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History and Background

I have been a ham since about 1967. Original Novice call was WN6YIR, and when I upgraded to the Advanced class, this became WB6YIR. I had to take my ham test up in San Francisco on Battery Street. The code test had to be passed first and then the theory test. I had expected to just take the General Theory test but after passing that the examiner said I could try the Advanced test too--free of extra fees. Luckily I passed!

After college at UC Davis, I upgraded to Extra class and obtained my current call sign AA6RE. It is short call but that last "dit" sometimes gets lost in the noise.

Something New for 2018

I live in a townhome complex so antenna, power and high noise are issues. I often have S4-S7 novice levels. The 80 meter band is all but unusable and 40 meters is useable for CW/Digital modes.

I do work from local parks where the RF noise is nil. The bands are very full when at home they are sparse.  My antennas in both locals are Buddipole dipoles. It's a real pleasure to operate from a low RFI QTH.

I have never had a good antenna high in the air. I finallydecided that isn't going to change anytime soon, but I can use a remote station via the internet. I started to do so over the 2017 Xmas holiday via the www.remotehamradio.com service. They have some station options that use 100W maximum but the antennas are 100 feet up OCF dipoles! It is amazing to me how well these antennas hear on 80/40 meters and the noise is so low. I have never worked 80 meters and 40 meter only occasionally. These are stations are less expensive than their high power/beam stations and fit my budget.

I would have liked a remote station location in Silicon Valley/San Jose area but the available one is out of my price range on a per minute budget! So I opted for remote stations located on the East Coast. I can't up my WAS count with these locations but they are fine with DXCC.

Remote op results are encouraging for the 80/40 meter bands that I have really never been able to use before. Results are encouraging.

Seven new 80 meter band countries and 14 new 40 meter band countries. This will definitely help with the 40 meter DXCC as well as with the 40 remaining QSOs I need for the Challenge award.

People rent/lease cars, rent/lease houses so why not a station!

Shack and Operations

I work CW almost exclusively because I have a poor antenna system and operate low power, 100 W. In the past (through summer 2012) the antenna was an old AEA ISO-Loop antenna mounted at ground level. I use a Buddipole dipole now set for 20 meters at about 14 feet. I use the long whips too, but at 14 feet directionality is not very good on 20 meters.

I recently (September 2012) upgraded from an ICOM-735 to a Kenwood TS-590. The ICOM had been used for 30 years, along with its matching tuner and power supply. It was very reliable with only one repair needed when 18 MHz transmission stopped.

The new TS-590 has much better interference rejection, and the low noise is amazing compared to the 735.   I have made 5W QRP contacts with the Buddipole dipole,  the new TS-590 and my FT-817ND.

My FT-817 includes a CW filter. For a tuner I use an Elecraft T1 autotuner. The tuner is fast, easy to use, and compact.

On ten meters and usually 15/17/20 meters, five watts works very well with the right number of sun spots! QRP work can be a challenge, but I now have 50 states confirmed on QRP. Rhode Island was the last QRP state contact needed. 

In January 2015 I started using JT-65 with the JT65-HF HB9HQX software. It was easy to setup with my TS590. I wanted to start on my ARRL Triple Play award so I needed 50 QSOs for the digital part. I was able to work and confirm via LOTW 50 states by March 10, 2015. 

Now I use FT-8 almost 100% for digital ops.

FT-8 is a new and very nice digital mode. It only took three months or so work all 50 states on FT-8. 

Picnic Table Operations

Since I have a lot of noise, S5,  from home QTH , I take my QRP or FT-891 to a local park and set up a portable operation using a Buddipole and BioEnergy 12 AH battery

New Rigs and Equipment in 2017

Some new rigs arrived in 2017. A QRP KX3 with the internal tuner and battery charger/clock and a Yaesu FT891. The FT891 was a bit of an impulse buy as I wanted more power for some park bench operations. The TS590 was too big to haul around.

I also added two tuners. A remote tuner from MFJ MFJ-992BRT and for the FT-891 the MFJ-939.

In 2017 I purchased a Chameleon CHA F-LOOP 2.0 for QRP operation. It is built well but I really haven't tried it enough to comment on performance. It was chosen to operate with the KX3.

I have no money left for food!

QSLs, AWARDS, DXCC and IOTA

QSLing and contacting DX stations are great fun. I prefer paper QSLs, but I am an avid user of LOTW too. I wish everyone uploaded their QSOs to LOTW. You don't need to be an ARRL member to use LOTW, but you do need to be a member to have LOTW confirmed QSOs count for ARRL awards like DXCC and WAS.

Now going into 2018 (same as in January 2017!) I only need one phone QSO with Nevada to complete the Triple Play Award.

My DXCC totals with JT-65/FT-8, the only digital modes I operate, are not very good. I have worked 29 DXCC countries with confirmations. I rarely hear European stations on JT-65 or FT-8. Japan, Argentina and Korea are pretty easy to work on 20/15 meters. I hear South African stations occasionally. 

IOTA

I also chase islands through the RSGB IOTA program. I have 289 islands confirmed so far. Getting to 300 has been a challenge for me. I need more sunspots but hope 2018 will get me to 300. I find IOTA a great activity as the QSL cards received are very nice.

BTW take a look at the new RSGB IOTA web. They have made some nice additions. QSO's are confirmed via DX/IOTA ExpeditionsClub Log listings, removing the need to send QSL Cards to an IOTA regional card checker! 

DXCC

With my antenna, local noise and low antenna new DXCC countries are getting harder. Current results from over 50 years of operation are below.

 

IOTA QSOs

WAS QSOs

8553819 Last modified: 2018-01-02 15:49:05, 6864 bytes

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QRZ Logbook Summary for - AA6RE
Latest Contacts for AA6RE at QRZ.com
dedateband mode grid Country op
W5DTF 2017-01-20 20m JT65 EM12GS10 United States DWAYNE T FAGLIE
KF4FIC 2016-06-18 20m JT65 DN30un United States JONATHAN A FIELDS
K4PDS 2016-05-18 17m JT65 EM75xq United States David S Parker
LU1MPK 2016-05-04 20m JT65 FF57ob Argentina Ari Baca
KQ1S 2016-02-21 20m SSB DM45GF32 United States WILLIAM C SMITH
KF7BA 2016-01-23 20m SSB DN28vi United States BRADLEY S ALMS
WB6RT 2015-09-21 40m JT65 CM97ai United States Wayne F Bongolan
WB6RT 2015-08-05 20m JT65 CM97ai United States Wayne F Bongolan
CA3ECM 2015-06-22 40m JT65 FF46rq Chile EDUARDO A CARREO
CD3GID 2015-06-21 40m JT65 FF46rq Chile DANIEL GASPARRI
CA3ECM 2015-06-11 40m JT65 FF46rq Chile EDUARDO A CARREO
WB8VLO 2015-05-28 40m JT65 EN81hv United States RONALD J REED
KV8P 2015-05-17 20m JT65 EN81dn United States ROBERT J HALL III
KV8P 2015-04-11 20m JT65 EN81dn United States ROBERT J HALL III
WN8Y 2015-04-09 20m JT65 EM55oq United States Kenny R Johns

Book Totals: 1866 qso's   170 confirmed Get a free logbook at QRZ.COM


c
World Continents Award#5932
Granted: 2015-03-01 03:25:02   (AA6RE)

Endorsements:
  • 12 Meters Mixed
  • 15 Meters Mixed
  • 17 Meters Mixed
  • 20 Meters Mixed
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