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Ham Member Lookups: 30467


You can also track my activity here  https://foc.dj1yfk.de/activity/N3HEE

QSL Policy - I only QSL via LOTW. 

DitDit Podcast - I was recently inteviewed by Bruce Pea of the DitDit Podcast.  Check it out here.

About Me

I was first licensed in 1976 at age 13 as WN3CXD . I lived in the small town of Oakdale, PA just outside of Pittsburgh.  I soon upgraded to General, Advanced and finally Extra class in the early 80's.  I belonged to the Steel City ARC (W3KWH).  What a great club complete with private club house, radios, and big antennas. It was there that I was mentored in all things radio and introduced to contesting.  I was very furtunate to have been associated with such a great group of people ! 

I have always had a love for Morse code.  My first rig was a HeathKit HW-16 with just a few crystals.  I honed my CW skills by making hundreds of contacts with that rig and simple wire antennas.  Eventually my Dad put up a 40 foot tower for me and I had a small triband yagi installed on top.  That was the only time in my long ham carreer that I have had a tower and a beam.  I didn't know how good I had it back then !  Thanks Dad !

Life eventually kicked in, I left Pittsburgh in 1982 to start my electronics career in Maryland.  I was not very active and I let my license drop in the mid 90's.  I got relicensed in 2002 as KB3KJS.  In 2013 I changed my call to N3HEE for contesting purposes.

Today my operating mainly consists of contesting and chasing DX.  I still have an HW-16 that I fire up every now and then just to have some fun.  I also like experimenting with wire antennas especially for 160 meters.  I have simple wire dipole antennas for all HF bands including a 300 foot horizontal loop for 80, 30 & 17 meters.  I also have a 160 meter inverted L with K2AV folded counterpoise and a K9AY loop for receiving on the low bands.  The low bands present a very interesting challenge living on a small lot ! 

Morse Code Instructor

In the spirit of giving back I vulunteer as an advisor for CWOPS CW Academy. Information is available at www.cwops.org/cwacademy.html 

Please check out my web site at www.morsecodemasters.com  I developed this site to help people learn Morse code and serve as a classroom for my CW Academy students. 

I also have a YouTube channel with Morse code related videos here.


Clubs - Click on the club name below for more info.

PVRC - Potomac Valley Radio Club - Contesting club.

CWOPS #1283 CWT contesting. CW Academy instructor.

SKCC #6594T - Mechanical keys only.  Contesting.

NAQCC #0239  - QRP contesting.

Clandestine Wireless Operators - Agent 021


Lafayette KT-135 Restoration Project

Restoration details of my 1965 Lafayette Explor-Air. This is my first total radio restoration.  I chose this neat little radio because it was simple and easy to take apart with few parts.  Click here for more info on this radio.

Lafayette KT-135

Above shows the condition I purchased it in.  Not too bad to start with. It actually worked pretty good.

This is what the inside looked like.  Still not too bad but clearly needs some TLC. Notice the homebrew shaft extender on the main tuning capacitor.  Someone drilled a larger hole to accommodate the diameter of the homebrew shaft extender. That will need to be replaced so I headed out to my little machine shop and made a new one.

Kt-135 Shaft Coupler

This is the new shaft coupler that I machined out of .5 inch aluminum stock.  I was not able to remove the short piece of black plastic shaft that remained attached to the knob for fear of damaging the knob.  The head of the set screw was stripped off. So I left it alone.  This works fine. 

KT-135 Guts

Someone did a very nice job wiring and soldering this kit so I decided not to rebuild it.  To save time and effort I simply dropped the guts out of the chassis. This was quick and easy to do. Notice that someone replaced the original filter caps. All other parts appear to be original.  All resistors were found to be within spec.  I will replace some select capacitors.

KT-135 Chassis

After stripping and cleaning the chassis it started to look like new again.  I used a combination of fine sand paper and naval jelly to clean the chassis. 

KT-135 New Guts

I popped the guts back into the clean chassis.  It was far easier getting them out then putting them back.  I had to devise a procedure using a pair of tweezers and tiny jewelers screw driver to place the lockwashers and nuts onto the screws. 

