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" RICK " FOR FREDERICK WEATHER CLICK HERE: WX
PAST: ARES Emergency Coordinator ( 1983 - 1994, member 55 years ), RACES Radio Officer ( 1983 - 1994, member 55 years ), Frederick Amateur Radio Club President ( 1989 - 1991, 3 years ), ARRL VEC team leader (1984 - 1994), FARC Hamfest committee member (chairman,parking,exhibitors, etc. for 12 years), on the FARC repeater committee that purchased, sited, and coordinated the 448.425mhz Frederick repeater in mid-80's.
Obtained my first ham license at age 14, in 1960 and have operated without interruption ever since ( see history section ).
From 1963 to 1967, I was a CW intercept radio operator for the U.S. Air Force. At age 17, I was cleared for a "Top Secret" security clearance by NSA and was stationed at Misawa Air Base in Japan ( 6921st ). CW may be in my DNA. My great grandfather, in the early 1900's, was a telegrapher/stationmaster for the railroad. And, here's 2 other "Morse" coincidences: My home town that I grew up in was very close to where Samuel F B Morse lived at one time, Poughkeepsie, New York. And, Samuel F B Morse mother's maiden name was the same as my mother's maiden name and it is the "B" he used for his initials!
CURRENT: The operating desk is made from birch wood and is in an L shape. After staining the wood, I laid plexiglass over the top to give a smooth, comfortable surface as well as provide a way to view charts and other information without losing desktop space.
The N3RO station consists of 3 HF rigs: Main rig = Yaesu FT-2000D/200 watt, the Kenwood TS-820S and an ICOM 706M2G. The FT-2KD can monitor 2 frequencies simultaneously and is nice for keeping a watch on the SKCC calling frequency of 7.055. The FT-2KD power output can be easily adjusted from 10 watts to 200 watts by a simple twist of a front panel knob as needed. The ICOM-706M2G drives an Amp Supply 600 watt output amp and is used primarily for HF SSB and VHF/UHF local work. The Kenwood TS-820S, purchased new in 1976, still outputs a 100 watt flawless signal and while doesn't support all the "bells and whistles" of newer rigs, is a joy to operate after all these years.
My main focus during over 56 years of ham radio operating has been the enjoyment of CW. After 4 years of "professional" CW in the USAF and 56 years of "amateur" CW on the ham bands, it remains at the top of my "favorite modes" list.
My main 2 CW instruments: hand key = hand made, brass camelback ( VisKey ) and the chrome Vibroplex CUBE.
A total view of the ham shack operating position shows additional equipment such as the TS-820S line including the VFO-820, the station monitor scope with the panoramic display SM-220, the antenna tuner AT-200 and the SP-820 filter speaker on the end.
All HF transceivers can access the 107 foot longwire antenna through the shack window feed through as shown below. The whole antenna can be removed and lowered to the ground in seconds by simply unscrewing the PL-259 jumper wire and unclipping the longwire from the black insulator. Once the 2 inside PL-259's are removed, the whole feedthrough can be slipped out of the window and the window completely closed. Lowering the longwire during ice storms in the winter make for easy de-icing before the antenna is raised back up to its operating position. The other side of the 4:1 balun has a ground strap going down to a copper plate with ~ 250' of ground radial counterpoise under the back lawn. This antenna "system" has a natural resonate frequency at 7mhz with a 52 ohm impedance from 6.9 mhz to 7.3 mhz ( SWR 1:1 ). As I have always operated mainly on 40 meters this turned out to be the perfect "stealth" antenna. Using any tuner, the antenna tunes quickly to 1:1 on all frequencies from 160 meters through 6 meters. Living in an HOA environment that "frowns" on antennas, this barely visible, antenna has been a perfect solution, allowing me to operate all bands while my home has been inspected many times over the years by our HOA with "no issues" reported with each inspection. In 15 years living here, I've never had a single neighbor complain or ask about my "invisible" wire across the backyard.
Below is a view of the 107' end fed LONGWIRE antenna system taken from the base of the 30' black support pole that is mostly hidden in 35' high Leyland Cyress tree branches. I've also used black #14 gauge stranded copper wire for the LONGWIRE antenna and it is virtually "invisible" against the dark green evergreen trees that surround my backyard.
