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NH7RO USA flag USA

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QSL: I PLAN TO RESUME QSLING LATER THIS YEAR; STAY TUNED

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My radio affliction started early in life as a BCB DXer around 1963 when I was 12 years old. I later became interested in ham radio as a SWL (WPE6GQN) upon an acquiring a Lafayette HA-230 general coverage receiver a year or two later. Throughout the following decade I dabbled in SSB CB DXing with a Cobra 132 12-watt rig and later a modified Tempo One. By 1984 I had tired of CB (despite always trying to emulate more knowledgeable and tactful hams) and I thought I'd buckle down and get serious about getting my ham ticket instead.  I bought a Kenwood TS-430S and a Butternut HF6V to inspire me further but procrastination and learning the code still got the better of me.  I continued to SWL and dream about being a real ham, though.

Once I discovered that the CW requirement was dropped I went for my Tech ticket at Pacificon in October 1996 and passed on the first attempt.  A lot of what I had learned over the previous decades by SWLing countless ham band ragchews and dx chasers paid off. I was issued the call KF6GYS at first but barely a week later I got a notice from the FCC that they'd made a mistake and my call was KF6GYM instead.  

OK, now I was off and running with my lifelong dream of becoming a licensed ham!

My primary interest then (as it still is now) was chasing dx on six meters.  I had never known much about this unique band before the mid 1990s when I started seeking out copies of QST, 73 and CQ magazines at local bookstores and magazine racks in my spare time.  

An article about the propagation characteristics available via the Magic Band piqued my growing interest and I decided to pursue Six with a passion.  In early 1997 I bought a mint condition Kenwood TS-690s at the Livermore Electronics Swap Meet and built a two-element Yagi from scratch.  I also acquired an early version M2 HO Loop, couple of 12 volt marine gel cells and some solar panels with which I could quickly set up a portable station from my car on a nearby hilltop (1100-foot Mulholland Ridge, Orinda/Moraga, California CM87ws, IIRC).

I also lugged all of this up a mountain trail one day in early May on Mt. Tamalpais (Marin County) to make my first 6M sporadic E contact ever---W1IPL, CM88>DM76 (Taos County, New Mexico).  This provided a real thrill and several other Es QSOs spurred me on to get more involved with weak signal operating. Soon I was regularly operating on 144, 222, 432 and 1296MHz as well with additional rigs and bigger antennas.  

In 1998 (or perhaps 1999) I managed to make three or four California to New Zealand QSOs from my 100-watt/5-element Yagi portable set up near the summit of 3,849 foot Mt. Diablo (CM97). I might as well have won the Nobel Prize, an Oscar and the Kentucky Derby I was so excited up there on that mountainside!  I had discovered firsthand that DX was truly a reality for six meter ops like me.

I did actually win or place in many VHF contests from then on. I used my Bay Area hilltops to good advantage and also took up roving for some fun contest adventures. I also became active with SMIRK and the Western States Weak Signal Society during that time and attended a number of small hamfests hosted by my friend/Elmer Larry, W6OMF (SK) on his Vacaville ranch. There I had many eyeball QSOs with other hams that I had often worked during contests, too.

In early 2001 I married my longtime YL, Leticia (now KG5SWN) and several months later we decided to pack up our belongings and move to the island of Hawaii.  The first time I got my rig (Icom 746 which I still have) set up out on our spacious balcony in Mark Twain Estates (south of Na'alehu) I worked Ecuador and the Galapagos very easily.  100 watts and my HO loop resting on  the balcony railing netted my first two DXCCs with solid 59+ reports! The rest is history, as they say but our move to KH6 provided thousands of memorable contacts that I was able to make via my almost ideal QTH (BK29eb) combined with the wonderful propagation of Cycle 23.  

I soon set up my dream station which consisted of a SSB Electronik transverter, Teletec DXP-180 solid state amp, Yaesu FT-1000MP and M2 6M7JHV 31' long Yagi.  I later added a Commander VHF-1200 amplifier and became one of the half-dozen lucky big guns on six meters out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  

Living the dream---with several extensive long path F2 openings to Europe, Asia and Africa---was icing on the proverbial cake!

