SPECIAL EVENT STATION "W4S"
12 DECEMBER 2014
I operated Special Event Call Sign W4S on 12 December 2014 to commemorate the first
trans-Atlantic spark transmission by Marconi on 12 December 1901.
Please note that I will only be able to fill QSL requests for contacts made with W4S ON THIS DATE! I am not affiliated with any other previous or planned user of this call sign!
DOMESTIC QSO'S: SASE to K4YZ CBA
DX/FOREIGN: SAE with $2 to K4YZ or Buro via K4YZ
Sorry, Although I am a supporter of IRC's the Post Office isn't (go figure).
SWL: Welcomed, but must list THREE consecutive call signs heard to qualify.
NO LOTW~~NO EQSL~~NO LOTW~~NO EQSL~~NO LOTW~~NO EQSL~~NO LOTW
GREETINGS FROM TENNESSEE!
First, For QSL'ers:
(1) I QSL 100% to all received cards regardless of direct or buro!
(2) Up until recently, I've had a "No SASE Required" policy. Unfortunately, I've recently had to go on medical disability, and the fixed income circumstances really bites. So effective immediately (29 March 2014), I would respectfully request an SASE for a domestic return. However I never refuse a QSL card request. But if your QSL card reflects service in the Armed Forces (Active or Veteran), civil Public Service in Fire Suppression, Law Enforcement, Emergency Medical Services or Rescue, the "no SASE" offer stands. You have my back, it's the least I can do for you!
(4) Foreign QSL request need only include 1.00USD or 1.00 EURO for a return card. It's actually slightly more than that from the US to overseas, but I will make up the $.20! If I can't afford 20 cents, I am REALLY in trouble! Two greenbacks for a Stateside-to-foreign destination QSL is really unnecessary except for the QSL managers or Special Event stations, for which that $.20 would add up in a hurry!
(5) I DO participate in the bureau (buro) program. Of course you know it's slow, but it's a heck of a lot cheaper to get those cards passed around. �I have envelopes on-file with the single-letter prefix "4-land" buro. Please remember that the 4th United States call district is divided into TWO bureaus. The correct one is:
W4 K4 N4 QSL Bureau, PMB#305
United States of America
(6) For those of you on the few "Worked All States Nets" that I have participated in and told you "No SASE Required", I will Honor that offer until all my present outstanding cards are cleared. �After that, I will need to ask for an SASE.
(7) SWL cards welcomed! SASE for domestic cards same as above. Please make sure the card not only has my information on it, but the call sign of the station I was working at the time. DX SWL's, same as above also. If the bureau is OK, I will send it that way. Otherwise please enclose $1.00USD or 1 Euro (I don't know how to make the new "Euro" character...Sorry!)
(8) 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'!
(9) Lastly, I am sorry that circumstances have put me in this situation. It was an Honor to be able to say "I'll do it on my dime..." Such are the times we live in.
This is a non-compensated, volunteered testimonial:
And speaking of QSL's, if you're in the market for QSL printing services, I can wholeheartedly recommend Randy (KB3IFH) Dorman's, outstanding service. I went through several permeations of what I wanted for several different projects, including a custom backside, and each time Randy responded within hours 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 or the Force Auxiliaries. 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 rode a "full tour", worked in a "rear eschelon" office Stateside, or patroled some invisible 'line in the sand' overseas, thank-you! Our civilian bretheran will never fully appreciate what it is you do for them!
I also have a very special thanks for a very special Serviceperson. Specialist Samantha Wiseman of the Tennessee Army National Guard. Specialist Wiseman is also my daughter! Remember, Baby, the most important four-letter word in any Serviceman's vocabulary is "DUCK!" I am proud of you, Samantha Brooke, beyond words or deeds. I love you, Baby!
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!
And Now, 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!
Now, On To The Amateur Radio Stuff!
