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I was first licensed as  KN0FLY in January 1961.  I upgraded to Conditional class March 1962.   After graduating from Indian Hills Community College, I was employed by the Collins Radio Company. 

In 1968 I joined the Air force, after being discharged four years later, I returned to work at  Rockwell-Collins in Cedar where I shared a house with Lloyd K0DDA (now W3IUU in Silver Springs MD).   I learned  a lot about DXing and Contesting from lloyd.  Lloyd and I were active on Oscar 6 and 7 using of all things a Central Electronics 10B driving a home brew transverter for the up link. 

In 1973 Jim W0FHE (now W0SR) and I went to Davenport Iowa where we upgraded from Conditional to Extra Class in one day.  For a period of time I had two station licenses, K0FLY and W0FO.  The FCC changed its rules permitting only one station call sign per person, I let K0FLY expire.  When the FCC offered the vanity program, I decided to get the “FLY” call sign back.

 I retired from Rockwell-Collins in 2004, where I held various positions from International Field Service to Project engineer.   Since retirement, my XYL Val (W0EFW) and I have been traveling, mostly in the western US and Europe.   My Amateur Radio interests are DXing, Contesting, Collins, and traffic nets.  I’m the manager of the Iowa 75 Meter evening SSB net and a member of the Iowa Tall Corn Net (CW).  I’m a life member of the ARRL and AMSAT and a member of the Collins Collectors Assn, Collins Amateur Radio Club , Cedar Valley Amateur Radio Club, , and the Eastern Iowa DX Assn.

This is my current station, a Flex 6500 and Maestro, Electraft K2, K3, KX3, KPA-500 and one of my S-lines.  The amplifiers on the left are two 30S-1s and a Heathkit SB-221.  The desk was originally built to hold Collins S-Lines, KWM-2s and KWM-380s.  The Mic is an Astatic DN-HZ that I purchased in the Collins surplus store in the early 1970s.

The panel shown below selects the radio to be used.  The Mic audio, Mic shield, PTT as well as control to a 6 into 1 RF switch are selected by the Mic switch.  The Mic shield is switched so that it receives its ground from the radio in use, this prevents nasty ground loops.  The Collins S- Line is selected in this picture.  The panel is on hinges and can be opened for maintenance.  I did not have a switch with enough gangs so I had to add an extra switch to select the CW key input for the radio in use.  This panel along with another is located on the left side of the operating desk, it can be seen in the primary photo.





All of the antenna and rotor cables enter the shack via an aluminum plate in the window (See primary photo).  There is a 6 into 1 coax switch mounted on the plate for antenna selection.  The dipoles are fed with ladder line, there are a pair of relays that disconnect and ground the those feed line when the 12 volt power is removed.  The antenna switch grounds the antennas when power is removed from it.  The antenna switch was built using a printed wiring board sold on E-Bay by OK2ZI, it has very good port to port isolation specs.


I call this KW row, normally there is a Collins 30L-1 under the KWM-1, it is being repaired.  The KWM-1 is an engineering model, no serial number, however, the serial number on the PTO is 22.  There were 25 engineering models built, this one occasionally checks into the Collins 20 meter net, I also have fun on 17 meters with it. 

The KWS-1 and 75A4 pair came from Rockford, IL. They are very early models, the transmitter is SN 12, and it had been back to Collins at one time to be updated to latest revision.  The 75A-4 is SN 149, note the upper right corner of the radio,  the Noise Limiter and Mode switch labeling do not line up, this was corrected after SN 250. On December 31, 1999 I used these radios to call the Iowa 75 meter evening net, I felt it was fitting for a Cedar Rapids station to call the last net of the century with vintage Collins.

The right 30S-1 was purchased from the Collins Anamosa service center, it had a bad HV filter choke which would intermittently short and blow the fuses. The Amp does not have a serial number, the Tune/Load dials are buff colored rather than cream and the number font is different.   It most likely is an engineering model.  The left 30S-1 was purchased as parts on Guam, shipped to Cedar Rapids, I re-assembled it fall of 1978.  It had a bad 866A filament transformer and a shorted HV power supply plate choke.  It has been in service ever since. 

The antennas are dipoles for 160 through 30 meters, a homebrew interlaced 20/15 meter yagi (3 elements on each band), and a homebrew 2  element five band quad.  I decided to build the quad for 17 and 12 meters, then creeping elegance set in, the antenna turned into a 5 bander.   K0DPL helped with the construction of the quad antenna shown above.  The quad is only 30 feet high. however, the HFTA software model indicates that the near field terrain makes it is equivalent to a 70 foot high antenna over flat land for about 270 degrees on the compass.  Plans are to raise the antenna to 60 feet. 

These are the station mascots, Pesky on the left and his shiny relative Buzz on the right.  They started life as ash trays, that profession was a little warm for them so they became small parts holders for me.



This is my QSL card from the 1960s, I had a lot fun with it.

See you in the pileups.

73 Gayle

8153311 Last modified: 2017-06-11 21:24:07, 6493 bytes

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