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Hi, I'm Benton Jackson.

I collect hobbies. Ham Radio is the latest.

I got my Ham license in Oct 2016 for the purpose of flying FPV drones with a 5.8ghz video link. It's required, but most drone pilots don't bother. I spent about a week studying for Tech, then my buddy sent me a sample test and I got about a 75%, but that turned out to be for General. So I took both the Tech and General and passed both, getting the call sign KE0KNN. Since I didn't feel like I had learned anything relevant to 5.8gHz drones, I started studying for Extra. I joined the Maple Grove Radio Club (K0LTC), and took their Extra class. I passed that test on Dec 22nd. I changed my callsign to K0BHJ a few weeks later.

I've been having way more fun with radios, and I haven't flown my drones very much. But that's the nature of collecting hobbies, I always want to play with the newest and greatest.

One thing I like a lot about ham radio is the public service aspect. Finding a public service use for my technical talents might be what keep me in this hobby long term. I've volunteered to be a net controller for Metro Skywarn, the twin cities storm spotter organization. I also helped as a SAG assistant at the MS-150 bike ride from Duluth to Minneapolis.

I enjoyed teaching one evening of the tech class this spring at MGRC. Learning ham radio has been like drinking out of a firehose, and I was surprised that when put in front of a group with powerpoint slides, it all came back out. Apparently I did well, because I was asked to be the coordinator for the tech class next spring. I'm looking forward to this!

Here's my current rig- I have a Yaesu FT-991A, with an SDRPlay-RSP2 as a panadapter. I'm using the SDR-Console V3 software. A DX-Engineering RTR-2 protects the SDR from overload while I transmit. I've been making a TON of contacts on 20m with it, mostly with JT65, some voice, and a few PSK31.

And here's all I'm using for an antenna- a 20m ham stick. I'm reaching all of North America with this, plus occassionally Europe and South America. The lower level window on the ground floor is my office/shack. For now all I have is a window ribbon pass-thru to get the antenna in. There's also a mobile VHF/UHF antenna in the window, which is good enough to reach the nearest repeater we use for Skywarn. I've had to run a net from home twice when a storm popped up unexpectedly and the weather service asked for activation.

MGRC has a shack in the basement of Maple Grove Fire Station #2. In November 2016 I helped with installing antennas on the roof, which was a lot of fun. We lucked out on the weather, it was amazing weather for November in MN. I was on the roof crew, there were other crews doing stuff like stringing cables and arrange stuff in the shack. Of course they had chili for lunch, this is a fire station after all. The biggest antenna we put up is the Cushcraft R-8, good for 40m to 6m. We also added a couple tri-band VHF/UHF antennas, and fixed a cable for an antenna that was already up there, that had gotten water in it. We strung a cable for a long-wire, which we're going to put up in the spring. Final picture, while I was being hoisted off and Tim (N0BYH) was doing his final walk-around. 

8248056 Last modified: 2017-07-31 22:50:49, 3734 bytes

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World Continents Award#18917
Granted: 2017-11-18 17:18:03   (K0BHJ)

  • 20 Meters Mixed
United States Award#3698
Granted: 2017-11-18 17:18:02   (K0BHJ)

  • Mixed Digital
United States Counties Award#7114
Granted: 2017-08-26 17:50:37   (K0BHJ)

  • 100 Counties Mixed
  • 250 Counties Mixed
Grid Squared Award#16801
Granted: 2017-08-26 01:04:02   (K0BHJ)

  • 20 Meters Mixed
  • 40 Meters Mixed
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