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Ham Member Lookups: 1763


(Revised October 2017)

I'm Dave, a relatively new ham: 2015 General, 2017 Extra; VE7LKE (BC) & VE0DAT (High Seas) - 2017. I have spent over 50 years intending to get my licence "someday" and have also spent much of my career in wireless, but it took my daughter getting her licence (W1MEG) to spur me into action. She also introduced me to the weak signal digital modes JT-65 (and now FT-8) which have become my favorites for DX.

My main home is in Scottsdale, Arizona. My wife and I live in a restricted community that forbids antennas (and she is not very fond of them either) so I have already become somewhat of an expert in deploying "stealthy" ones. My best antenna is the 133' off-center fed dipole (Windom) from myantennas.com. It has been great for QRP digital work from 80 to 10 meters. I also have a 141' Bullet sloper from Palomar Engineering and I just installed a BigIR 33' vertical which I can erect after dark and lay down before dawn. You can read my report on several stealth antennas at k7dat.net/stealth/AntennaSmackdown2.pdf.

The photo at the top of the page shows my operating station and my mini-museum of ham radios (all working) covering the past 50 years, which I could have been operating! The rack with the two receivers and the SignaLinks is my JT-65/9/FT-8  monitoring station which reports to pskreporter.com.

These STR 8212 HF receivers are very interesting: they date from the early 90s and were among the very first to make extensive use of Digital Signal Processing. They were designed and manufactured by STC in the UK for several Commonwealth surveillance agencies. Unfortunately they had a higher price ($25,000 at the time!) and lower reliability than the competing Racal unit, so fewer than 100 were made. They remain a very high performance receiver even by today's standards, perfect for weak signal work with a very high dynamic range and a very wide channel bandwidth.

I was fortunate enough to acquire an STR 8212 twenty five years ago. I fired it up every once in a while for SWL until it started failing in December 2015, then I undertook the task of finding another of these very rare radios for spare parts. With the help of VK2BLC, whom I found on these pages, I was actually able to acquire two units which he had rescued from defense surplus in Australia. I also discovered a couple of other hams that had STR 8212s in the UK and North Carolina. I was able to repair my original unit and make another working receiver out the two from Australia. And I was able to copy my more recent firmware eproms to help my new ham friends solve an AGC issue.

My "ham museum" includes several classic tube radios: a Drake 2-B receiver from the early 60s, a Hallicrafters SX-122 receiver from the mid-60s, a complete Collins S-line station from the 70s, and a hybrid transistor/tube  Kenwood TS-820S transceiver from 1980. The leap in technology ten years later in the STR 8212's  microprocessor (Motorola 68000) controlled, DSP intense, VLSI implemented receiver is astounding. 

My operating rig is an ICOM IC-7700, mostly on SSB phone and digital JT/FT8. I have had many years of very positive experience with ICOM marine and airband tranceivers, so choosing ICOM was a no-brainer. 

In 2016 I purchased a "summer cottage" on Cowichan Lake in British Columbia. It has no restrictions on antennas (except the XYL and neighbourly politeness) but has several metal roofs which are my next challenge/opportunity. Bought an ICOM IC-7300 for the cottage and will add it to my Arizona shack as backup during winters.

Got my Canadian license (VE7LKE for LaKE) so I no longer have to identify as K7DAT/Portable/VE7... 






8453811 Last modified: 2017-11-15 05:31:32, 4358 bytes

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