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AL7KC Alaska flag Alaska

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QSL: LoTW, buro, or direct: DX = SAE + $2; USA = SASE; (see below)

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Ham Member Lookups: 48320

 

Greetings, friend and fellow radio enthusiast, from the land of the "Frozen Chozen!"  Nice to meet you!

QTH: I live in North Pole, which is located in the central part of Alaska, and not far from the home of Santa Claus (Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas) and the spirit of giving.  I am 10 miles (16 kilometers) southeast of Fairbanks. This is the "land of the midnight sun" during the summer, and the "land of the frozen chosen" during the long, mostly dark and cold winter.  But, as a winter benefit, the Aurora Borealis (northern lights) frequently light up our night sky.  I'm typically under the "auroral oval" which often ruins our HF propagation....but I'd say it's worth it.  They are very beautiful and quite amazing!  (The higher latitudes close to the poles are impacted more by geomagnetic disturbances.  The solar winds that help to create the auroras also cause polar cap absorption, disrupting our signals.)

QSL via the buro or direct.  International please send self-addressed envelope plus $2 (or US international air mail stamp.)  USA: Please send SASE or via bureau.  I collect stamps and currencies, so yours is most welcome and appreciated. (Similar value substitutes of stamps or currency/money are welcome to be substituted instead of the $2.)  I typically process cards in batches, so turnaround time likely will be a few weeks, sometimes months.

SWL confirmation: I require TWO or more stations worked (not all listed on DX Cluster site) shown on your SWL report.

I still log on paper, then put in the computer afterwards, typically within  a few days (unless I get backed up after running large pileups.)  All QSOs are then uploaded to LoTW, Club Log, and QRZ log (with the magic of a couple of clicks.)   

I began converting my paper logs to DXKeeper computer database and LoTW on Jan 2, 2017.  So far, I've uploaded over 12,430 QSOs from 2002 to the present for this QTH, with thousands more to go.  I continue to add as time allows.  (For you holdouts from LoTW and computer logging: I now like it, and wish I had embraced it long ago.  I resisted for many years, but now regret not doing it sooner.) 

Equipment

Drake TR-7 transceiver, RV-75 Synthesized VFO, SP-75 speech processor, Drake Astatic mic 

Ten-Tec Corsair transceiver, Shure Unidyne mic

Dentron Clipperton QRO (4 x 572B,) Heathkit SB-220 (2 x 3-500z,) HA-10 Warrior (4 x 811A) amplifiers 

HyGain 204BA 4-element 20M yagi at 40 ft (12 m) height on Rohn 25G tower

Butternut HF6V vertical ground plane, roof mounted, used on 17, 30, 40 & 80M

MFJ-986 Differential-T, Ten-Tec 227, and homebrew transmatches 

Timewave DSP-599zx, JPS NIR-12 Digital Signal Processors

AEA MM-2 Morsematic keyer, Nye Viking SSK-1-K keyer, Bencher paddles

                       

My current HyGain 204BA, on Rohn 25G tower

I enjoy HF phone DXing, running pileups, ragchewing, an occasional homebrew construction project, and collecting QSL cards.  Recently I've been getting back on CW again after many years of no use.  At this point, my speed and skill level is very low.  

I was team member for the K3J DXpedition to Johnston Island (KH3) in 2001.  I have twice activated Shemya Island (IOTA NA-37) in the Aleutians in 1997 and 99 using the old club call KL7FBI.  I was team member for KL7RA CQWW phone multi-multi record effort in 1990, that stood until 2001, after Rich relocated his multi-multi contest station much farther south to escape the auroral oval here and have better propagation conditions to be more competitive.   

Working a European pileup at K3J Johnston Island DXpedition                  

Running huge pileup at KH3

At Johnston Island

  Kimo KH7U

                   Thanks to our sponsors!

I've become a paper-chaser, and found that having operating goals has helped spark more interest in working many more people in places that had become routine. (Currently participating in the CQ DX Marathon.)  I'm working toward DX Century Club Honor Roll (292 worked, 279 confirmed,) Islands On The Air (>330 contacted, >230 confirmed,) WPX (1287 prefixes cfm) and a couple dozen other awards of interest such as the Antarctic Bases, Holy Land, TransCanada, Russian Oblast, YL, SOTA, WWFF, and Japan prefectures awards. I have completed Millenium DXCC, WAZ, Iceland, a bunch of special events like Route 66, 13 Colonies, National Parks On The Air and qualify for many others.  Thanks to everyone who's been part of the fun! 

