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Ham Member Lookups: 2757

 

I discovered ham radio at the age of 15, while visiting a friend who demonstrated his Heathkit CW station. I was instantly impressed. I had already learned the morse code in Boy Scouts using signaling flags, so I just needed to adapt to audio CW and study for the written test. During the summer of 1971, just before starting high school, I received my Novice license with the call WN6NGF, which was soon upgraded to WB6NGF. Since I was living off a very limited budget, my first transmitter was a borrowed Heathkit AT-1, followed by a DX-60. I operated CW (80m - 10m) and AM (10m) on that radio. Next I owned a Hallicrafters HT-37, a National NCX-200, and finally a Heathkit SB-102, which I assembled during my senior year in high school. I used the SB-102 through my college years. I also installed a HyGain TH3 beam and a 60' tower which I purchased from another ham for $85. I changed my callsign to N6AB in 1977 when the FCC first allowed 1X2 callsign requests. Those were the good ol' days! Ham radio inspired me to pursue a degree in electrical engineering at UC Davis, which I completed in 1978. With my degree in hand, I starting working for Hewlett Packard as a production engineer, leading to my dream job as an R&D engineer, doing signal generator and wireless test set design. HP also paid for me to complete my MSEE degree from Stanford Univ.

While pursuing a career in electronics, ham radio took an absence for several years. Apartment living and antennas did not blend very well. After I moved to Washington State in 1982 and purchased a home, I was finally free to put up antennas again. I started with simple dipoles, added a vertical, then a 10m beam, and finally a tri-band beam which I purchased new in 2012. Finally, the ham radio that I loved so well has returned! Nowadays I enjoy operating SSB and CW on the HF bands, 160m - 10m, especially working DX and contests. I operate contests purely for fun, though not competitively. I am now retired and have more time to enjoy this hobby, so I feel like I am returning to my roots again. My son, Joshua, is also becoming interested in ham radio and has received his Technician class license (KG7DUP) at age 14. Someday he hopes to upgrade to General class so he can operate more SSB on the HF bands using his FT-450D. 

My equipment consists of a Kenwood TS-940SAT (100W) transceiver, MC-60A microphone, SM-220 spectrum monitor scope, DSP-599zx digital noise filter, and various homebrew equipment such as a CW keyer. A homebrew matchbox has recently been replaced by an MFJ-993B autotuner. Antennas include a Cushcraft A3S triband beam, Butternut HF6V vertical with 17m & 12m add-ons, 160m inverted vee, 80m dipole, and a separate 10m beam which is always facing SE. All antennas are located slightly above roof level. Another recent addition to my station is an Ameritron ALS-600 linear amplifier with the AD5X QSK relay mod, for those occasions when I can hear the DX stations, but they can't hear me. After operating for forty years with only 100W, I am amazed at how much difference 8 dB makes when working DX. 

I recently added a SoftRock Lite II receiver kit which is tuned to the TS940's 8.83 MHz second IF, so that I can monitor the IF spectrum using an Asus Xonar U7 sound card. Although the SM220 already provides this capability, the SoftRock Rx with NaP3 panadapter software offers a larger, higher resolution display with better temperature stability. I typically use Ham Radio Deluxe software when I need to add decoding capability. One thing I enjoy about ham radio is that there is always something new to try out as the technology improves.

Hope to see you on the air!

73,

John



Family Webpage: https://sites.google.com/site/jmsfamilyll/

QSL via http://www.eqsl.cc/

Starting in April of 2013, all logs are uploaded to https://lotw.arrl.org/lotwuser/default and http://logbook.qrz.com/

8079505 Last modified: 2017-05-07 03:30:10, 5299 bytes

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