KT-135 New Chasis

Wow, it's starting to look like the day it was built.  I cleaned the transformer and main tuning cap.  I put new lettering on the chassis using my label maker. I also used all new hardware. 

Chasis is fully populated and ready to go.  Just need to install new power cord.


Chasis intalled into cabinet.  This is the original front panel which I touched up with a mix of two Testors gray enamel paints. It came out pretty good.  The radio was dropped at some point in time. You can see the little "bump" to the upper left of the Ant. Tuning knob.  The rear chasis was also bent near the headphone jack due to the fall.

KT-135 New FP

The next step is to create a reproduction front panel.  Luckily my Son runs a custom machine shop that has a UV printing machine and computerized milling machines.  We will machine and print a new front panel out of 18 guage aluminum.  It should look like new when finished.  Above is a scan of the original front panel which has been digitally cleaned up and ready for printing. 

Stay tuned...


Bayou Jumper

Just finishing up with the Bayou Jumper kit.  Here it is installed in a vintage 1955 record player case.  The rig is a 40 meter regenerative receiver with a 5 watt cyrstal controlled transmitter.  Fashioned after a WWII Paraset radio.  The case includes a battery pack, external speaker, external key and storage for spare batteries, earphones and antenna.  I have made lots of contacts so far.  Lots of fun to operate !  I have also received my Clandestine Wireless Operators Agent Number - 021

Radio Room Clock

My homebrew version of the classic radio room clock located aboard Navy ships.  The clock is made from two cheap Sterling & Noble No.9 clocks found at Walmart.  To create the "Zulu" hour hand the hour hand was removed from the donor clock and painted white.  It was then pressed on top of the black hour hand.  The clockface was created from a PDF found here.  The clockface artwork was reduced by 10 % and fits perfectly in the clock face. The glass was removed from the clock for ease of adjusting time for EST and ESDT.


SO2R Operation

I have taken contesting to the next level with SO2R operations.  I have started building my SO2R station using my exsiting Elecraft K3 and a new Kenwood TS-590SG.  I am using a set of bandpass filters for each radio to help reduce interstation interference.  I live on a very small lot with close spaced antennas so I have a few extra challenges to overcome.  I practice operating SO2R every week in the CWT contest. 

Remote Control

My station is now available for remote control via remote hams.  I'm doing this in an effort to help my students and other hams with limited antennas and radios to be able to get on the air and practice Morse code. See remotehams.com for details on how to access my station. 

Shack Sept 2016

Shack Picture Details - Sept 2016

Top - Hallicrafters Sky Champion S-20R

Middle - TenTec Titan Amplifier, Heathkit HW-16

Bottom - Elecraft K3/100, Kenwood TS-590SG, Bandpass filters, Six Pak antenna switching, MFJ 4726 antenna switch, Watt/SWR meter, K42 CW keyboard control box, Yeasu VX-7R, Heil Pro7 headset.

Keys - Begali HST II, Kent SP-1, Kent TP-1, my original Heathkit HD-1410 keyer, Home Brew Cootie key, 1963 Vibroplex Presentation Deluxe,  1958 Vibroplex Lightning Bug, Home Brew Straight Keys.  All keys are connected to home brew key switch and are instantly availalbe with any rig in the shack.

Floor -Ten Tec Titan power supply, Astron DC Supply, Dummy Load, UPS

Computer - Home brew Intel 4.0GHZ with 16 GB RAM.  Three (22, 22, 24 inch) wall mounted monitors.

Studio A - Modern DX and SO2R Contest station. Elecraft K3 100W / TS-590SG (160-6 meters.) TenTec Titan 425 legal limit amp.

Studio B - Vintage Novice Station. HW-16. 80,40,15 meters. Crystal control.  My first novice rig.

Studio D - VHF FM station. Yeasu VX-7R (6M - 70CM)


Key Building

I have built some new keys.  See details here for my Torsion Bar Key Project.  Click here to see my straight key project.