I also enjoy working with antennas. I've done or been involved with over two dozen tower and antenna projects, not counting all the military antenna installs during my time with Air Force Combat Communications when I built numerous 500-foot long wire antennas (AFW0NXX terminated long wire, and vertical half rhombics, and learned some skills that still prove useful.)  

                   

Our home during winter (tower and Yagi is hidden behind trees on left)

                     

View of my QTH taken from the frozen waterfront, during Nordic cross-country skiing

                     

My TH-3 that served me very well for many years (replaced in the fall of 2016) 

Aurora Borealis, the                

Aurora Borealis, the northern lights we often experience here from fall through springtime

               

Most of the time we see only green, but on special ocasions we see all colors like this!

Midnight sun a couple of miles from my home               

Midnight Sun (taken a few kilometers from my QTH while out on motorcycle ride) 

                 

Midnight sun during a late night bicycle ride about 12 km from home, next to the rumble strip

               

The waterfront I live and canoe on, taken about 1.6 kilometers upstream from my QTH

                       

Rainbow I captured recently driving home from work 

The view I see leaving my QTH for half of the year

 

Home-brew gear: Several qrp transmitters (20M Universal QRP, 30M G-QRP/Sprat Oner, two 6F6/6V6/6L6 simple single-tube transmitters,) two basic transmatches (one 150W, one QRO,) my station antenna switch box, a beverage/lowfer toroidal impedance match box, a short mobile antenna capacitance match box, as well as a number of wire antennas.    

My radio history:  I became interested in radio as a kid about 1972 after getting some walkie-talkies, which were crystaled in the Citizen's Band, channel 14 (27.125 MHz.)  After my parents received a visit from someone upset because they heard me transmitting music so I could listen when I was out working in the field, I became aware of rules and that the small 100 milliwatt? signal went farther than expected from our Ohio hilltop location, and others were listening.  I upgraded to a "base station" (still single channel tx, but vfo rx) and was happy to be able to "work DX" up to 30 miles with a tenth of a watt.  I later got my license during the CB craze about 1974, and a real CB radio and vertical antenna with 4 watts AM & 15w SSB, talked as far as 60 miles, and heard tales of "hams" talking all over the world.  A few years later, I joined the military and was exposed to amateur radio while stationed in Osan, Korea (becoming a volunteer phone patch operator for the Military Affiliate Radio System at AGA8OS.)  After returning stateside, I acquired my first multiband amateur transceiver, a Kenwood TS-520, and started listening to some very interesting QSOs on 75m AM at night.  Listening to guys in a round table talking about Nikola Tesla and the early exploits of radio development helped to motivate me, and I became a Ham in 1984, as KA5TSD.   I used the TS-520 for about 8 years at home, mobile, and portable while traveling in the military until transferring to Alaska and acquiring my first Drake TR-7.  I was issued my current Alaska call in 1988 before vanity calls were available.  I planned and waited to get one of the first AL7K's.) 

On contests: I used to despise contests for monopolizing and ruining the bands when I was trying to keep schedules with friends, but I now appreciate them for what they are.  I often mine them for DX and prefixes, and give out Alaska multiplier, and sometimes maybe even casually participating.  I have yet to really put in a serious effort to try to win any.

On running pileups: I have had a number of people comment about hearing me running pileups. From the "I couldn't do that" to "how can you do that?"  I remember the first times back in the late '80's when I was on talking to someone in EU and having one grow without any expectation or preparation - and what a daunting experience it was to have so many calling at the same time.  (Let's just say that it was a real mess and likely exercise in frustration for most all of us.)  Living in a place where everyone wants to contact you sure changes the dynamics!  I learned mostly through doing it and listening to others do it, and going to KH3.  Desiring to improve my skills, I read a couple of books, like "The Complete DXer" by Bob Locher, W9KNI (recommend!) and began watching and listening to guys like Martti OH2BH, with way more pileup experience and radio manners than I, and paid attention to good DXpedition operators.  The best and most valuable information that I have found is Martti's "The DX Chase: It Takes Two To Tango" and DX University. Jim, KL7KK told me recently after I worked 332 EU stations: "You have a Master's degree in working pileups."  (I'd say it's more like an undergraduate or Bachelors, as I'm still learning and trying to improve.)  Dave, SV1RUX said of that same pileup: "I admire your patience, I don't know how you manage with people shouting over the radio all the time."  Like anything we will master in life, we all have to start where we are, learn, and grow into it from there.  The only way to do that is to get into the game, do it, and practice!  