Thank you for reading this far and if still interested, see more of my adventures below where I am updating and adding photos relevant to my ham bio as often as I can.

73 and Aloha from Tropical Texas,  Jeff,  NH7RO

(yes, after 11 years of living in "Paradise" the XYL and I finally left Hawaii and moved back to the Mainland.  First to New Mexico (too cold in the winter time) and later South Texas---but at least we have a year-round warm and humid climate and most of the same tropical plants as we had in Hawaii---and I'm still in a rare grid (EL18) too!

(August 2017 update coming next time---am preparing a design for my new QSL card now)

June 2017 update:

Earlier this month I built an H double bay bi-directional wire beam for 6 meters and have made a number of good contacts with it.  I have it suspended from a homebrewed flagpole that leans out above our upstairs balcony (photo will be added soon).  For the June VHF and SMIRK contests I'll be using this plus my HO Loop and a 6M Traffie hexbeam atop a telescoping mast.  Hope to work you with good multi-hop Es this summer! 

May 2017 update:

Gearing up for some 6 meter activity now that the Es season is upon us.  I installed my nearly 20-year old M2 HO loop about a wavelength above ground on the edge of our balcony in late April:

Partial disguise/minimization courtesy of our local Wal-Mart's fake houseplants aisle.

 

My stealthy tri-band elevated vertical for 15-17-20 meters mildly disguised as a tree sapling in the woods behind me was completed in mid April.  It has been performing very well when the propagation is in.  My very first contact was made on 17M with a station operating just 3 miles from my old KH6 QTH in Volcano!

AH6HI, Dan was operating from KH7M Massimo's QRO contest station over by the Volcano Golf Course where my xyl once worked.  Big Island, small world!  Turns out that Dan and I had even had an eyeball QSO about twelve years ago at Manauka State Park, too!

Here are a couple of pix of my stealthy vertical taken out in the woods looking back towards our condo building in the background.  The woods provide lots of cover.

The 16' tall antenna is off to the center-right and tilts a little off to one side.  It is mounted on a burlap-covered board and the feedpoint is 8 feet above ground.  The 10 radials slope from 8 feet down to 6 feet and so far, no one else in our HOA is any wiser...devil

Some more photos:

Set up in the back yard test range for tuning before deployment in the jungle:

 

April 2017 update:

My XYL (who'll always be a YL in my opinion as she's a lot younger than I am) passed her Technician exam on the third try with flying colors (English is her second language and she had little time to study before her first two tests).

She became KG5SWN on 21 April and now enjoys keeping touch with me via our local 2-meter repeater.

Jeff, NH7RO and Leti, KG5SWN

 

February 2017 update:

I completed building a 7-foot diameter STL made out of 7/8" copper tubing for 40M in mid-February and am currently finishing the square pipe loop project that I decided to revive and complete after beginning work nearly four years ago.  During initial testing it appears to tune between 16 and 27 mhz with the large butterfly capacitor I obtained from Monarch Capacitors (VE3UK).  This is not exactly what I was aiming for in band coverage (10-20M) but it will still come in handy for the odd 12-15-17M QSO should we have propagation there. 

The pipe used is 1.625" OD and the whole assembly probably weighs more than my much larger 40 meter loop!

A few pictures of square loop and the 40M monster follow:

Since the photo was taken I have added a tuning shaft and 6:1 drive reduction as well as a trimming of the big cap's threaded rods protruding below it.  I am still fiddling with the placement of the coupling loop and mounting of the reduction drive to the PVC mast.

The 40M loop was finished in the evening hence my first photo of it was taken with flash:

It is manually tuned and easy to find the resonant point by hooking up my RigExpert to it while set on the desired frequency and turning the knob on the bottom of the shaft. Takes about 15 seconds and a quick run in and out of the shack.  Eventually I will add a motor drive of some sort but for now this arrangement works for me.

I also drilled numerous holes in the wood frame and base to lighten the whole assembly a little; it still weighs around twenty pounds or more and is a bit unwieldy while hoisting atop my five-foot wooden support stand.  I've already worked more DXCCs with this big loop over one contest weekend than all the time I had a vertical set up in my KH6 QTH in 2011-2012.  Nice and quiet  on receive, too and it handles 600 watts with ease (I really need it most of the time on 40M SSB, too).

