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As a child growing up in the 70's I was fascinated with Shortwave Radio and spent many evenings falling asleep listening to distant & foreign broadcast stations and to amateur operators and playing with handi-talkies with friends. It was not until the late 80's early 90's when I started playing with Citizen Band Radio with an Robyn 23 Channel in my work van. With the limitations of the 23 channel AM CB I came to the realization "CB" stood for "Constantly Buying".  After jumping into SSB I found myself using ham radio gear and oddball channels and the need to run higher power. Met a lot of interesting people & some good friends along the way and some talked of getting their ham ticket. I decided to upgrade to Amateur Radio, skipping the Novice class and passed elements 2 and 3A on 8/9/1996  to received my license KC8EQT on 8/15/1996 as a no-code Technician. I started playing with an oscillator & code cassette tapes and passed the 1A 5wpm code and element 3B on 11/8/1996 to earn the license class of Tech Plus. After several months of studying, practicing, MARA Club (Michigan Amateur Radio Alliance) Field Day event & making on-air contacts I passed the 1B 13wpm code on 8/23/1997 and earned the license class of General. Since I was on a roll I passed element 4A on 12/6/1997 to earn the license class of Advanced. A short time later I passed element 4B on 2/7/1998 but struggled with breaking the code speed for a year until on February 6, 1999 when I passed 1C 20wpm code to earn the license class of Extra. To make it a family affair my wife earn her Technician class license on 2/5/2000 and we enjoyed many QSOs with each other during my commutes to work & jobsite across the state of Michigan. I helped out with Skywarn, ARES-RACES and I helped as a VE for LARC (Lowell Amateur Radio Club).  I was active up till the early 2000's but after moving into a new home in 2002 and with family getting busier & busier the hobby took the back burner to raising my three daughters, basketball games, photography (see https://www.flickr.com/photos/ab8dt/collections), motorcycles etc. Now with my youngest daughter graduating from college my basketball & photography chasing days have come to the end. My two older daughters both have little girls so maybe someday......

I have returned into the hobby in December of 2015 by selling my old gear for some updates. Got bitten by the Yaesu Fusion/ C4FM Digital bug and also have been playing with DMR & D-Star. I have four Wires-X nodes direct connected into repeaters, RF Links or Simplex Nodes. Finally got a tower installed spring & summer of 2016 and am back on HF.

Equipment/Antennas:

  • HF Antennas: Mosley Pro-67-B @ 44', OCF Dipole @ 40'
  • Create Log-Periodic CLP-5130-1N VHF/UHF 50MHz thru 1300MHz Sideband
  • Cushcraft 10 El Yaga for FM
  • VHF/UHF: Comet GP-9 Hi-Gain @ 70'
  • VHF/UHF: Comet GP-6 Hi-Gain @ 40'
  • Cushcraft Ringo Ranger 6m @ 30'
  • 5 KC8YOE J-Pole Antennas. Three on 2m/70cm, One on 1.23cm and One on 70cm for DMR
  • Wolf RIver Coils Silver Bullet 1000 TIA 80m thru 10m portable 
  • BuddiPole Deluxe Kit 80m thru 6m portable
  • Yaesu FC-40 Auto Tuner for portable/mobile
  • Future projects: KG0ZZ 40m/80m/160m Tuned Trap Diapole and 80m OCF Diapole

Equipment/Rigs:

  • FlexRadio Systems FLEX-6500 w/Maestro control head HF 160m thru 6m SDR All Mode
  • Yaesu FT-991A HF/VHF/UHF All Mode
  • FT-891 HF 160m thru 6m Mobile/Portable mounted in a manpack frame for portability from mobile to field
  • 1st Yaesu FTM-400XD in ham shack monitoring my Wires-X node on VFO-A, Local repeater on VFO-B or occasionally APRS using a Comet GP-3 @ 20'
  • 2nd Yaesu FTM-400XD at my office in Cedar Springs monitoring my various Wires-X nodes on VFO-A, Local repeater on VFO-B into a Comet GP-3 @ 40'
  • Two (2) FTM-100DR in ham shack monitoring the NW8J UHF & VHF Fusion repeaters that are on Wires-X  
  • Simplex Wires-X Node #1: FTM-100DR running as node radio connected into the HRI-200 into a Dell Optiplex 780 w/Win 10 Pro into a MikroTik RouterBoard bridged into GR-Mi6WAN (IP: 44.xxx.xx.xxx) with WiFi to ethernet  up on a KC8YOE J-Pole @ 35' usually on ----MINWIS-FUSION Node #21493
  • Simplex Wires-X Node #2: FTM-100DR running as node radio connected into the HRI-200 into a Dell Latitude laptop using a LAN internet connection @ 64MB Download/8MB Upload RF on a KC8YOE J-Pole @ 35' linked into various rooms and will RF link into local Fusion repeaters to demonstrate Wires-X
  • Yaesu FTM-3200 used to connect into Broadcastify using a Dell Lattitude w/Win 10 Pro. See "W8DC 146.7600 MHz Repeater and Wires-X Node 30074" http://www.broadcastify.com/listen/feed/24545 and will broadcast Analog/FM and Digital/C4FM
  • Yaesu FT-2D VHF/UHF Handi-Talkie use when around the house & mobile on Wires-X or OpenSpot (see below)
  • Motorola XPR4550 as a base DMR UHF station
  • Tytera TYT MD-390G DMR/FM Handheld w/md380tools
  • ICOM ID-31A UHF HT D-Star/FM
  • SharkRF OpenSpot #1 as DMR/C4FM Hotspot for around home and to bridge with other networks
  • Two DV4minis (VHF and UHF) using to experiment with on DMR+, Brandmeister & FSC Reflectors and to bridge networks
  • DR-1X Repeater x3: I teamed up with Larry French NW8J to replace both his VHF & UHF FM Transmitter & Receiver on 146.880 and 443.075MHz in Cedar Springs with DR-1Xs and have Wires-X Nodes direct connected on Dell Optiplex 780 & 790 w/Win 10 Pro to the UHF usually on MINWIS-FUSION Node #21493 and VHF on various rooms as well.
  • The third Fusion repeater is extra/standby to loan to local repeater owners/groups so they can upgrade their firmware or if service is required so not to loose service when their repeater is down.
  • Upgraded all the DR-1Xs for DR2Xs and two (2) are now on the air as of 10/14/2017 @ Larry's NW8J w/HRI-200s direct connected
  • 3rd DR-2X is in my shack testing on IMRS connected into KG5AWL in Axtell Texas & AI5AI in Valley Mills Texas. Also testing bridging FCS, YSF, DMR using RFShark OpenSpot and DV4mini. 

Current Mobile:

  • FT-891 HF 40m thru 6m w/FC-40 to a Wolf River Coil Silverbullet 1000 w/102" SS Whip & when portable 80m thru 6m with the Wolf River Silverbullet 1000 TIA or direct mounted. Also have a Buddipole System to experiment with.
  • CS800 DMR
  • 3rd FTM-400D using as mobile in work van VFO-A using on local repeaters or thru my portable OpenSpot (see below) and VFO-B on APRS as AB8DT-9 
  • SharkRF OpenSpot #2 as DMR/C4FM Hotspot for around home & Mobile/Portable connected to a Verizon JetPack via TP-Link WiFi to ethernet adapter

Associated Orginizations:

  • Member of ARRL, Michigan Amateur Radio Association (MARA-W8USA), Grand Rapids Amateur Radio Association (GRARA-W8DC) & Lowell Amateur Radio Club (LARC-W8LRC), ARRL, Ten-Ten, OMISS and #605 of The Red Riders as of HamVention 2017 

40' Rohn Tower

Portable HF 80m thru 6m Solar/Battery Power 

 

Portable Rig showing Yaesu FT-891 with FC-40 ATU to a Wolf River Coils Silverbullet 1000 and for portable power using Bioenno LifePO4 12.0v/20Ah BLF-1220a battery & SC-1220JU solar controller to two BSP-28 28 Watt Solar Panels

 

Portable rig placement in mobile 

Station layout as of 7-27-2017

Operating remote via WiFi Maestro control head on the patio

Playing with the new DR-2X's on IMRS on the bench before deploying in the field on the NW8J repeater system

 

 

 

 

 

8397688 Last modified: 2017-10-19 14:37:49, 9213 bytes

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