    Doing the tower work for install at KL7HRN   Disassembling a Rohn 25 tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                

Prepping for disassembly of a Rohn 25 tower

                                                                             

 My Faith: Most importantly, I'm a believer in the Most High God, the creator of the universe, and His son, Jesus! Through His free gift, He saved me and set me free from the spiritual bondages, old attitudes and behaviors I had known for my life.  I now have a much, much, much better and happy life! I love God, and believe that He is deserving of all of my praise and worship! I have come to realize that I was made for Him, and my best purpose is to worship and serve Him. I served as music minister & worship leader for over two decades. (See videos below.)  

I'm married to my loving wife Terri since 1980. We have the best daughter we could ever imagine, a real blessing from God, Stephanie. I completed a career in the Air Force in 1999, working first as a computer operator (when a computer main-frame took up a large room and had no integrated circuits!) then became a ground radio maintenance technician (304X4/2E1X3.) Originally a "Buckeye" from Belmont, Ohio, I left in 1979 when I joined the Air Force.

Why I'm in Alaska:  I was drawn to Alaska by the amazing mountain view I experienced during an airport stop while enroute to Korea a few years later. That seed was later watered by meeting friend Ed, KL7HRN, who constantly talked about "the Great Land" during our electronics training in Biloxi, Mississippi in 1984. After an invite to come visit while stationed in Oklahoma City (hanging out with friends K5UOS and WA5U,)  I visited Ed in Alaska and was quickly hooked by the breathtaking scenery and refreshing difference in attitude. We transferred to Eielson Air Force Base Communications (near North Pole) in 1987, where I first learned about EU pileups on HF, then in 1991 I transferred to Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage. There I was assigned to the 381st Intelligence Squadron (previously the 6981st Electronic Security Group.) I was fortunate to remain in Alaska until I finished in 1999 as a Master Sergeant (E-7.)

Work and Education: After transitioning out of the military, I worked as a network surveillance technician, monitoring a network of long distance and local telephone switches, fiber-optic transport, and satellite earth stations for GCI, an Alaskan telecomm company. In February of 2002, I transferred back north to Fairbanks, where I now work as a network technician, working on most of the same as mentioned above in the central office. I typically do T-1, Ethernet circuit and telephone switch provisioning, troubleshooting and restoral, and transport equipment maintenance. I hold an FCC General Radiotelephone license with Radar endorsement since 1992, and a have an undergrad degree in Electronic Systems Technology.

We moved from Eagle River back to North Pole in May of 2002, and moved into our current home in late December 2003.

 

                   My final duty assignment. I would love to have that antenna array! (Click above for more info.)

My Honda ValkyrieComing in from a fall rideMoving around on the beach

Other interests: Leading worship with guitar, playing and listening to praise and worship music such as Bethel, Hillsongs, Kent Henry, Robert Gay, Darrell Evans, Kate Miner, and Vineyard; watching good movies, motorcycling on my Honda Valkyrie Tourer F6, bicycling, '60's and '70's Mopars, Nordic and Alpine skiing, martial arts (Poekoelan Tjimindie/Silat, Escrima,) stamp collecting, and photography.  

Dinner with friends (left front to rear: Eric KL3DO, Silas KL3ZJ with his boys and wife Kayla KL3ZM, my wife Terri, my daughter Stephanie, Sandra, and Bruce VK4YS, me, and Ed KL7HRN.  Spend a lot of time on 20 meters, you've likely heard or talked to some of these guys. 

With friends Ed KL7HRN (left) and Bruce VK4YS (right) in Denali Village 2017

       With friend and DX running buddy Jim KL7KK while visiting shack of KL7HRN in 2017

Great to meet Eli 4Z5NB and his wife during their Alaska trip, after working him while mobile in Israel  

 

I've been very blessed with ham radio over the years. Thanks for being part of that, and for taking time to read this bio.  I know there's a lot to it, as it has grown over time with questions, comments, and feedback from others.  I hope something here inspires you in some way.  (I was very inspired when I first visited KL7HRN's shack years ago and saw his professional station, awards, and QSL card collection!)  Don't forget to be an ambassador to others, and take time to help and inspire them to get involved if interested.  The future of this wonderful hobby depends on each of us. 

