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Favorite ham things: CW, QRP, home brewing, kits, and good friends.  (Pictured above is one project, built with NR4C, Bill Conkling.  It is a power meter based on the AD8307 chip and an Arduino.)

I operate contests, qso parties, and a little DX, just for fun.  My operating time is limited, so these activities usually pack more action into a shorter time and also puts my station and operating to the test.

Here I am with Tom, K4AEN, on the left, working Field Day a decade ago.

In 2013, I sold my old TS940 and just kept a K2 and other various kit and homebrew rigs. Maybe one day I'll get a K3?  (see update)  My antenna is a horizontal loop (80m), up about 30 to 50 feet, depending on where you measure. The trees that support it are slowly eating up all the free space, so after the next hurricane hits, I will probably have to rethink the antenna. A little update (6/2013) -- the big oak tree in the center of the loop is now wider than the loop and holding it on two sides. The last big wind storm brought down half the antenna, but I got it back up. The trees haven't won yet!  (This much-rrepaired antenna is still going!)

I like to support a couple of local clubs, the Middle Peninsula Amateur Radio Club (MPARC) and the Williamsburg Area Amateur Radio Club (WAARC).  MPARC is pictured below.  I'm the Treasurer.

2014 update -- Well, I finally got a K3 and have been having some fun learning to use it. On another note, my good friend and cat, Moses, died this week. He always made sure that I didn't run stations, because he would sit beside me for a bit and if I didn't pay him some attention he would put his paws on my leg and start flexing his claws. More than once, I jumped up with a big cat hanging from my thigh! It is funny the things you miss.

2015 Update -- This has been an extrememly busy year workwise, and radio has been on the back burner.  My one project for the year was to put up a 160m vertical wire antenna.  The pine trees in my back yard are tall, so an inverted L looked easy.  The chosen tree turned out to be so tall that nearly all of the antenna is vertical.  The project worked out quite well, and I'm still having fun trying out the antenna.  Since it is my first 160m antenna, I can start fresh working DX and states.  

The picture below is my dog, Tai.  Sadly, he died suddenly in October.  What can you say; we loved him and miss him.

I have a new cat, Chloe, and like Moses, she seems to consider ham radio as competition.  Her tactic for getting my attention is to crawl behind the radio and start chewing the wires.  It never fails to get me up!

Here is Chloe a few months ago.

Update Jaunuary 2017 -- Chloe is now a fat cat and even more annoying than Moses was when I try to operate. She prefers jumping on my keyboard now but will resort to physical attacks and wire chewing if ignored.  I'm thinking about replacing these sweet pictures.  They lie!

I added a P3 and upgraded my Elecraft K3, so my staion is great!  Of course, I still use wire antennas and don't have an amp, so it is hardly "competitive", but the only thing I want is more time to operate.  About a year ago, I joined PVRC (Piedmont Valley Radion Club), and that has brought me into contact with some great operators and spurred me to try some new tricks and become a better operator.  Rather than try to tackle any new homebrew projects, I have been concentrating on operating.  

Below is an NPOTA activation in July, 2016. (KK4R and NR4C, Bill Conkling)  The octopus T-shirt is one of my daughter's creations.  She is an artist and spins off designs from her paintings and drawings to silk-screen on various clothing items.  Check out http://www.forestandfin.com.

Retirement is now in sight, and I hope to end up somewhere that I can still have an antenna and play on the radio. My wife pictures a one-story condo with restrictive covenants, so this may be problematic!

Somewhere in 2016, I added an inverted-L for 160m.  This antenna has been tons of fun.  It will tune up on nearly all the HF bands.  Originally, it was tuned at the shack end of 120' of coax, but the excess line loss due to high SWR was irritating.  An LDG tuner was added at the antenna base in 2017.  This is my only antenna for 160m, but at night it is useful on 80m, and kicks butt on 40m.  Occaisionally, it will outperform the loop on higher bands too.

Summer of 2017 -- My new ham activity is battling the tree canopy that has grown over my house and yard.  It has nearly killed all the grass, which wouldn't be so bad (less mowing), but the trees have taken over my 80m horizontal loop.  It is hopelessly tangled and the wire is nearly taught.  Any good wind storm might snap it.  My tree-climbing days are over, so I've got a plan to use a sling shot, some rope, and a cable saw to cut the offending branches.  The trees won the first round, and the puny saw broke four times before I had to give up.  My new saw is made from chainsaw chain, and it arrives tomorrow!

8317615 Last modified: 2017-09-07 02:52:14, 8243 bytes

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