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QSL: DIRECT OR LOTW (email me if you need LoTW)

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I've cleaned up my QRZ page a bit but there is still lots of additional information at my website:  http://njdtechnologies.net/Special thanks to Larry McFarland, KY5S, for maintaining the site.

I conduct a quarterly column in CQ magazine entitled, "MF/LF Operating: Life Below the AM Broadcast Band" where I discuss a number of topics to enhance operating on 630-meters and 2200-meters.  The column is published in April, July, October, and January.  Send me an email at the address above if there is a topic you would like to see handled in the future.

It was an honor to be interviewed by Eric, 4Z1UG, on the "QSO Today" podcast about my ham history and 630-meter activities.  It can be heard at http://www.qsotoday.com/podcasts/kb5njd



KB5NJD at the operating position working CW on 630-meters


I have completed 9-Band DXCC, DXCC MIXED/PHONE/CW, 5-Band WAC with 160m and 30m endorsements, WAZ CW, and WAS CW. I have also completed 160 meter WAS and 160 meter DXCC on CW. I have also actively worked on 160m WAZ in the past and lack just a few zones. Also numerous awards for CW Sweepstakes, IARU HF World Championship, Low Band Monitor WAC, The Stew Perry Topband DX Challenge and Texas QSO Party.

I enjoy medium wave CW on 630 meters, now operating under amateur radio rules but previously as Part 5 experimental station WG2XIQ.  Details about the band and current activities are available on my website, linked at the top of this page.

First licensed in 1989, I have held an Extra class license since 1990. I also hold General Radiotelephone and 2nd Class Radiotelegraph commercial operators licenses (with radar endorsements).

I operate CW almost exclusively, but also operate a few digital modes on 630-meters.  I like QRQ (Fast) CW and find myself ragchewing more and more these days.  I prefer my Bencher iambic paddle, which I originally purchased from QRP Hall of Famer Jim Cates, WA6GER, when I was a young ham but also own a Vibroplex standard original bug.  SKCC#  is  13739 if we happen to QSO when I am using the bug.  I also have a Heathkit 1410 paddle/keyer combo that feels very nice and I use that with my 630-meter station. 

Primary transmit antenna for 630-meters and 2200-meters is an 80 foot tall vertical with 300 foot top loading wire over 150 - 100-ft radials.  The vertical is resonated by a motorized variometer controlled from within the ham shack.  A matching network is in place to allow the system to also be used on 160-meters.   Antenna base current monitoring of the 630-meter vertical is done remotely from the hamshack.  Short beverages in popular directions, K9AY Terminated loops, multiturn resonant loops and coaxial shielded loops are used as low band receive antennas.




How I came to be a Ham

As I was first licensed while in high school in the late 80's, I am very fortunate to have learned directly from many very experienced real radio men. I would not trade that experience for anything in the world. Most of them are silent keys now and are truly missed. My primary elmer was Jimmy Miles, KA5V (he is still alive, living on the golf course in Gatesville, TX from what I understand). Jimmy was a top of the Honor Roll DXer, complete with well equipped station and tall tower at the highest point in north Texas. He was the perfect radio role model for me. His son was one of my close friends so one day while I was over at their house, I asked about ham radio - I had wanted to be a ham since elementary school when I saw a film strip (remember those?) at school about it. My uncle, an electronics man in the Navy and CBer, encouraged me to do it as well. Within a month I had learned the code at 5 wpm and the Novice test material. Jimmy had gotten another ham, Bill Smith, KO5Y (SK), and we sat at his kitchen table as I took a hand written novice exam. The test was literally written on a lined, "Big Chief" note pad. There were no multiple choice questions - this was all fill in the blank.. I was up to the challenge because I was passionate about what I was doing and being a kid, I knew everything HI! After acing the written test, Jimmy sat me down in front of his TS-840 for the code test. I had to copy the W1AW 5 wpm code practice. I was ready for the test, but I was nervous. Somehow I fought through the test and Jimmy and Bill were satisfied (a lot more to this story to be expanded upon later). I was going to be a ham! I remember the day my novice ticket showed up. I was working as a student intern at the Superconducting Supercollider's forward development complex in Desoto, TX that summer and rushed home daily to check the mail - it took about 6 weeks then! Remember the 1980's movie "A Christmas Story" where Ralphie is waiting on his "Little Orphan Annie" decoder pin to arrive in the mail? It was like that. I opened the envelope from the FCC and was in awe of the official FCC document, complete with smeared carbon imprint from the impact printer. These were not nice laser forms like we have today. These were only a step up from a mimeograph sheet! I actually had a hard time reading my call sign at first but a little effort revealed that I was KB5NJD and I knew I would be for the remainder of my life. I worked phone on 10m and remember my first QSO was KC4ASM in TN. He sent me a QSL card on a 3 X 5 note card as he did not have anything else at the time. I was very appreciative. I also operated 15, 40 and 80m CW because I was preparing for the general code test (13 wpm). I loved 80m Novice CW on a cold winter night using the Swan 500CX. I had been bitten by the DX bug and had also heard the DFW traffic net on the Dallas repeater while listening on my scanner. In fact, hearing that 2m net piqued my curiosity about traffic handling. This was something I wanted to do. After a few months I upgraded to Technician and could check into the traffic net. I learned a lot and it was not too long before I was a net control station. I wanted to be a net liaison for the HF nets but they operated outside of my operating privileges so I started working hard on the general upgrade. Like before, I had no problem passing the theory. And no, I did not memorize the material like so many do today. Those were different times and I was a homebrewer with a lot of positive technical influence surrounding me. I struggled getting over the 10 wpm hump, however, but finally passed the 13 wpm code at a test session at Hardin Electronics in Fort Worth one monday night. That was an interesting test session. There were several of us sitting in the back room waiting to take the code test. I was the youngest followed by 3 or 4 old men. The code test started and I felt like I had solid copy.  Judging from what I wrote down, that was the case. I got the test and nothing looked right! I knew I had the right answers! I emphatically raised my hand and said, "uh, this is the wrong test!" The old men and testers kinda laughed and insured me that I was wrong. I emphatically stated again that it was the wrong test and they looked at what I had copied and agreed... The sad part is that one of the guys had already turned in his test. He had guessed on all of the answers and I don't recall if they gave him the chance to try again.  I, however, aced the code test and had greatly expanded my privileges. I was very active chasing DX on phone and CW, acting as an NCS station in the local 2m NTS net and functioning as a liaison station on HF for the Texas CW Net and Texas Traffic Net. Being a high school student about the enter college, I have no idea how I had time for all of this! A few months later, I passed the Advanced exam, which I consider to be the hardest of all ham exams. As an avid CW operator and someone with technical experience, I was ready a month later for the Extra exam. The theory was no problem and neither was the code. I sat across from Jim Bellamy, WB5NOF, at the TU Electric building in Duncanville, TX and we copied the 20 wpm test with no problems and we both upgraded to Extra that night. It was the summer of 1990 and was the start of a lifelong adventure. I was an armchair traveler and I was ready to get out of town... There is a LOT more to this story and I hope to chronicle those experiences and adventures going forward. I have written volumes about my personal on-air experiences and hope to some day transcribe those stories for public consumption. Ham radio is more than a hobby. It is a way of life.  If you don't understand that, you just have to look harder.

Below is the first tower that I had at my parents house while in high school from which all those great DX adventures occurred.  My ham life read like Bob Locher's book, "The Complete DXer".  Such great times...



73 and see you in the pile up!!!


8404107 Last modified: 2017-10-22 16:14:23, 10771 bytes

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