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KF2T: Celebrating 40 Years On The Air

 

Watch this Space for Grid-Expedition News
 Transcontinental Rove in January. Will run 6m/2m while relocating from DM25 to FM18 starting around January 13. FT8 (50.313), MSK144 (50.255, 144.155 MHz), 100 watts, omni antennas. CW/SSB/FM/HF on request. Route will be I-40 to I-81. Coordinate on PingJockey.net. APRS KF2T-7. KF2T@amsat.org messages will be forwarded as SMS texts to me. QSL via LoTW.
KF2T/7 By the Numbers: From late 2008 to January 2018 in Nevada,  I was fortunate to make 20,144 total QSOs with 9,805 unique stations. Worked all States 160 through 6, including 60, 30, 17, and 12m. DXCC 80-10, including 30, 17, and 12m. 425 grids on 6m, 101 on 2m. 74 contacts via moonbounce. Three November Sweepstakes section wins. And a lot of great friends.  Thanks for all the fun!

 

Welcome to my QRZ Page!

 

A ham for 40 years, now, I’ve got to say it’s still magic. Is there anything cooler than beaming a signal across thousands of miles, supported only by a skinny wire and the magic of propagation?

 

Ham radio has somehow figured into my life’s work. I’m a former Merchant Marine radio operator, remote broadcast engineer, and Statewide public-safety Communications Interoperability Coordinator for Nevada. Today, I’m the Director of Engineering, IT, and Emergency Response at Vegas PBS, Nevada’s largest TV station and home to K7PBS.

 

I enjoy operating fast CW and digital modes on all bands, 80m through 2m. Huge fan of my FlexRadio Systems 6500 Software Defined Radio, Apple Computers, and the outstanding Dog Park Software that makes hamming on a Mac a pleasure. But what really, really gets me going is playing with antennas. Ever since I would rummage around for discarded TV antennas and cable to add to my latest monstrosity, I've been captivated by aerials.

 

KF2T in 2017 sports three antennas. Yes, I’m pushing it in my HOA area, so each one is relatively stealthy and low key. But they work - completed WAS on all bands 160 through 6 (including 60m) and DXCC on 80-10m (waiting on those last few 80m cards, though!).

 

AA5TBW8JI, and K0BG have done amazing work on antenna design and theory. I am indebted to them for their extensive research, testing, and reporting to the amateur community, along with their understandable and practical advice. Also props to the gang on PingJockey.net for the VHF antenna advice.

 

The HF antenna is an "end fed" 80 meter dipole, based on AA5TB's design. A Balun Designs 4:1 transformer and a Balun Designs 1115 choke balun below it lead to RG-213 to an Elecraft KAT500 automatic tuner in the shack. Works very well on 80 through 10.

 

In the last couple of years I've gotten hooked on the weak signal world. Meteor scatter, tropo, all kinds of stuff! More fun than I'd expected. I use a 3-element G0KSC 6m LFA at about 25 feet. Running WSJT-X and having a ball! Have worked about 400 grids on 6m, and DX from Europe to Japan.

 

In the 1970's as I was just starting out in ham radio, I read an article about another Jersey boy, K2UYH, who had just worked all continents on 432 via moonbounce. Even as my activity ebbed and flowed over the decades, I always though that it would be fun to try EME. Someday.

 

Someday came in September, 2017, when I worked the I2FAK super EME station. With a 6-element beam and 400 watts! No elevation control. Bare bones. My dogs watched me do the happy dance well into the night.

 

So, I decided to get as serious as a guy with a little backyard in an HOA area can on moonbounce. Worked on various ideas and finally settled on the ladder special you see to the left. A pair of Cushcraft 13b2s mounted on an a-frame ladder. Not the most elegant, but it works. Europe on 2 meters. Who'd a thunk it?

 

A run of LMR-400 cable to an Elecraft XV-144 transverter does the trick nicely for 2m, with a TE Systems 1452G brick amplifier to help with the ERP! 

 

Hope to catch you on the air sometime. Especially during my favorite operating event, the ARRL November Sweepstakes, CW weekend.  Used to be a heavy NTS traffic handler, but this is as close as I get, nowadays.

 

If you’re looking to connect, try the N8FQ chat site or PingJockey.net. I’m usually on one or the other. QSL via LoTW preferred. I do upload to QRZ, eQSL, and ClubLog, too. Of course, all paper cards welcome, too. 


KF2T in the 1980's

 

KF2T in the 1980's

Heathkit HW-12 75m SSB Transceiver

Viking Invader HF CW & SSB Transmitter

Hammarlund HQ-129X HF Receiver (did you catch the Heathkit QF-1 Q Multiplier?)

Gonset Communicator IV on 2m

Icom IC-230 2m FM (solid state!)

All to an endlessly morphing set of wires and coat hangers for antennas.

Can you imagine how warm this all got?

 

My Excellent Adventures at Sea

I had the great opportunity to operate all around the world as a shipboard Radio-Electronics Officer, keeping watch on the 500 kHz CW calling and distress frequency, operating HF voice, CW, and digital, and satellite equipment. Most of my time was spent on oil tankers, like the SS Coastal Eagle Point, but I also got in some adventures as VQ9TC on Diego Garcia Island, way out in the middle of the Indian Ocean, where I was on the crew of SS American Kestrel.

Along the way, got to sample the best of our world, including ports of call on all contients except Antarctica. Beautiful tropical islands to snowy Alaska, amazing Gibraltar and brutally hot Saudi Arabia. Some of the most awesome years of my life! Fair seas and following winds to all of you who still make a life on the water.

Diego Garcia Island

Beautiful Diego Garcia Island, about as far from anything as you can get. The first place I experienced the sun directly overhead, and the awesome southern hemisphere skies. Climbed the 100 foot tower to fix antennas. My knees knocked so much, but it did cure me of my fear of heights! Fine dining at Diego Burger. Fond memories of working everyone in Japan (or so it seemed) with an Atlas 210x. Anyone there today up for a sked? I need VQ9 for DXCC.

Coastal Eagle Point

The Coastal Eagle Point. Callsign WHMK. My 741-ft long by 102-ft wide home away from home. Now scrap metal, but always a special place in my heart. Operated HF packet back in the day, kept in touch with the gang back home through the generosity of those great hams who maintained VHF<>HF gateways. Esepcially WG0N, and the membership of the Denver Radio Club, W0TX.

 

 

 


A Little Noise

I live only a few miles from Las Vegas' FM and TV broadcasting peak, Black Mountain. Just for "fun," here are two screenshots from 2 meters - taken within minutes of each other, with the antenna pointed at the mountain and 45 degrees offset. The signal level difference is 8 dB. Suburban life. Yay.

Pointed at MountainPointed away

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ham Radio has been the single greatest influence in guiding my education, career, and success. Thanks to Elmers too numerous to mention (but especially the late, great Mike Karp, AF2L) for welcoming me to this amazing community and changing my life. Please join me in supporting the​ARRL Second Century Campaign to share the wonder of wireless and communications with the next generation.

8566217 Last modified: 2018-01-07 18:41:51, 24845 bytes

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