In 2003, I set up an Echolink node, 5521, on 145.545 simplex ( pl 88.5 ) to facilitate worldwide communications during the short commute to my office in downtown Frederick, MD. Running 20 watts from a Yaesu FT-8900R allows "full quieting" communications between my home and most points around Frederick county. Echolink allows me to communicate with ham friends worldwide on daily commutes to my office. Echolink also brings worldwide contacts to my node when I'm around the house with my HT or in the shack with the ICOM 706M2G. It is a proven system with over 1 million nodes worldwide. My Echolink system consists of a laptop PC running the Echolink software, a Mountain Radio interface between the laptop PC and the FT-8900R. The 8900R, with its full time dual receive ( VHF/UHF ) allows for total control of the Echolink node while I'm away from the hamshack. The second 8900R on the right side has it's own seperate antenna and serves as a complete VHF/UHF transceiver station.The second 8900R is often placed in "cross-band" repeat mode for use around the house with my HT. See below:
In August 2014, I set up a D-Star operating position as part of the hamshack pictured above. For D-STAR I decided to "start" with a DV DONGLE ( blue light lower right ) into a new 17" laptop PC with outboard desk mic and speakers. The new D-STAR experience has proven to be very enjoyable and shares many of the same characteristics I enjoy with Echolink. In September 2015, I purchased the new DV Dongle USB THUMBDRIVE model DV3K. This little thumbdrive was so easy to install! I just plugged it into a USB port on the PC and it installed itself, downloading the latest drivers. I then went to the dongle website and downloaded the latest "DV TOOL" program. From first plugging in the DV3K thumbdrive to my first D-Star QSO using the new thumbdrive was about 3 minutes! It just doesn't get much faster or easier. Using the thumbdrive, I can now take D-Star on trips, use any PC here at home or at my office. True "plug and play".
Before I was a ham I was a SWL. I was 13 and the year was 1959. It was summer vacation time and I was bored. Poking around the basement I came across an old Atwater Kent radio, broken and covered in dust behind the freezer. I dug it out and asked my mom if I could have it. She replied that I could, but it had been "broken" for a long, long time. I cleaned off the dust and wiped down each octal tube. There was no cabinet, just the radio, mounted on a metal chassis. I noticed some wires had broken loose and by careful inspection I could see where they belonged. Using my dad's soldering iron I resoldered them to where I thought they should be. I connected up the large speaker, turned on the radio and held my breath. Little did I realize then that the next 10 seconds would change my life forever. With the luck of the angels that summer day, the radio came to life and all the octal tubes radiated a warm orange glow! I took the radio to my bedroom where I tuned the bands and listened day and night. It wasn't long before I heard a very strong AM voice signal on the short wave bands and realized it was an older teenager up the street, Pete, WA2BXK. I quickly went over to his house, having never really met him before, since he was much older than I, and knocked on his door. As we became friends over the following weeks, I began to quickly use his ham radio station ( under his guidance ) more and more. I studied theory from books he gave me and learned morse code from W1AW code practice transmissions. ( Pete loaned me a BC-348J receiver to copy W1AW ). The following summer, Pete arranged for me to be tested and I passed both the Novice and Technician tests and became WV2WFL ( novice ) and WA2WFL ( tech ). So in 1960, by working summer jobs and saving every penny, I set up the station below. This was my station during my high school years.
L to R: Hallicrafters S-85 receiver, Heathkit 2 meter "lunchbox", 80 through 6 meter HT-40 75 watt transmitter and Lafayette HE-45 6 meter transceiver. On six meters the rotor controls a 5 element Cushcraft 6 meter beam on top of the house. Above the lamp, on my bulletin board, hangs an award I received at the regional Science Fair for building a "simulated" modulated LASER transmitter. The picture is of a Navy ship that I was supposed to take a summer, two week sailing tour on, however, I was already in the Air Force as soon as I graduated from High School and never did get on my Navy tour.
When I got out of the Air Force in June 1967 I purchased my "college years" station seen below. The chair in the picture was my great grandfather's chair from his telegraphy office. I often imagined him sitting in the same chair, in another time and place, working the telegraph.
This station included "boat anchor" equipment: Hammarlund HQ-100 receiver, Gonset GSB-100 transmitter, Johnson Viking "Pacemaker" HF 100W transmitter, Hallicrafters SX-99 receiver, Hallicrafters SX-101A receiver, Heathkit Twoer, Glegg 22er and my ol' Lafayette HE-45. Antennas were HF dipoles and 11 element rotatable 2 meter yagi.
During my 30's and 40's I was heavily into SCUBA diving. I have "dove" every lake, pond, river and quarry in Maryland and some in VA, WVA and PA. Most of my diving however, was done in the Caribbean and Florida. The picture below is of a dive off the coast of Bermuda.
I started riding motorcycles during my time in Japan with the USAF. After college I got back into riding motorcycles again and my favorite "bike" was my Honda 900cc touring bike:
I still play guitar and enjoy "jamming" along with U-Tube guitar videos. I have played for our church, company picnics, nursing homes and summer children's camps. I only play for fun, never for money ( just like ham radio ).
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