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Welcome to Radio Free Dacula

In October of 2008 my wife, Patricia, KB3MCT, and I (K7SZ) along with our 150 pound Alaskan Malamute, Oki Kuma, left the cold weather of northeastern Pennsylvania and moved to Dacula, GA, about 40 miles ENE of Atlanta just off of I-85. While we were not born in the south, we got here as fast as we could !


After retiring from the USAF in 1987 and living and working for 20 years in Wilkes-Barre, PA we had had enough of cold winters, flooding rivers, and living in the back yard of a nuclear power station. Our daughter, Gwen (KB4UNT) had married a young man from Buford, GA and, after numerous trips to Gwinnette County, GA we decided to buy a house and make a final move to a clime that is a LOT more favorable to our winter weary bodies!


Of course, moving 850 miles into the deep south involved transplanting our entire ham shack/electronics lab and all the gear, antennas, and the small bits and pieces necessary to interface the gear into a working station.


We moved in to our new houose in Dacula, GA, and after a period of time got the new shack set up. Eventually a 65 ft Rohn 25G tower found it's way onto my lot. A Cushcraft A3S HF tri-bander, along with a Cushcraft 13 element 2M beam and at the very tip-top is a Diamond dual band V/UHF ground plane. Off to the south side of the roof is a 40 ft push-up mast which holds up the center insulator of a 40M EDZ dipole. Finally a 5 ft roof tower handles a 6M Ringo. Not a great antenna farm but it definitely pulls in DX and that is the name of the game.


Between the move from PA to GA and my desire to cut back on ham radio I have sold off a huge amount of my gear. Currently I am using a nicely tricked out FT-817 (dual Collins SSB & CW IF filers, BAI on-board DSB, upgraded internal battery pack, etc), an Elecraft T-1 auto ATU, several out-board LiPo 3000 mA/hr battery packs, Alinco 12VDC bench power supply, homebrew QRP SWR/Pwr meter, N3ZN single and dual paddle CW paddles, and homebrew base station mic built around a bargain Radio Shack mic on sale for $5.00 and a repurposed desk lamp with an atriclated arm (just like "down town").


An old Icom 2M FM rig takes care of our local rag chew and ARES duties. About 2 yrs ago I picked up a brand NOS Midland 40 channel CB set which I use to monitor local CB traffic during emergencies. A Uniden 895 scanning receiver augments my EMCOM radio suite. This is an older scanner not capable of demodulation the local digital encrypted police/fire/EMS transmissions in Gwinnette county, but it works just fine for Barrow and Hall counties. I also use a piece of logging software from Black Bag Softwar to expand the scanner to 10,000 channels and provides auto logging and digital recording.


There is only one true boatanchor general coverage receiver, a NC-122 from the early-mid 1960s. It was an auction find but it is absolutely beautiful and works a treat. I am looking at expanding my boatanchor station by adding a Heathkit SB-301/401station in the very near future. I have aloways liked these rigs and with the Heath designs I can at least repair it if required. I do have one hybrid boatanchor: SBE-34 SSB rig (80-15M) made by Linear Systems and beautifully restored by Dale Parfitt, W4OP. It looks like it just came from the factory.


I have several QRP kit projects on the bench. I had taken about a 4 yr break in homebrewing small QRP rigs. Time to get "back in the saddle".


Over the years my by-line has appeared in the pages of QST, CQ, CQ-VHF, Popular Communications, Monitoring Times and National Monitoring magazines. Additionally I have written a total of 7 books on QRP, four for the ARRL. From January 2000 to December 2004 I wrote the QRP column in QST.


I was first licensed in 1963 as KN7YHA. Within a year I upgraded and dropped the "N" and held K7YHA until the mid 1990s, when I pickded up the vanity call. K7SZ (which rolls quite nicely on CW!!) Over the years I have collected and restored a huge amount of boatanchor vacuum tube gearl including some really cool military radio gear. Due to space restrctions I had to part with the majority of this gear, which was not a lot of fun at all!!


I enjoy experimenting with antennas, building and using QRP gear, SW Listening, and operating on the HF ham bans (mostly CW). I have held the following call signs while stationed overseas with the USAF: CT2BH (Azores), DL2NE (W. Germany), KA2AA (Japan prior to recip licensing), G5CSU (England).

7988962 Last modified: 2017-03-25 03:59:34, 6119 bytes

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