 

January 2017 update;  Just completed building my 15-17-20M STL replacement for my original 10-20M STL that got damaged last year.   Here are a couple of photos of it in our back yard:

Under construction

I used two sections of 0.875 inch soft copper tubing connected together at the vacuum variable capacitor under the plastic cover to provide a slightly larger equivalent diameter radiating element.  So far, so good; my first three contacts were FG5, ZD7 and ZD8 and all gave me 5x7 or better reports.

(The large wire coupling (feed) loop seen in these pix has been revised to a smaller one made out of 1/4" HVAC tubing and is placed closer to the center than offset as before)

Using a 5vdc 2RPM gearmotor with a 6:1 vernier reduction drive coupled to a fiberglass driveway marker for very slow but also very fine tuning.  Nothing speedy or fancy but it works.  The direction and motor speed is controlled in the shack via a 12>5 vdc voltage reducer and PWM DC motor speed/direction control purchased on eBay.

Rough tuning indicator:

I am now building a 7-foot diameter (0.05 wavelength) 40M STL and more photos of it will also be put up here once it is completed.  Here it is shown under construction:

In addition to these new loops I will also be completing a square 10-20M STL that I started building in 2015 with 1-5/8th" copper pipe.  This project later got "put on the back burner" as I changed my mind on the design mid-stream and wanted to try a less soldered-together design instead.  But I have all the pipe cut, a spare butterfly (air-variable) capacitor on hand so will finish what I started and see how it compares to its replacement.

 I am also going to build a portable hamstick/screwdriver mount and radial plate that I can deploy easily at the beach or in my backyard, too---it's always seems a matter of "so many projects, so little time..."smiley

***************************************************

March, 2016 Update;  My 10-20M STL pictured below is temporarily down (I need to replace the vacuum capacitor as the seal got broken).  In the interim I am using a large screwdriver mounted near the edge of our wooden balcony with a 17-foot telescoping whip and several radials that I can swap out as needed for different bands. 

I'm also operating from my HFto UHF mobile with another screwdriver and various mobile/satellite and weak-signal mode antennas but am not too active with that as most of the time I am often working on my 40/80M two-turn Heliax loop as well as several other ham projects.

August 2015:

We moved into our new QTH and I finished building my first rolled copper pipe Small Transmitting Loop for 10-20M QRO operation from our back yard.  More details are posted in the QRZ Antenna Forum; search "home-brewed QRO STL for 10-20M" if interested. 

   

 

 

1/5 diameter coupling loop feed made from #10 gauge wire, SO-239 and reuseable cable tie.  I slide this down closer to the big loop for operation on 20M---all other bands (17-15-12-10) tune flat at this position shown.

Wooden base and stand with stainless steel mount (mount obtained at Pacificon Hamfest in 1999). DC gearmotor mounted on bamboo cutting board and rigged with a makeshift band position indicator made out of drinking straws and toothpicks epoxied to a plastic nut that rides up/down on the aluminum all-thread as the cap shaft turns.

Polished smooth before application of paint to inhibit surface corrosion

5-100pf Russian 25kv capacitor

Guido, my Antenna Cat (2001-2016 R.I.P.) now a Silent Paw and sorely missed.

73 from EL18, Jeff

BELOW ARE SOME PIX FROM MY YEARS LIVING AND OPERATING IN HAWAII (2001-2012); AS ONE CAN EASILY IMAGINE---I GOT SPOILED!

G3TXQ-style cobweb homebrewed at my Volcano QTH:

Part of my antenna farm at dusk:

View from my first KH6 QTH where I actually worked 82 countries on 6 meters in less than two years (between 2001-2003).

My first DX contact was with Ecuador on an HO Loop sitting on my deck railing while looking at this gorgeous expanse of ocean!

Mark Twain Estates, Na'alehu, Hawaii.

Here I realized that I had become (by the choice of my location) the "Southernmost 6 meters operator in the 50 US States" as I was the only active 6M ham in the area.