Skinny Brick

Home Brew Keys

These keys above were inspired by the WB9LPU Simple Straight Key Project. I added a rear contact mechanism of my own design. I also used ball bearings on this key. I made the navy knob using a cabinet drawer knob and large fender washer. This key is super smooth to operate and has a great feel to it. Like my first key key, I have a little over 20 hours into building it. Well worth the time though!  

The bottom key is a new design machined out of a solid piece of aluminum and is mounted on a very heavy brass base.  The knob was created from a 3D printer.  

First Home Brew Key

The key above is from the WB9LPU Simple Straight Key Project. I machined all of the parts in my small garage shop using very "simple" tools. I also had great support from the master himself, Rich, WB9LPU. The key was built over the period of one week and took nearly 20 hours to put together. It feels and looks like a high end pro key! Many thanks to Rich for all of the hard work and effort he put into documenting this excellent project.


Home Brew Cootie Keys

Top Key - Blood Cootie

This key is mounted on a 3.5" x 4.5" x 1" thick blood wood base with wooden finger piece.  This Cootie is made from 1" x 1/8" thick aluminum angle stock and hardware obtained from Lowes using simple hand tools and small band saw. I put it together in one afternoon! It works very well and has very smooth action. I installed a switch so it can be switched between Cootie and Single Lever paddle mode. Used with my K1EL K42 keyer this key is capable of being a Cootie, BUG or Fully Automatic single lever key.

Bottom Key - The Heavy Duty Cootie

The Heavy Duty Cootie is my newest creation.  Mounted on 3/4 inch thick brass base with solid one piece machined aluminum blade holder, contact mounting bracket and finger piece.  Thumb screw adjustments are provided for setting the contact gap and for quickly and easily moving the blade in or out to adjust tension and feel.  Weighs about 2.5 pounds.  It only operates as a cootie.  Very stable on the table ! 


Torsion Bar Key

This key was inspired by Steve W1SFR.  It is a single lever paddle key with a unique "twist".  The lever arm is connected to a torsion bar. It is a rod which twists back and forth to act as a spring.  The key is very smooth with good action.  It feels completely different from a spring or magnet operated key.  

Micro Paddle


I needed a small key to go with my Bayou Jumper kit.  After searching I found this key designed by Wayne McFee, NB6M  It is made from double sided copper clad circuit board. Measuring just 2 x 1.4375 inches this key takes up very little space.  This key can be built in a couple of hours with mininal tools. Try building one for yourself here

HW-16 Mods

Replaced power cord with 3 wire type for safety.

Installed SO-239 antenna jack.

Replaced D1 with 1N4148 to increase sensitivity.

Removed ground from cable connecting D1 to point B on PCB to increase sensitivity.

Replaced R14 with 2.2K 2W resistor to obtain QRP power levels with power level control.

Replaced R49 with 150 ohm resistor to slightly unmute reciever for louder sidetone for better QSK operation.

Intermod Mod - Replaces RF gain control with 2K ohm pot.  See here for details.

HC49/U Crystal Holder For HW-16

This holder adapts four HC49/U xtals for use in FT-243 type sockets. Just pull it out and turn it to the next xtal! Use 80 meter

xtals and double your fun with 8 choices in one holder.

Carefully remove all the pins from one octal tube base by drilling them out from

the inside of the plug. Set them aside because you will reinsert 4 of them

later. I used a new octal tube base from Antique Electronic Supply that I had

laying around.

Using a hacksaw blade cut the key way off flush with the base.

Reinsert 4 pins that give you .5 inch spacing. They should be a snug fit. Make

sure they are straight. They should already be pretty straight once you

reinsert them.

Use a dab of fast drying epoxy at the base of each pin to secure the pins back

into the base.

Insert two crystals at a time soldering each of the common pins as you go around

the base. Set the crystals down deep enough inside the base cavity in case you

want to put a cover on it someday.

Plug into your HW-16 and have up to 4 rocks to choose from in one handy holder!

You can use 80 meter xtals for 8 choices between two bands.

