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My op name is "Joe" and I have lived in Jacksonville, Florida for 60 years. I am a retired Mailhandler from the Jacksonville Bulk Mail Center (30 years, same location). I am Army in a Navy town, 32nd Signal Battalion out of Fort Gordon, GA in 1972 (31M20, radio relay). First licensed in 1983 as a Novice (thanks Mike, N4EPD), I presently hold a General class ticket and I have an old CSCE for 20 WPM, 5 minutes solid, thanks mainly to W1AW. Nowadays, I usually hang out on 146.460 FM, 28.390 USB (10X#49014), 7.251 for SCARS (bus ticket #1345), or 7.050 for CW in the old Novice tradition (SKCC #11934). The Antron-99 vertical @ 50 feet works great for 10 and 15. For a dipole antenna, I just run a 135-ft. G5RV @ 30 feet. The newest additions to the rig are the ALS-600, just enough to heat up that wire a bit in the middle, and the ATR-30 "monster" tuner, the ultimate roller-inductor, what we used to call a "wave-meter" in the Army.

Antenna set-up as of 2013: Antron-99 @ 50 feet (no ground-plane kit), 4-element 144 mhz beam, G5RV with 9-strand 10 AWG. I swapped out the 2 meter Diamond seen here in the foreground for a 6 meter RINGO in February. Next project is the 10 meter dipole made of 3/8-inch copper tubing salvaged from my old A/C unit, a 3-inch ceramic insulator, stainless steel hardware, and fed with RG-213/U, a 5 KW antenna! (Too bad, I only have 500 watts to play with.) I'm gonna hang it from the G5RV, at an E-W orientation. Stay tuned...

Here we go... FRANKENTENNA ! Rabbit ears for 10 meters. Works like a charm from 29 mhz down to 21 mhz with a tuner, can't beat it. That copper tubing is a bit brittle after 20 years of carrying the liquid-line in my old A/C unit but as long as the center is well secured, it will stay up without bending. Now if I could only get it up to 40 feet off the ground...

Looks like another close call (actually, 8-10 miles away). Afternoons in NE Florida can stir up some mighty fine "thunder-boomers" and wreak havok on your equipment, kill your Oaks and ruin your computer. Some times, I even leave the room when it get's to that point!

My first radio shack in high school, a Realistic DX-150 and a 3 channel CB "walkie-talkie", crystal-controlled with channels 9, 10, and 18 (substitute crystal for the boys in JAX). Notice the "wind-up" clock over the speaker. WWV with a bell. Those are "Popular Electronics" magazines to the far left, not quite "Playboy" ... I built my first one-tube transmitter from those PE mags.

My other "hobby" at Carnoustie, Scotland, 2008. Real golf, real friends, real weather, real caddies.


Me at Gleneagles, trying to find the fairway with 3-wood. Good luck....

I can fish, too... (with my surviving High School buds, Key West 2014) I never ate raw fish before...! YUM!

Some old pixel art work from "SpectrumArc" (Windows FrontPage '98)... Moon Golf Hoot! ("SpectrumArc" was featured in the Florida Times-Union once upon a time, in the "Web Watch" column February 27, 1998. I came home from work and had over 400 hits to the site. WOW! I've gone VIRAL!!!) The main theme on this page was about using bioluminescent grass to play golf at night, something I won't live to see but something that will thrill the golfer of the future, if and when Aedes Aegypti becomes an "endangered species" on Earth or better yet,... extinct.

6EB7: An old receiver pentode. You can't work 'em if you can't hear 'em.

The J-38's. The one in the back is the oldest. The one in the front is the quickest. The one in the middle has my heart. It's a LIONEL "hybrid", substituting the older spring for a newer one, the newer binding posts for the older ones, and the original slide-switch knob for the newer knob. The base has the original orange Signal Corps. stamp on it, suggesting that it is possible that I've used it before .... Also, a mint US ARMY Signal Corps. J-38 from the post-wars still sits in the box (too stiff to use). It's pretty to look at but that's about all. A man's key is as personal as his boots are. He had better get comfortable with it if he wants to rattle it and make it "sing" Morse code.


This is one I haven't used on the air yet but it works well. It too, has an orange Signal Corps. stamp underneath it (30238A) and it's probably older than I am. The "spring" is unique in that it is a tinned, metal "tongue" from the right terminal to the central knurled knob. This is old tech but it works surprisingly well, with good recoil. As far as straight-keys go, it holds it's own.

Here is the latest, a Begali "Blade". Very nice. By far the most solid straight key I've ever used. It must be that elusive "Cadillac" of straight keys I've been looking for all of my life. If this one doesn't help smooth out my CW, nothing will.

The new and improved version of a CW machine, the Begali "Contour" with magnetic return, faster than I will ever be with it. Thank you, Pietro Begali, master inventor-craftsman. This is the smoothest iambic paddle (Contour No. 149) that I've ever used, even at 20 WPM. 

The old trusty Vibroplex on stand-by, Always a dependable workhorse. It's a hefty one but it's sensitive enough. I also keep an old Bencher on the shelf for a real emergency. After using a Begali paddle, I'll never go back to anything less except maybe just for kicks.

Some momentous occassions as KB4FOS:

Me and "Bicycle Dave", N3ICN, working 20 meter Field Day at 4 AM. He worked SSB and I worked code. We did the duty while the team slept. That's how you score on Field Day..

Capturing Shoemaker-Levy 9 "G" impact on AES facsimile software; forgetting to save the file. ARGH!

Calling CQ SKN (Straight Key Night) with the "glove-key", reliable communications through the thumb and forefinger at about 7 WPM...

Harry's (KS4ID) antenna party of 1995 and Field Day, 1995: That Kenwood TS-440s was SO HOT, it rattled Harry's hot water heater solenoid down in the garage hard enough that you could read it clearly on CW...

The Late Night Crunch Bunch and toe-nail chewin' topics of discussion...

The 2001 Wacky Wing Ding Society picnic and Bono's babyback ribs.

Temporarily forgetting my Part 97.113(a)(4) and regretting the "splatter" on 2 meter FM, like we have all done...

Talking directly to Sandor (KG4FET) out in Texas on 28.390, as crystal clear as cool spring water. Talking directly to Sandor out in Texas on 50.130, as crystal clear as cool spring water. The RINGO works, even at 20 feet above sea level.

Making friends and others on 11 meter AM. We all dig radio, just a different kind of radio...

Please QRS for the straight-key, my fellow CW brass pounders. We like DX too, but we are tortoises, not hares.



DXCC count (unconfirmed) at QRZ.com as of 12/07/17 :  176  (last worked HC8LUT) 




8498314 Last modified: 2017-12-07 18:28:50, 9274 bytes

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United States Counties Award#1818
Granted: 2016-07-19 23:08:03   (KB4FOS)

  • 100 Counties Mixed
World Continents Award#3713
Granted: 2015-02-14 20:00:02   (KB4FOS)

  • 10 Meters Mixed
Grid Squared Award#3135
Granted: 2015-02-14 19:55:04   (KB4FOS)

  • 10 Meters Mixed
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