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My Equipment:

HF: Yaesu FT-450D, LDG YT-450 Autotuner, Heil Pro-Set Elite 6 headset w/foot pedal, SignaLink USB
VHF/UHF: Yaesu FT-8800, Yaesu FT-60R HT, Alinco DJ-580T HT
Samlex SEC 1235M 30 Amp switching power supply
Dell D620 Laptop running Windows 7
Ham Radio Deluxe 5.24
Antennas: Below is a picture of my antenna setup.
For VHF/UHF, I'm currently running an Ed Fong 2m/70cm J-pole at 30 feet. The free-standing mast consists of three interlocked 10' sections of Rohn 16 gauge steel pipe. The lowest mast section is buried about six inches in the ground and secured at six feet and nine feet with Rohn 4" galvanized stand-off wall mounts bolted to the deck. This excellent dual band J-pole antenna is so light and exhibits such minimal wind load that I don't even feel the need to guy the mast.
For HF, I have a 131' 80m Windom off-center-fed dipole at 35 feet and strung between three tall trees with 3/16" poly rope, several pullies, and a spring system. I used a sling shot to launch a 3/4 ounce steel weight tied to 20lb test monofilament line over the best branches for support. I then pulled up the 3/16" poly rope and constructed a pully system using laundry line pullies. Once the pullies were in place, more poly rope was threaded through them and attached to each end of the Windom. For the center Balun, a screen door spring was attached to the top and acts as a shock absorber during strong winds.
I also have an Imax 2000 5/8 wave 10m vertical at 35 feet using more of the Rohn 16 gauge steel mast. The mast is bolted to the side of the house using more Rohn 4" Stand-offs.
I use the Windom for 80m, 40m, 20m, and 15m while the Imax 2000 does a great job on 10m and 12m and is serviceable on 15m and 17m with a tuner.
The J-Pole on the left and the Imax 2000 on the right:
Here is a better view of the J-pole and the 4:1 balun of the Windom.
A close up of the balun and it's spring system.
One of the pullies.
The other pully.
Mobile VHF: Icom IC-2100H 2m Mobile rig
Mobile Antennas: Comet SBB-5NMO and SBB-1NMO(for parking in the garage!) on a permanent NMO mount, drilled in the center of the vehicle roof.
My Radio Autobiography:
I know this is long, but it is the complete story of my path to Amateur Radio and beyond.
Ever since I was a young child, I have had a fascination with radio communication. In 1984, when I was just six years old, I received my first pair of Archer Space Patrol 49 MHz walkie-talkies from Radio Shack. I was amazed at the ability to talk to someone almost one hundred feet away without any wires. Later that year, I got a pair of 49MHz headsets that were all compatible with my earlier radios. I could now ride my bike and talk to my friend in front of me!
Around 1990, one of my friends, who lived down the street, got a Realistic TRC-218 2 Watt 3 Channel CB walkie-talkie with Channel 17 crystals pre-loaded. I had to pick one up myself in order to keep up with the neighborhood! We were able to talk to each other from over a quarter of a mile away. This was incredible. We soon discovered that if we reversed the transmit and receive crystals, we could talk on private 'dark' channels that were less crowded.
This was just great until my friend upgraded to a small Cobra 40 channel CB. I then acquired an entry level Uniden 40 channel CB with a Pyramid 5A power supply and an indoor CB dipole antenna. I used tape to hang my 11m half-wave dipole around my room but, after several weeks, I realized that I needed to mount it outside. So, I ran the included 20 feet of coaxial cable out of my window and hung the dipole under the eave of my parent's house. This was a BIG improvement in that I could now hear around town!
As 1991 rolled around, my friends and I were getting more and more into CB radio. We had heard of these mythical 'ham' radios that you could make work on the CB channels and they had a lot of cool stuff like frequency displays and FM transmission. I took the plunge to buy a Uniden HR2510 10m Ham radio and modified it to work on the CB channels. This thing could do all of the 'dark' channels and it put out about 30 watts to boot. This was right during the peak of a sun spot cycle and 11m was open all day long every day. I was working 'skip' like crazy and talking to people from all over the country. I did this for months and it was awesome except, after a while, the craziness of the CB bands and lack of uniformity or consistency began to wear on me. I had an uncle who was a ham and had discussed some of my CB experiences with him. He encouraged me to "go legit" and get my amateur radio license.
So during the early summer of 1992, after finishing eighth grade, I decided to take the leap and study for my ham radio license. I was just going to get the new 'no-code' technician license to check out ham radio, but I realized that I wanted to get onto the world wide bands as well. And that meant studying Morse code. Armed with my newly-acquired Gordon West Novice and Technician exam manuals and the accompanying audio cassette tapes, I spent one week straight studying for the two written exams and the 5 words per minute Morse code exam.
