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Hello to the world from Boston, Massachusetts, USA!

***National Parks on the Air***  This is such a great event and good reason for me to visit my local national parks.  To date, I've activated 11 units and chased over 160.  I never thought I could run HF from the Camaro QTH, but it's actually working well.  Listen for me on both 20m and 40m.

I'm not one to brag, but I am proud that I was the first to activate NS61, Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site in Mt. Vernon, NY.  I did this while I was in the area on a business trip.  Taking my rig with me on my trip was well worth it to be able to not only activate the park, but then to take the time to enjoy the site and the church itself.  I will also take credit as the main activator for the JFK Home NHS, NS41, in Brookline, MA.  I worked out all of the details with the park staff - not only did my team and I get to operate in the back yard of the home, but we were asked to do it during the JFK birthday celebration weekend.  I'm also pleased to have worked out the details to get our own booth from which to activate Salem Maritime, NS62, during their annual Maritime Festival.  These are all great honors that I am so happy to have pursued.  I was also lucky enough to be an activator of the Boston Historic Park, HP04, from the battleship USS Cassin Young, from within the ship's radio room no less!  One thing NPOTA has taught me is that our National Park Service has much more to offer than I ever realized.  Get out there and visit the parks folks!  You won't be let down!

NPOTA QSL Cards - I've received a few QSL cards for my activations (some with $ and some with SASE).  I promise, I WILL QSL back!  I'm going to make special QSL cards for the event.  Please be patient, and I love the cards!


***The Morse code requirement was something that kept me from even trying to get licenced years ago.  Now that it's been dropped, I figured that learning it would be pointless and it wasn't something I considered doing.  Yet I found myself becoming intregued and I starting off by learning my name and some simple phrases in Morse code, and then I found myself keying off highway signs back in November/December 2015....then, I found that many NPOTA activators were working CW, as do many DX and DXPedition stations.  I was in a quandry.  The NPOTA activators really charged me, and I was lucky enough to find Emily, KB3VVE, another NPOTA fan, who also wanted to learn CW.  We challenged each other to learn and practice and we opted to send children's bedtime stories to each other on 40m.  Let me tell you, it worked!  I'm running around 7.5wpm right now, and hope to pass the 10wpm ARRL qualifying run soon.  Why the change of heart?  I don't know, but the mental challenge is real, and the need to focus is crazy.  But I find myself enjoying it, and learning it without the pressure of having to know it for a license makes it so much more fun.

***I am on Logbook of the World***  I upload my files often, and it's even easier now that I'm a QRZ subscriber.  All of my contacts are logged here and on LotW.  I'm hoping to get WAS on 20m Digital as my starting point.

***I finished designing and received my own QSL cards (August, 2015).  If you send me a QSL card direct (my address above is correct), I will send you one back as well.  No SAE or postage needed (but always appreciated) - even for my non-domestic contacts!  As I am new to HF and world DXing, I'm looking forward to getting and sending QSL cards!  My QRZ profile picture you see is the front of the card.  It's a picture of the Boston skyline that I took from the Boston Museum of Science.***  The back of the card is your standard QSO information, with room for stamp, address, notes...I got 250 of these babies and they all need a good home!

***I successfully crushed my personal DX record***  The CQ WW RTTY Contest (Sept 2015) was a great time to make digital contacts around the world.  Conditions were prime on 20m and I couldn't believe the stations I was hearing.  Until this point, my best contacts were:
OD5ZZ in Lebanon at 5400miles (8700km) away on 20m SSB - I didn't think I could do better than that until
I had a few other 5000+mile contacts on phone and digital, but it wasn't until the contest that I was able to reach out and be heard by some really distant places.
A65EE UAE - 6650miles
E51AAR South Cook Islands - 7100miles
ZL3JT New Zealand - 9300miles

***My Ham Radio History - I got my license in March of 2015.  I passed my Technician and General tests on the same night and I was itching to get on the air.  Took another two weeks before my call sign was released, but as soon as it was, I was on chatting on the local repeaters using a borrowed HT (thanks KC1AJJ!).

I purchased my HF radio over Memorial Day weekend of 2015 - a Yaesu FT-450D.  It's a great starter radio that covers all of the HF bands and 6m.  While it may not be very efficient, my first antenna is a homemade 20m dipole that I strung up in my attic, feeding it with some 75ohm TV coax that I had left over.  It's a good thing my house is just about 34feet long to fit the dipole!

I was amazed how quickly I was up talking to contacts in Eastern Europe and Russia, nearly 5000miles away, pumping out only 65W of power!  I increased the power but my house smoke detectors started false alarming!  I mostly fixed that issue with a air choke and some ferrite beads. 

I'm hooked!  I've been interested in the hobby since I was a kid when I was introduced to ham radio by a friend's father.   I'm glad I finally made the effort to get licensed because this is a very interesting hobby.  I enjoy tinkering and electronics - I'm a mechanical engineer by profession, so it fits with my interests.

Not satisfied with my starter antenna, I went further.  In August, 2015, I picked up a 1:1 balun, more 14gage wire, some real RF coax, and my daughter and I spent a few afternoons shooting fishing line and paracord up into the trees next to the QTH to pull up a flat topped 20m dipole.  Not only is the new antenna better trimmed/tuned for 20m, but it's also 15feet further up in the air.  Unobstructed by house itself, signals are stronger and clearer.  And, to top it off, I was no longer causing false alarms on the smoke detectors.

Still not satisfied, especially with the down turn in 20m during the winter once the sun goes down, I upgraded the balun in December, 2015, to hold a homemade 40/20/10m fan dipole.  It also gets me on 15m, so I've effectivly quadrupled my operating bands.  I've already made contacts on all four bands, so it's working pretty well.  It did, however, set off a smoke detector again.  I'm going to have to look into this further.  I know something is getting back into the shack because my computer monitor "flickers" a bit whenever I key up at 100W power.  This is a situatiotion that I'm going to contiue to monitor.  I'm not doing any antenna work though until Spring when it gets warm again. 

Even though the fan does grant me more options, I still prefer 20m only because I'm trying to get WAS on digital on 20m first.  But clearly, you can also find me on the other bands.  I'm operating on SSB phone, PSK, and RTTY, and now CW!!!  I'm doing "digital" comm using a SignaLink USB module and my home PC. 

While I did ground my station to a 5ft copper pipe down in the ground, I still should take some steps to guard against lighting.

I'd be happy to have a QSO with you!  One of the cats may even want to chat.  This is Beanie.  She's the cat appearing on my QSL cards at my daughter's beset.

This was my other cat, Rocky (sk)

And just because everyone who checks my QRZ page while they are talking to me say they like my 2010 Chevy Camaro, here's another picture for you.  This is my car at an autocross event.  I like how it's "dressed".

I am a SKYWARN trained, weather spotter.  I got to call in my first hail report on August 4th, 2015 during the severe weather outbreak, which included a tornado warning for my area.

I am a counselor for Radio Merit Badge for the Boy Scout troop in which I'm an assistant Scoutmaster.  I passed my first five scouts on the badge, and they had a great time working the country and beyond as part of their "on air" time.  I even got a few of them to participage in the 2015 Jambo on the Air, and the 2016 ARRL Kids Day event.  My daughter even (finally) got on the air for that event.

8216998 Last modified: 2017-07-14 20:22:13, 12343 bytes

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Granted: 2015-10-03 01:50:02   (KC1DKY)

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