God Bless and 73!

Mike

"Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established."  -- Prov 16:3

My friend, Gene Eaton, AL7HX became a Silent Key in March 2013.  I now have his logs and can fulfill QSL requests. 

**** 9/8/16  QSL backlog update:  I still have hundreds of buro cards awaiting processing.  My apologies for the long wait.  My goal is to get caught up this winter.   


I've provided Iditarod sled dog race volunteer comm support many times, doing race starts in Anchorage, Willow, and even Fairbanks when there wasn't enough snow for the normal route.  I flew into remote bush village check points such as McGrath, Shageluk, Kaltag, and Unalakleet with my HF radio gear, before satellite comm was provided by a major sponsor.   

Here's a typical volunteer Iditarod Air Force bush plane, on wheel ski's, landing on the frozen Yukon River.  This was taken while prepping to send some dogs that were dropped from their teams back to Anchorage, in sub-zero temperatures. 

The Iditarod race start and finish draws the most amount of people, requiring lots of coordination with crowd control, comm between race officials, dog team staging, etc, typically done using 2 meters.  Large capacity batteries and spares are needed due to the duration, typically 4-5 hours and the cold.  Some years subzero temp are challenging.  This picture was taken on a warmer day, otherwise I'd have my gloves on.    

 

 

 

 

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8575356 Last modified: 2018-01-12 06:48:43, 30084 bytes

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QRZ Logbook Summary for - AL7KC
Latest Contacts for AL7KC at QRZ.com
dedateband mode grid Country op
RI50ANO 2018-01-01 20M SSB GC07MT South Shetland Islan Alexandr A. Ushakov, UA1OJL
WA9YKK 2018-01-01 20M SSB EN51tw United States DANIEL B HARMON
VE3VEE 2018-01-01 20M SSB FN03GV Canada Marvin Hlavac
KJ6TSX 2018-01-01 20M SSB CM87sp United States George V Salet
K8FL 2018-01-01 20M SSB EM79 United States JAMES F LANCASTER
K7SML 2018-01-01 20M SSB CN85OL12 United States Joseph F Sottile
KE0CBV 2018-01-01 20M SSB EN22UM69 United States JOHN C ADAMS
JE1FQV 2018-01-01 20M SSB PM95ti Japan Takuya (TAC) Yoshihori
N5NHJ 2018-01-01 20M SSB EM13pc United States Massimo Mucci
W8IIE 2018-01-01 20M SSB EN81fx United States DAVID J BENOIT
KM6ABF 2018-01-01 20M SSB CM97BG61 United States Scott A Saunders
KK6DTE 2018-01-01 20M SSB CN80nq United States JAMES J FARMER
KB7JJG 2018-01-01 20M SSB DM34WH United States John J Gesell
KG7SXF 2018-01-01 20M SSB CN87UV71 United States Drew R Dorsett
W5WTC 2018-01-01 20M SSB EM15RF United States Randal S Hallum

Book Totals: 12537 qso's   5131 confirmed Get a free logbook at QRZ.COM


c
United States Award#3887
Granted: 2017-12-25 09:04:03   (AL7KC)

Endorsements:
  • 20 Meters Mixed
  • 20 Meters Phone
United States Counties Award#5823
Granted: 2017-01-23 10:04:02   (AL7KC)

Endorsements:
  • 100 Counties Mixed
  • 250 Counties Mixed
  • 100 Counties Phone
  • 250 Counties Phone
DX World Award#4989
Granted: 2017-01-20 08:44:02   (AL7KC)

Endorsements:
  • 20 Meters Mixed
  • 20 Meters Phone
Grid Squared Award#14619
Granted: 2016-12-08 09:18:02   (AL7KC)

Endorsements:
  • 15 Meters Mixed
  • 20 Meters Mixed
  • 15 Meters Phone
  • 20 Meters Phone
World Continents Award#12309
Granted: 2016-03-21 21:40:03   (AL7KC)

Endorsements:
  • 15 Meters Mixed
  • 20 Meters Mixed
  • 40 Meters Mixed
  • 15 Meters Phone
  • 20 Meters Phone
  • 40 Meters Phone
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