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First licensed in 1957 as KN5KBH, I worked my way through General, Advanced and finally, after getting my code speed up to 20 wpm, qualified for Extra in 1968. I still love CW and spend most of my on the air time pounding a key while chasing DX on 160 meters.

In addition to chasing DX, I also enjoy restoring old tube era gear, some of which can be seen in the photo. These old boatanchors are also fun to operate occasionally, but I'm very much attached to the modern Icom rigs.  I had a real affinity for Hallicrafters receivers and currently provide a home for several including the S-19R (my first short wave receiver), S-20R, SX-28, SX42, SX-43, SX-100 and an HT-18 exciter as well as a TO keyer and a few speakers.

My interest in old boatanchors led me to scan my few manuals and put them on a small ftp server in late 1997. I made the manuals available on the internet for free downloading. Then a few friends added their manuals and very quickly the collection was much too large for my small desktop server. Fortunately Sweet Briar College, where I served on the faculty, agreed to provide space on their server and the BoatAnchor Manual Archive was born. Starting with five Hallicrafters manuals in 1997, BAMA has grown into a collection of over 40,000 files occupying over 35 GB of disk space and representing countless hours of scanning and uploading by the wonderful folks who supported the BAMA idea. After I retired from the Sweet Briar College faculty, the server space became unavailable.  Fortunately, the collection was mirrored at http://bama.edebris.com through the courtesy of Bob Duckworth, AH7I and the tireless efforts of Ed Kujawski as sysop. If you need a manual for an old piece of ham gear, have a look at BAMA. You may find just what you need and are welcome to download it without charge.

In 1959 I had passed the General class test and was seriously into DXing with my Johnson Viking Ranger and Thunderbolt amplifier.  Receiving was done on a Hallicrafters SX-96.  I toyed with contesting and won a couple of the VK/ZL tests, before I realized that DXing was my game.  I seemed to have a pipeline into ZL and made many lifelong friends, including the late ZL1AMO, ZL2BE and ZL2AHZ.  Ron, ZL1AMO, and I had weekly skeds on 21 MHz AM and occasionally on CW.  For both of us DXing was primarily on CW, but we thoroughly enjoyed our phone QSOs, just to compare notes and to catch up on family news.


The Viking Ranger is still in my possession and is occasionally put on the air.  My Vibroplex has given way to a Bencher iambic keyer paddle and the Thunderbolt is now part of the vast collection of Amateur Radio gear assembled by Herman Cone, N4CH.

Currently I am using an Icom IC-7800 transceiver to an Alpha 78 amplifier as my main station. However, I've got a Kenwood TS-940SAT that I use occasionally with an Ameritron AL-80A amplifier. Used less often are the Drake R-4C and T-4XC twins and the Viking Ranger and Collins 75A-4 that I use for vintage occasions.

For many years on 6 through 20 I had a SteppIR 4 element yagi at 77 ft. and a Force 12 Delta 230/240 at 87 ft. for 30 and 40 meters. However in the summer of 2014, my overloaded fold-over tower failed when it was about 4 ft from the ground, and while the SteppIR survived, the Force 12 became a part of N4UA's "Antenna Boneyard."  The tower was repaired with the help a great group of PVRC guys who only required feeding and hydrating.  Subway helped with the feeding and a variety of hydrates were employed,  I'm very grateful to N4UA, N2QT, W4JAM, KK4XX and KV4YW for all the help.  

To reduce the load on the tower, a heavy chromoly mast was replaced by an aluminum one and the stacked beams were replaced with a single SteppIR DB-18E at 77 ft. which gives me 2 elements on 40 and 3 elements on 30-6.  I have particularly enjoyed having 3 elements on 30 meters!  I use a dipole on 80 and a folded umbrella on 160. For listening, I have three reversible beverages and like any dyed in the wool 160 mx op, I plan to add more receicving antennas as the spirit moves me and as time permits.

I use DXLab for logging, rig control, digital modes generation, spotting and automatic LOTW uploading. http://www.dxlabsuite.com/ You can see various parts of DXLab running in the shack photo above. If you are looking for a logging program, this is one of the best, and it is free!

While I am an inveterate DXer(waiting for a signal from North Korea to finish me up on DXCC), a group of friends have prevailed on me to return to contesting which was one of the things I enjoyed most in the 1950's and '60s.  I'll never be as good at contesting as I once was (if ever I was), but I'm having fun.

I retired from teaching after 35 years at Sweet Briar College as Professor Emeritus of Government and International Affairs and now happily spend much more time on the air chasing DX, contesting and working on my boatanchors.

Give me a call when you hear my signal. I QSL 100% via LOTW and am happy to send a QSL card via the bureau.


Ken - K4XL

6167768 Last modified: 2015-07-16 00:20:52, 5418 bytes

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