K4YZ operating position as of 14 July 2014
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 the former club trustee for W4RGT the "club" of the Fourth Regiment of the Tennessee State Guard. That position is now held by Major Richard Knox of Athens, TN, however I still use the call occassionally to keep it active. I also still handle any QSL'ing obligations for the Regiment. 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! I will still be handling QSL requests for this entity.
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. Please note this is Franklin COUNTY, not the CITY of Franklin, 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 (except KA1) belonged to the U. S. Armed Forces in Japan and folks thought "KA6" was 'just another Californian' due to the (then new)'Sequential Call Sign System' brainchild of the FCC! Japan actually forbade thier Amateurs from working us since our calls were issued by the 15th Air Force, not the FCC. 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, AAR4IK 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 (non)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.
The present home station consists of a Yaesu FT897D for HF. It feeds a trap dipole for 80/40 meters and is about 40 feet high at it's center. An MFJ-969 roller inductor tuner allows me to go almost everywhere else I care to go on HF, although tuning up on 60 meters is a bit testy.
For VHF/UHF I have a Yaesu FT-7800 that feeds a Cushcraft Ringo Ranger collinear base station antenna at 20 feet high. 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" and will probably remain that way since EMTECH is no longer in business and the kit's missing parts from our move to this QTH. Most of this gear is usually powered through a 24/7 battery/trickle system to maintain emergency power loss sustainability.
I carry a Yaesu/Vertex VX-150 HT for 2 meters but no dual-band coverage (HT) at present. My XYL's mobile (she's W5AMY) is a Yaesu/Vertex FT-1802M.
And yes, I have SEVERAL "Yaesu" or "Vertex/Standard" ballcaps on the wall!
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' 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 an article I wrote on page 37 of the March, 2011 edition of "QST" magazine. Take a look!
I also have an MFJ "Manual Screwdriver" resonator that theoretically should cover 40-6 meters, but so far, the Ham-Stik whips work better in this configuration. More to follow on that.
Note the orange safety flags on the ground radials/guy wires. When I lived in the duplex I had a neighbor 3 or 4 doors up who would regularly cut across the back yards to go out a side alley rather than back around his other non-drivable junkers. He ran over my guys more than once.
And about my QST article. I am a long way from being a 'professional writer', but being published in QST was a lifetime high for me! 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'. You can occasionally find me on the Tennessee SSB Net at 3980 KHz.
My recent addition to the Medically Retired rolls, however, has found me on other bands and "Chasing Paper" since I am more-or-less housebound at the moment. I do hope to try some V/UHF Roving at some point in time, health and an available driver permitting.
And On A Personal Note:
Photo from 2004. I should look that good today!
But here I am, all dressed up and ready to fly. In addition to Amateur Radio, I also loved flying, both as a Private Pilot and Hang Gliding. But powered flying just got too plum expensive (almost $100/hr in some places!) and I can't carry the glider to the launch ramp any more! Looks like I'm relegated to reading my copies of "Sport Aviation" from the Experimental Aircraft Association from now on.
I have been involved in volunteer emergency communications, both in Amateur Radio, Emergency Medical Services, and other agencies. The 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 and Taelor Paige (1993).
Unfortunately, Taelor Paige succumbed to birth defects only six days shy of her sixth birthday. 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 Shock/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 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 retired 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 even though 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 was�inspired by the "re-imagined" TV series 'Battlestar Galactica', however it has nothing to do with that story-line. It is titled "Shadows of Futures Past".
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 them (for free!) at www.fanfiction.net, at least until I find a commercial publisher! In the serarch block just select "author" and type in "Steven Robeson" and it will lead you to my stories.
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 with the excitement in his (or her, as the case may be) voice as he exercises his new priviliges.
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 and lets everyone know that, too. His wall is plastered with faded QSL cards from DX-peditions long forgotten and certificates for well-known awards that he accumulated over the years, but he'll be danged if he'll pass on any words of encouragement or tips to "The New Ham" on how to get his own. 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 the 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 knows 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, NOT on the local repeater during the afternoon "crush". 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, and occasionally 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 the New Ham's 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)
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!
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