My Gear

Elecraft K3 100

Kenwood TS-590SG

Ten Tec Omni C

Ten Tec Titan 425 linear amplifier.

Softrock RXTXv6.3 (1watt output on 160, 80, 40 meters)

Hallicarafers S20R

Heathkit HW-16

Homebrew 6L6 QRP transmitter

Homebrew VFO/Driver/TR switch box.

K1EL K42 CW keyboard.

Hombrew PC - Intel i7 with 16GB RAM and 2 TB disk

Antenna 1 - Fan dipole at 30 feet (20,15,10 meters)

Antenna 2 -Inverted L 160m 65 feet vertical 65 feet horizontal with K2AV folded counterpoise (FCP)

Antenna 3 - 40 meter dipole at 30 feet.

Antenna 4 - 300 foot horizontal loop for 80, 30, 17, 12 meters.

K9AY Loop low band receive antenna 

N1MM Contest Logger

DXLAB Suite - Logging and DX work.


My Record Book

My WSPR DX record so far is 16295 KM on 500 miliwatts into a slinky antenna in my attic

My CW DX record so far is 6174 KM on 1 watt into a slinky antenna in my attic.

My PSK31 DX record so far is 6129 KM on 1 watt into a slinky antenna in my attic.

8395830 Last modified: 2017-10-18 14:02:14, 20627 bytes

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QRZ Logbook Summary for - N3HEE
Latest Contacts for N3HEE at QRZ.com
dedateband mode grid Country op
RA6AN 2015-01-30 80M CW KN95lb Russia Fedor ( Fed ) V. Tsapro
W9UK 2015-01-30 160M CW EN90wg United States JOHN L LAYTON
W8BJO 2015-01-30 160M CW EM89bv United States LESTER A WAGNER
OZ0JX 2015-01-29 80M CW JO54vv Denmark Soren Baekkel
N2ATB 2015-01-29 40M CW FM29mv United States FRANCIS A CANUSO
KB8F 2015-01-29 80M CW EM79vn United States DONALD M BURNS
SU9VB 2015-01-29 40M CW KL76dc Egypt Vladimir M. Bykov
N4UB 2015-01-28 160M CW EM71mj United States JASPER D WIDENER, JR
HK1T 2015-01-28 160M CW FK21oa Colombia Salim (Sal) Gechem R.
W3PV/VP9 2015-01-28 20M CW EM17iq United States
J6/SP7TF 2015-01-28 17M CW FK93mv St Lucia
SM5IMO 2015-01-28 80M CW JO79xd Sweden DAN HULTGREN
8P0P 2015-01-28 80M CW JJ00aa Barbados Peter Cross
ON7PQ 2015-01-28 80M CW jo10pt Belgium PAT PARMENTIER
G3WZT 2015-01-27 80M CW IO90ux England JOHN MATTHEWS

Book Totals: 7428 qso's   4094 confirmed Get a free logbook at QRZ.COM

United States Counties Award#742
Granted: 2016-07-19 15:30:02   (N3HEE)

  • 100 Counties CW
  • 100 Counties Mixed
  • 250 Counties Mixed
  • 500 Counties Mixed
World Continents Award#1193
Granted: 2015-01-22 17:26:17   (N3HEE)

  • 5 Band CW
  • 10 Meters CW
    15 Meters CW
    20 Meters CW
    30 Meters CW
    40 Meters CW
  • 5 Band Mixed
  • 10 Meters Mixed
    15 Meters Mixed
    20 Meters Mixed
    30 Meters Mixed
    40 Meters Mixed
United States Award#140
Granted: 2015-01-22 17:26:13   (N3HEE)

  • Mixed CW
DX World Award#196
Granted: 2015-01-22 17:26:02   (N3HEE)

  • Mixed CW
Grid Squared Award#1058
Granted: 2015-01-21 21:19:02   (N3HEE)

  • 5 Band Mixed
  • 10 Meters Mixed
    15 Meters Mixed
    160 Meters Mixed
    20 Meters Mixed
    40 Meters Mixed
    80 Meters Mixed
  • Mixed CW
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