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I have only been a ham for a few years. I obtained my license in 2008. I was very active when I first started and was heavily involved in contesting and DX chasing. I made quite a number of contacts and had a lot of fun. 

But, I sold my house and for a couple of years I was off the air waves. In 2012, I eventually found my way back to the hobby and with some careful planning, I was able to get a few Yaesu radios for my shack as well as my vehicle and portable operation. I'm more of a casual ham operator nowadays, only getting on the radio every few days and weekends. Not really into contesting or DX chasing anymore, I have become more of a "rag chew" operator, enjoying conversation nowadays.

Home Setup

For base operations, I use a Yaesu FT-897D with the internal FP-30 power supply and an MD-100A8X microphone.  My base antenna is an MFJ-1788 HiQ magnetic loop 40m-15m antenna.

My new QTH resides in an HOA, so no outside antennas are allowed. However, I've got the MFJ-1788 installed on a 4 foot mast with a rotator. Since it's not too tall, and I have it sitting in the back yard, no one has said anything about it. It doesn't "look" like a traditional antenna, so I'm guessing they think it's some sort of satellite antenna (which I can have).

The MFJ-1788 isn't geared for folks who are "band jumpers" or "pounce mode" operators since it does need to be re-tuned after a few kHz change. 

After antenna installation, I did have to open up the MFJ-1788 loop and adjust the internal tuning loop wire. I managed to obtain a 1.2:1 SWR on all bands. The HiQ of the loop means that the kHz range is very narrow on each band. Here are the different bands and their kHz range for a 2.0 or below SWR. Once I go beyond this range, I must retune the loop before transmitting. It's a quick process and only takes a second or two to do.

40m 5 khz wide
20m 20 khz wide
17m 23 khz wide
15m 35 khz wide

Mobile Setup

For mobile operation, I am using a Yaesu FT-857D with an ATAS-120A antenna mounted on a Diamond K400C mount. It does pretty well for my needs and I've had alot of fun making contacts while on the road. I don't travel or drive a whole lot anymore, but it is fun to have when I want it. I am not normally a VHF/UHF operator, so I just use the ATAS-120A for those bands as well.

Portable Operation

My favorite way of operating is portable. I enjoy getting outside and taking along my Yaesu FT-817ND. I've used a variety of antennas, some home-brewed and some purchased.

My current two favorites are:

1) EARCHI end fed antenna - I set this up whenever there are supports to throw the wire into
2) Alexloop magnetic loop antenna - quick and easy setup for just about anywhere

Additional portable activities

I also take my FT-817ND backpacking with me. I'll make a few contacts backpacking, but then just sit back and listen to the shortwave broadcasts. The weekends are a great time to listen and you never know what you'll hear. I remember listening to my dad's short wave receiver when I was a kid. There's not as much activity nowadays, but there's still enough broadcasts to have a great time listening to them.

Summits on the Air (SOTA) is becoming more popular and I would like to start getting out there as an activator instead of a chaser all the time.


Other interests include

mead making, digital photography, backpacking, camping

73 David

6134882 Last modified: 2015-07-16 00:18:08, 3971 bytes

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