three' or uses "over and out" like Broderick Crawford did on episodes of "Highway Patrol". He can frequently be heard on the local repeater, seemingly 'always'. But he's in there trying, and considering the number of other distractions that we have in our 'modern' times, we should appreciate the fact that HE chose to associate with us…That's no small testimony of trust and faith in these times….He's excited about his newfound involvement in this hobby and all there is to learn, and sometimes it's overwhelming.
He doesn't always get everything just right yet, but then he hasn't had the 'years of experience' that OLD HAMS and WISE HAMS have had a chance to, but his time will come.
THE OLD HAM, "Dick"
The Old Ham, Dick, isn't hard to pick out of a crowd either. He's been a Ham since "Way-Back", and by golly he lets everyone know about it. He did everything first or did it better, and by virtue of that, he knows everything. His wall is plastered with QSL cards from DX-peditions long forgotten and certificates for well-known awards that he accumulated over the years. He was once a New Ham, too, but for some reason, he's forgotten what it's like to be one.
The 'Old Ham' likes things 'just the way they are', and anything that interferes with status quo is subject to swift and humiliating retribution, and it's just too bad if anyone's feelings get hurt in the process. Anyone who obtains an Amateur Radio license, according to the 'Old Ham', should know exactly how to be an expert operator from 'day one', otherwise they should stay off the air. The 'Old Ham' has always been an expert, so everyone else should be too. If the 'Old Ham' had his way, the local repeater would stay silent twenty-four/seven, save for the high-speed CW ID'er, rather than pick up mic and talk to the 'New Ham'.
The 'Old Ham' has forgotten that "Do Unto Others As You'd Have Them Do Unto You" applies as equally to Amateurs as it does in any other walk of life, but he could care less. He got his, and that's all that matters.
THE WISE HAM, "Elmer"
The 'Wise Ham' is as easy to pick out in a crowd as the others, but for entirely different reasons. Elmer accumulated all of the experiences of the Old Ham, but he's kept the enthusiasm of the New Ham and tempered it with the mentoring of others, the passage of time, and practical experiences acquired over the years. He realizes that not everyone has had all of his opportunities just yet and knows those opportunities will come in their own time. Elmer also know that the most effective way to simultaneously mentor the New Hams and to gain their respect is to praise in public and correct in private. The 'Wise Ham' is willing, even anxious, to share his knowledge and skills. He stops and says hello to all of the 'New Hams' he encounters, andoccasionally sends out a QSL card to the new guy, even if it's just a local repeater QSO. He can carefully "suggest" to the New Ham some change in his operations or technique that won't burn his own ego with a blow torch and makes Billy come out looking like he's been "at it" for decades.
AND THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS.
It's a lot easier to help a New Ham become a Wise Ham when you try to be more like an Elmer and less like a Dick.
(With sincere apologies to all of those Wise Hams whose first name is 'Richard' and go by the nick-name)
(If you like my story and would like to run it in your local newsletter or web site, please feel free to do so, as long as it is quoted without editing, and my authorship is acknowledged)
Lastly, A Public Service Message For Communicators and Aviators Alike
Subtitled "Yes, YOU Can Help Save A Life WithYOUR Radio!"
Due to changing technologies, the SARSAT, or (S)earch (A)nd (R)escue (SAT)ellite program no longer monitors the civilian aviation distress frequency of 121.5mHz. This means that older aircraft that have not installed the newer 406mHz ELT's, or Emergency Locator Transmitters, and suffer an accident may not have their automatic distress beacon intercepted.
This frequency is also used by older versions of PLB's, (Personal Locator Beacons) and some EPIRB's, (Emergency Position and Identification Reporting Beacons) for maritime use. An activation of one of the older style devices may go unanswered.
PLEASE! If you own a VHF rig or scanner capable of monitoring this frequency, add it in! IF YOU HEAR the distinctive whoop-whoop-whoop of an ELT, please do the following:
(1) Call the nearest Federal Aviation Administration Flight Service Station, FAA Control Tower or United States Coast Guard facility and alert them to your find (Usually in your phone book in the blue pages under "United States Government"). Be prepared to give them your name, a return telephone number and your physical address. (Remember, your QRZ.COM listing has your lattitude and longitude in it.)
Be calm, be polite and don't embellish your report. "Just the facts, Ma'am."
(2) If you don't have an FAA or Coast Guard facility near by or can't find your phone book (who can, these days?), call 9-1-1 and be prepared to tell them the same information. Remember, however, that 9-1-1 operators are not used to getting such calls, so be ready to tell them who you are and what you are hearing, politely and directly. They may want to send a police officer or deputy sheriff to your location to see for themselves. Unfortunately there are those who abuse 9-1-1 with prank calls (off with their heads!). Don't be insulted. This is an excellent opportunity for "good PR" for Amateur Radio.
(3) If you are mobile and can safely stop where you are, do so, then call 9-1-1 as suggested above. But no matter what, DO NOT COMPROMISE YOUR SAFETY! Again, be ready to tell them who you are, what you're hearing and provide a location as exact as you can. No more, no less.
(4) If all else fails, get on the local repeater and call for help. Again, provide the information above. Until determined otherwise by an appropriate SAR or Law Enforcement agency to the contrary, this is a bonafide emergency.
REMEMBER!: That "whoop-whoop-whoop" is the electronic version of "Mayday" or "SOS"! Please DO assume that someone's life is in danger until the professional SAR or Law Enforcement agencies have determined otherwise!
(5) DO NOT try to locate the signal yourself! Leave that to the professional SAR and community rescue teams. Unfortunately, these beacons are occasionally used by narcotics and weapons smugglers to locate their loads. Your altruistic desire to help might result in harm to you! If the local sheriff or rescue team asks for your assistance, that's one thing, but the quickest way to give Amateur Radio a black eye (or get yourself hurt!) is to show up un-announced, un-invited,or un-prepared!
(6) Offer to help ONLY IF YOU ARE PHYSICALLY ABLE AND have the skills to back it up! But do not be offended if you are rebuffed. Many agencies are wary of liability issues. It's not personal!
If you managed to stay with me all the way to this point, THANK-YOU, and I hope we can share a few moments on the air!
Last modified: 2014-01-02 11:48:38, 38550 bytes
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