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Ham Member Lookups: 16363


Built my first crystal set covering MW and LW in about 1958!

Started as a 'proper' SWL in about 1962 when, with the help of Ian G3OHX (to whom I owe a great deal), I modified a MW broadcast set to enable me to listen to the North Sea fishermen on and around  2182kHz.  I then constructed an 0-V-1 TRF receiver, using directly-heated valves/tubes powered by a 90V + 1.5V battery, before moving on in approx 1965 to using an ex-WW2 Canadian Marconi 52-Set receiver; this was replaced in 1968 by a Japanese Star SR-200 amateur-bands-only hybrid receiver that used both valves/tubes and semiconductors.

Passed the UK Radio Amateur's examination in 1968 and then in 1970 I obtained a 'Class B' licence with callsign G8DRJ, this only allowed operation on 2m and upwards.  However, from 1969 to 1973 I frequently used my university's amateur station, G3CXX, on HF under supervision from a Class A licensee.  HF DX'ing has always been my primary interest.

Didn't do much amateur radio because of other commitments (family, work, and all that sort of stuff!) from the late 1970s through until 1987 when I took the Morse test and obtained my full Class A licence with callsign G0HDB.

Currently active on HF (mainly the higher bands because of antenna limitations - see below) and on 6m during the Es season.  I use mainly CW but occasionally use SSB and also like using datamodes especially RTTY, JT65A and now JT9.  As of today's date in March 2016 I've worked 315 DXCC entities with 302 confirmed via LoTW and 312 confirmed in total.  The recent LoTW confirmations for my QSOs with V73D, VP8STI and VP8SGI took my LoTW total over the 300 mark, which ain't bad for a 'little pistol' station!

Until July 2016 all of my operating was done using no more than 100W with relatively modest antennas - until 2010 I used only wire antennas (dipoles, inverted-V doublet etc) but I currently have a 2-ele wire Yagi (OptiBeam OBW10-5) at approx 11m above ground for the five HF bands (20m thru 10m) and a 4-ele Yagi for 6m at about 12m above ground.  The LF bands are covered using an inverted-V doublet about 40m long with its apex at 10m agl, the doublet is fed via 7m of home-brewed open-wire feeder from a remote-controlled balanced-Pi matching unit (HamWare AT-502).  As of July 2016 I have an Elecraft KPA-500 amplifier, which has definitely made it slightly easier to crack the DX pile-ups!

I'm also the sysop of the GB7DXC DXCluster node, which for quite a while was probably the last node in the world still running the AK1A DOS-based PacketCluster(tm) software.  The node resided in a rack in my garage for 15 years and sat there humming quietly to itself for months on end without needing much intervention.  However, the time eventually came to decommission the 'legacy' AK1A-based DXCluster node so in 2015 I installed a new DXCluster node, GB7DXC-5, which is running the DXSpider software on a Raspberry Pi Model B+ credit-card-sized computer; this now provides, via the Internet, the 'operational' DXCluster capability to users.  The legacy AK1A-based node was finally switched off in August 2016.

I'm a semi-retired Director of a small IT consultancy and specialist services company; I started my working career with a subsidiary of Racal Electronics doing special equipment and systems design and development work for various UK Government departments before joining EDS (now part of HP) to do systems engineering work predominantly for the UK Government's intelligence and security agencies.  I left EDS to start my own company doing much the same sort of work; I retired from full-time fee-earning work in 2014 but am still involved in the management and administration of my company.

7769970 Last modified: 2016-12-19 10:16:11, 4623 bytes

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