I had never before been as nervous as I was during those exams. My palms were sweaty and it was difficult to focus. The Novice written was not too bad. The Technician exam was a bit more difficult. And then the Morse code test was fairly tough. It felt like it was going a lot faster than I had practiced! I became discouraged a few times but had to tell myself to refocus on the dits and dahs. At the end of the exam, I was exhausted.
On that day, June 20th, 1992, at 14 years of age, I passed every one of the exams I had taken and received my Technician Plus license with the full privileges of a Novice and Technician. I was now an Amateur Radio Operator!
The only thing left was to wait for the FCC to issue my call sign to me in the mail. I had heard rumors that it sometimes took up to 12 weeks to receive a call sign. This was one of the longest waiting times of my life. I used to watch for the mailman and check the incoming mail every day. Then, after just six weeks in early August, my official license arrived!
I was extremely proud to finally be KD6MFR. I entered the world of ham radio and have never looked back. I immediately sold my HR2510 and purchased an Alinco DJ-580T dual band handheld. I had a great time getting to know fellow hams around the area on the 2 meter and 70 cm bands. It was such a refreshing change from the monotony of CB radio.
I built a two meter 1/4 wave ground plane antenna out of some spare wire and an SO-239 connector. I then duct taped it to a small exhaust pipe on my parent's roof. Unfortunately, we lived under a home owner's association which prohibited external antennas. I had to be rather stealthy at what I could put up.
That October, again using Gordon West's books and audio tapes, I was able to pass the written and 13 wpm code test and upgrade to my General class license. I was itching to get on HF, so by this time I was able to scrounge enough cash to buy a used Yaesu FT-747GX 100 watt solid state rig. I then built a 40m dipole that I hung one end in a nearby tree, and the other end was attached to the chimney. I was able to make quite a few contacts with this antenna.
In February of 1993, I passed my Advanced written exam. During this time, I was primarily starting to work 40m CW. I really enjoyed the code and I put my microphone in a drawer and forgot about it. I did pass my Extra class written exam in April, but even with practice, I wasn't ready for the 20 wpm code test quite yet. A few weeks before I took the last code test, I started using a computer to send random QSOs to me at 20+ wpm. This was very difficult at first but it got me used to hearing the faster code being sent.
On June 19th, 1993, at age 15 and exactly 365 days after passing my first amateur radio exam, I passed my 20 wpm Morse code test and earned an Amateur Extra Class License! I was very happy and excited to have reached the pinnacle of a hobby that I greatly enjoyed.
For the next couple of years, I kept working 40m CW. I eventually was able to copy 38 wpm from a computer. In 1996, I graduated from high school and went off to college at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. I was majoring in computer engineering so, unfortunately, I didn't have a lot of time for radio activities. I did join the school radio club but I was not very active. During the summer before my sophomore year, I came back to my hometown and became a Volunteer Examiner.
I graduated in 2001 with my BS in computer engineering and went to work for Cisco Systems in San Jose, CA. Now that I was living near a Ham Radio Outlet, my ham interest was sparked again and I purchased an Icom IC-2100H 2m 55 watt mobile rig and a Larsen half wave glass mount for my vehicle. I installed the antenna, but never took the Icom out of the box. I just used my Alinco HT in the car. The mobile rig was put into a storage box and filed away.
Due to a multitude of life factors I became inactive again in 2002. Fast forward nine years through deciding to become a dentist, living in San Francisco, getting married, deciding to become a pediatric specialist, moving to Chicago, having our first child, and then moving to the Kansas City area.
During the summer of 2011, I was unpacking a few boxes from our recent move and lo-and-behold what did I find? The Icom IC-2100H still in its box! I decided to throw it into my current car so I could play around with it on my daily commute. I picked up a cheap mag mount 1/4 wave and installed the mobile. This got me back into ham radio once again. My parents sent me my old Alinco HT and my Yaesu 747. The Alinco needed a new battery and it still works great. The 747 on the other hand doesn't receive or transmit anymore.
Since then, I picked up a Yaesu FT-60R dual band HT, FT-8800 dual band mobile, and an FT-450D HF/50MHz rig. For VHF/UHF, I'm currently running an Ed Fong 2m/70cm J-pole on a steel mast at 35 feet. For HF, I have a 131' 80m Windom off-center-fed dipole, also at 35 feet but strung between three tall trees.
Since getting back into ham radio, I have been active on 2m/70cm FM, FM satellites, 10m, 12m, and 20m SSB, 40m CW, and 20m PSK31. Well, that's just a little bit about my radio adventures. Thanks for reading! 73s


6384017 Last modified: 2015-07-16 00:33:00, 12892 bytes

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