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Born in New York City, licensed while living in Connecticut, currently living in San Francisco.

My original radio was a Kenwood TS-430S, purchased when I was first licensed back in 1989. I still have that radio and it still works, though for now it's been moved out to a shelf in the living room to keep the shack from getting too cluttered.

My primary station is a Kenwood TS-950SDX transceiver with the SP-950 matching speaker and SM-230 station monitor. This radio has several mods in it for HiFi Am AM and SSB audio, including many 'voodoo' mods for high fidelity receive audio. My backup station is a Kenwood TS-850SAT with the rare and coveted DSP-100, matching PS-52 power supply and SP-31 speaker. (Yes, I'm a Kenwood fan.) I don't use an amplifier in order to minimize the potential for causing RFI to the neighbors. I struggled for a while to decide whether or not I really wanted the TS-950SDX, as 3 HF radios could be considered overkill, but I managed to find one for a good price, and just couldn't pass it up. I'm glad I went for it: it's been wonderful operating it so far.

Both radios are modified for mic audio input via the rear panel ACC2 port. The audio chain consists of an Electrovoice RE20 microphone, a Behringer MIC2200 Ultragain Pro mic pre-amp, Behringer DEQ2496 Ultracurve Pro digital equalizer and compressor and a Behringer FX2000 Virtualizer 3D effects processor. The output of the FX2000 is connected to the radio through a Radial Engineering J-ISO isolation transformer.

I've made some small modifications to the TS-850 to improve the AM audio. A description of the mods (which includes improving fidelity of the ACC2 audio path) can be found at the link below:

Kenwood TS-850 simplified AM modifications

I also operate the TS-950SDX on AM, usually on 40 meters. While this rig is well known for its ESSB capabilities, it turns out it also produces some very nice audio on AM too. Most people will tell you the radio won't operate in hi-fi mode on AM. It turns out that it can, but there's a trick to it. Since I'm not one to pass up a challenge, I developed two solutions for doing HiFi AM with the TS-950SDX: an off-board computer assist utility, and a patched version of the firmware that makes HiFi AM mode just work. You can download both of the link below:

Kenwood TS-950SDX hi-fi DSP-generated AM audio

Note that using the ACC2 port as a high-fidelity input requires a few modifications, as the ACC2 pre-amp circuit and input path is designed for digital data, and as such its low end rolls off at a fairly high frequency. The low end response can be significantly improved changing a few capacitors on the IF and signal units. This modification is documented on the VooDoo Labs discussion board at the following URL:

TS-950sdx - Line Level ACC2 Audio Mod

Note that I still use the front panel mic jack to key the radio using the Kenwood MC-43S hand mic as a hand switch.

I also have a Kenwood TH-F6A 144/220/440 handie-talkie, which I don't use as often as I ought to. I prefer to operate HF on 40, 20 and 15 meters, and occasionally 10 meters when it's open.

(BTW, if you see a higher resolution picture of my shack, click here.)

I live on the 2nd floor of a 4 story apartment building. Below is a picture of my HF antenna which is mounted on the roof. There are an unfortunately high number of metalic objects around it, but as an apartment dweller I have to take what I can get.

(Note, for a higher resolution version of this image, click here.)

The RadioWorks antenna is about 67 feet long, and has a 10 foot vertical coaxial section that terminates at a 1:1 line isolator. The coax feedline runs from the line isolator to my apartment on the 2nd floor. The vertical coax element supposedly acts as a radiating element, which gives the antenna some omnidirectional characteristics. I've only had this particular antenna up for a short time, so I haven't really made up my mind about its effectiveness, but it has the expected good SWR on 10, 20 and 40 meters, and I was able to make 15 meter contacts on it using the autotuner in the TS-850.

I had to settle for the 40 meter version of the antenna rather than the 80 meter one due to lack of space. The full size antenna is 135 feet long, but the building is only 118 feet long. To gain additional clearance, I set up to 10 foot lengths of PVC pipe and used them to hoist the support ropes a bit higher. This also pulls the vertical coax element up so that it doesn't dangle directly in front of the living room window of one of the 4th floor apartments.

Also visible in the background is the San Francisco City Hall dome.

Here's another image of the antenna as seen from the street. One PVC support is visible to the left of the image.

-Bill, N1GPT

6626910 Last modified: 2015-08-09 00:16:56, 5639 bytes

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