FLASH: Call Sign changed from WA6PZK to W6DAS on 12/16/2011
After holding the call sign WA6PZK for 34 years, I decided it was time for a change. Never having been a real believer in the "vanity" call sign system, I changed my thinking on the subject after having the call busted just a few too many times during the recent CQWW CW contest. I thought about doing this for many years, but resisted due to sentimental reasons perhaps as I had held the old call when the XYL and I got married. Perhaps due to her Polish ancestry, the call reminded her of thePolski Związek Krótkofalowców. The problem was that it was a bit of a tongue twister on phone, and on CW ended with a prosign. I decided to go with my initials - DAS, which seemed to roll off both the tongue and the key a lot easier.
First Licensed as a novice in 1976 as WN6PZK, I have been more or less active since then. My interests in amateur radio have been quite "eclectic", covering wide aspects of the hobby from homebrewing, DX, contesting, net operation, public service, ragchewing, club activities, instructing, VE test administration, QRP, QRO, CW, phone, digital, etc. You name it!
The one thing that really galvanizes things for me is my Sweetie, (my XYL since 1980), Adrienne WA6YEO.
W6DAS and WA6YEO Operating 2011 CQP, Lockwood Valley, CA (K6WLC Contest Station)
Adrienne is an extra class operator, and an extra special person. She's been a Volunteer Examiner since the inception of the program in 1984, and will be taking over the Greater Los Angeles Amateur Radio Group, (GLAARG), VEC in early 2012. Getting people started in amateur radio has always been her forte'. In addition, she's worked closely with me doing contests, campouts, ham classes, and even emergency communications. Having an XYL like this makes amateur radio extra fun and extra special! She's got a sister, Margie KG6TBR who's the president of the Antelope Valley ARC, as well as being a DX'er and contester.
The W6DAS / WA6YEO station:
Elecraft K3, P3, Drake L7, MN2700 primary HF Station
IC-706, Kenwood TR-51A on VHF/UHF all modes. IC-706 backup HF rig
Heil GM-5, ProSet Plus, Kenwood MC-60 handle the audio chores
Bencher paddle and J-38 makin' & breakin' CW
PC running Win-EQF, N1MM Logger, MixW, HRD, FLDigi and numerous other programs
Fanless 12-V PC running Ubuntu 4.10 serving as an RMS Gateway, W6DAS-10 on 145.63 MHz
TriEx HD-354. We keep it partly lowered because the wind blows like crazy here. Full up for DX and contesting.
Mosley PRO-67C handles 40 - 10 meters
Cushcraft 14 element VHF, M2 2m-12
7-el 450 MHz M2
3 element M2 6M beam, (down at this time)
Inverted VEE's for 75/80 and MARS
Yup, that's snow. And this is Southern California.
Pack Radio slide show:
My philosophy regarding amateur radio:
This is an all-encompassing hobby that can accomodate numerous interests. There will be a day when I can set up on a ridge in the White Mountains between California and Nevada and operate CW using 200 mW from a RockMite, a 10" X 10" solar panel, and an inverted Vee hanging off a painter's extension pole that doubled as a walking stick. What's cool about this is that this rig actually uses no battery, and that in full sun I have worked stations on the East Coast. I use an electrolytic cap and a 9v 3-terminal regulator in lieu of the battery, so if I pull the rig out of my go-kit even in 10 years hence, it will most likely still work.
When I was a kid, I used to take the old 5-tube receivers apart to see what made them tick. I remember unwinding the coils and transformers just to see how much wire was really in there. I wish I still had some of the parts that I destroyed! Now I like to put stuff together just to see what it can do.
There are other times I like to get out and be LOUD. I thank Ron Hammel, K6WLC, for all the good times I spent up at his ranch, a.k.a. "Aluminum Acres" to operate high-power and wide-spaced monobanders, and four-square arrays on the low bands. It's cool to be answered on the first call, or to draw a pileup during a contest. At least some of the time. I've had my humble beginnings, and remember operating as a novice in the 70's on CW from an apartment complex in Sherman Oaks, CA from what the landlord "thought" was a couple guy wires on a CB antenna which I was allowed to keep but never modify. (At least so he assumed!)
Both WA6YEO and myself are active in EMCOMM activities, both ARES and USAF MARS. I am in the process of upgrading the station to emergency power as soon as we can get some solar panels up, (and can afford them). My MARS call is AFA9LV, Adrienne's is AFA9LW. We've worked Red Cross during the 1994 Northridge earthquake, plus other fire and flood related incidents in the LA area. I try to keep my skills sharp by participating in planned public service events like car rallies, Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay, and the local MS Walk events. We are both CERT members.
Getting new hams licensed and propagating interest in amateur radio is one of our favorite activities. We've run VE testing for decades both out of our home, and several area churches. The game has changed over the last 30 years. Interests have changed. Back before 1980, it was all about working DX. We saw interest shift to phone patching, go away with the coming of the cell phones, and now more recently in EMCOMM. In short, amateur hadio has become an adjunctive activity, rather than a primary activity. Elmering new people and trying to stir a passion for the Radio Art is the challange of this decade. Getting smart phone equipped young adults interested in the hobby takes a balanced approach, how to show of things that are still novel, and that we can do differently. When it comes to getting YL's interested, Adrienne's advice is not to overburden your spouse, and to show an interest in HER activities as well.
Although Adrienne and I met on account of amateur radio, it is certainly not the be-all and the end-all. We are active in Church, camping, hiking, motorcycle and quad riding, theater and many other activities. We've found amateur radio as a catalyst to a lot of other social activities.
WA6PZK at Field Day
Prior to this year, I have never been much of a paper chaser. Margie, KG6TBR, stirred an interest in starting to go after awards, and since I replaced my tried-and-true Kenwood TS-940S with a K3, I'm taking more of an interest in DX.
My QSL information: W6 district QSO bureau, LOTW, or direct to my callbook address.
It's All Good!
73, Dan W6DAS, (formerly WA6PZK)
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