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I am a retired Lutheran elementary school teacher/principal enjoying ham radio and being a house spouse. My wife is also a retired teacher so we are out and about a lot. In the early '70s, I volunteered for the U.S.. Marine Corps and served four years, nine months, twenty-six days, thirteen hours, fifty-six minutes and some odd seconds during President Ford's administration. My primary training was as a Bombardier/Navigator in the A-6E Intruder aircraft and I accumulated 425 hours of flight time. I was honorably discharged from the Corps with the rank of Captain.  Due to severe osteo-arthritis, CW and typing are nearly imposible.  So, for PSK31 communications, I mainly use the macros with oppologies to the ham radio purists.  Also, PSK31, FT-8, and JT65 have taken the place of CW for me.  As of June, 2017, I have made 70 trips around the sun and my wife and I have been holding hands for the last 43 of those trips.  Finely, I have been relicensed since 10-28-2008 and earned my Extra Class on 01-27-2009.  In another life, another place, and another time (i.e., late '60s and early '70s), I was known as WB0CLF.  Then, I went silent for 30 years due to life's changes and challenges.  At one time or another, I have enjoyed scuba diving, fishing, hunting, recreational target shooting, and photography as hobbies.

The picture above is of our QRM cats.  Annie is in the forground and Harley to the rear.  My wife and I are the proud support staff for this pair of felines.  They are quite intertaining and full of supprising behavors.  They are always wondering why there are little people in the speaker boxes.  When I am working a net or a contest, either one or the other (or both) will strut accross my radio bench demanding my attention. 

I enjoy trading QSL cards. I like to do it directly with paper cards--just send your card and I'll respond with a card. No SASE envelope needed. I have set up an eQSL account so I can receive and send electronic QSL's. I will print out the QSL's for my paper collection. Due to the rise of the USPS rates and living on a fixed income, I have to limit my mailings. If you want a paper card, just email me with your request and I'll drop one into the USPS mail system for you. I will send out eQSL's first and send out paper QSL's if requested.

I am active on 2Ms in the Chicagoland area including being net control for a couple of 2M FM nets. I am able to work about 15 2M FM machines.  I play with 2M ssb and digital modes as well.  My 2M ssb/data antenna system is a pair of phased, KB6KQ loops mounted 30 feet high.  My 2M/70CM fm antenna is an Hustler G6-270R mounted at 36 feet. I just set up the 70CM system and I am just beginning to play on this band.

On the HF bands, I have confirmed contacts in all 50 states and over 56 countries.  My main modes of operation are JT-65, FT-8, and PSK31 digital modes.  I am mainly found on the 40M, 20M, & 15M digital locations with a visit every now and then on the other HF bands.  I also check into some of the HF ssb nets as time permits.  Plus, I am a VE for two ham radio clubs in the Chicagoland area.

My base station rig is an Icom IC-7100 radio.  I use this rig to do all my activity on the HF, VHF, & UHF bands.  I employ the MFJ-993b, Intellituner to match the rig to the HF antennas.  My digital setup includes a SignaLink USB inferface and a Dell mini-laptop (WIN-10) utilizing Fldigi software for PSK31 and the latest WSJT-X software (v1.8.0-rc3) for FT-8 & JT65.  My HF antenna is an MFJ-1788 mag-loop plus various experimental wire antennas. I just put up a "MyAntenna" End-Fed-Long-Wire (EFLW-1K) antenna on the pulley system. I am having fun playing with it. With the MFJ-993b tuner, it covers all 10 of the 160 through 6 meter bands.

The station power supply​ is an MFJ-4245MV Switching power supply. The whole station is 12 (13.8) volt based.  The station laptop can be powered by the 12 volt setup.  I have used power pole connectors through out the station. 

My portable/qrp station ​is made up of an Yaesu FT-817ND feeding a HardRock-50 power amp with a built in auto tuner.  I am able to work ssb, JT65, FT-8, and PSK31 modes. I can go from less than 5 watts qrp to 45 watts out to the antenna.  I have a collection of 12 volt SLA-AGM batteries totalling 28 Ah with a solar panal set generating 46 watts controlled by a Bubbiploe POWERmini charge contoller.  I have collected a BuddyPole antenna system, an Alex mag-loop antenna, plus a few other portable antennas.  I use my base station Dell mini-laptop in the field with the software mentioned above. The laptop is interfaced with the FT-817 through a SignaLink USB interface.  I operate portable in the local forest preserves, county parks, and church parking lots.

 

View of my base station antenna system

I am limited to the space between my house and the neighbor's.  The front mast has my 2M/70CM antennas, the KB6KQ loops (30 feet) for 2M ssb and digital modes and the G6-270R (36 feet) vertical for 2M/70CM fm. Attached to this mast is a horizonal mast and pulley system (25 feet) for experimantal wire antennas. At the present time, I have put up a "MyAntenna" End-Fed-Long-Wire (EFLW-1K) antenna (this antenna covers 160M through 6M) on the pulley system.  The rear mast has my MFJ-1788 mag-loop (34 feet) on it and this antenna covers the 40M through 15M.

This photo is a close up of the pulley system with the EFLW antenna attached. 

This photo shows the mast bases and the widow feed-through panel. The mag-loop mast is in the sunlight next to the fireplace cleanout.  The vhf/uhf mast with pulley system is to the left of the chimney base.  Each mast and the feed-through panel are grounded each to its own 8' ground rod.  The panel has Polyphaser lightning suppresseres for each antenna cable as a feed-through.  The exception is the mag-loop antenna cable.  It can't be grounded so it goes through a PVC feed-through.

  

​My old shack

When I first got back into ham radio in 2008, I built this shack in the basement.  It was a Kenwood based setup. The base of the masts for the antennas was just outside of the window in the photo.  I took out the window vent and installed a sheet metal plate with lightning protectors as feed-throughs. I made a lot of contacts with this setup and had a lot of fun working from here.  Due to health issues, I had to relocate my shack to my home office.  The new shack is just 6 feet up and 3 feet over from this location.  The old shack is now a storage place for radio pieces and parts.

 

​My new shack

 

My new shack is ICOM based and part of my home office.  The IC-7100 all mode, multi-band rig is located to the right of the TV set along with the MFJ-993b Intellituner, the SignLink, the CN-801 vhf/uhf SWR meter, and the MFJ-4245 switching power supply. On the right of the desk is the 7100 control head. The speaker is bolted underneath the shelf just above the control head. Above the speaker is the station surge protector and a Baofeng two band HT with its charging stand.  The station laptop (the smaller laptop) is in the center of the desk with the office laptop to the left on the desk.

 

​My portable station

This is a photo of my portable station setup as described above. Not all the items described are shown.  Each portable setup is mission driven and only the items needed are packed up and taken out to the field.

 

8498448 Last modified: 2017-12-07 19:53:03, 8727 bytes

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