Na'alehu calls itself "The Southernmost Community in the United States" and is approximately 300+ miles further south than Key West, Florida (My QTH at BK29eb was at 19 degrees North Lattitude).

Volcano, HI (BK29jk) where I lived the last 6 of my 11 years in Hawaii; it rained forever (almost):

Old Hawaiian philosophy:

My trusty 6M5X that I have used since 1998:

NH7RO HAWAII DX STATS

6 meters

85 DXCCs (November, 2001 to October 2011) Antennas used: M2 HO LOOP, 6M5X & 6M7JHV Yagis, 100-1200w PEP SSB

Last Cycle 23 new countries worked: October, 2003: CE0Y, V31, YS, 8P9 , HL, VK7, and P49.

Last Cycle 23 DX QSOs, April 9-12 2004; VK4ABW, VK8MS, VK8RH and heard-only: T33C/B and T33C.

1ST CYCLE 24 DX FOR ME IN BK29: FK8CP 50.110 SSB 5X3 at 0805z 9 April 2011; my report was 4x1 with 100 watts and my 5 element Yagi

Also worked VK8RR, VK8MS and E51CG the following evening (E51 83rd DXCC on 6). F2 Propagation returned 7 years to the day!

16 September 2011 I worked A35CT (Tonga, my #84) while he was running 5W to a HO loop at 20 feet above the ocean; 5x2 to 5x9 reports exchanged. Thanks for the great QSO, Craig; 100% copy both ways!

3D2R (Rotuma) worked around 0900Z Oct. 4th '11 for #85 and my last new one from Hawaii.

CONFIRMED/WORKED TOTALS

DXCCs: 80/85

(still awaiting cards from: ZD8KW and V31PC)

WAC: 6/6 50 MHz Phone WAC May 2002

WAS: 40/41

ZONES: 25/25 50MHz WAZ #058 March 2003

FIELDS: 69/71

GRIDS: 420/450 50 MHz VUCC #1233 400-grid endorsement Feb. 2004.

Thanks to Cesar, HC3AP, for FI06--my last Cycle 23new grid worked--November, 2003. E51CG in BG08ct 1st new DXCC /field / grid Cycle 24

BEST TERRESTIAL DX: ZD7VC 16,810km via F2/TEP, ZD8KW 15,649km F2 path and PW0T14,352km F2 path

BEST LONG-PATH F2; F6GEX 27,767km

Also worked seven EU-KH6 long-path openings between 16th March--8th April 2002, including: CT3, EH, EH8, DL, F, I, IS, LZ, OE, OK, OM, SV, S57, UR, YO, YU, 9A, 9H, and 5B4 (shortest lp @26,073km). Heard ZR5ADQ CQ on 12th April but not wkd.

NH7RO'S SIX METER FIRSTS FROM KH6 (all QSOs confirmed):

EA8: (Canary Islands) EH8BPX 18 March 2002

FJ: (St. Barthelemy, FWI) FJ5DX 13 March 2002

PY0/T (Trindade & Martim Vaz) PW0T 01 March 2002

TG: (Guatemala) TG9NX 19 May 2002

TI9: (Isla del Cocos) TI9M 01 March 2002

UR: (Ukraine) UR6IM, UY9IF, UT7IY, 16 March 2002 (A miraculous 3-minute opening close to 1AM local)

MEMBERSHIPS: SMIRK #6176, UKSMG #2232, Western States Weak Signal Society

My first Moxon, built for ten meters during the summer of 2010:

10 meters

144 DXCCs worked between June, 2010 and April 2012:

LISTED CHRONOLOGICALLY

JA, LU, PY, KP4, YN, TG, FM, FG, 6Y5, W1-0, VK2-8, HK, E51, CE, XE1,2, TI, HC, 9W2, YC, FO, CX, ZP, HP, PJ2, PJ5-6, HI, 9W6, KH2, YV, PJ7, ZF, D4C, 9Y4, 3D2 (Fiji), 3D2 (Rotuma)PJ4, BD, HS, BV, RA0/UA0, VE1-8, VR2, FY, KP2, P43, HC8, DV, 8R1, AH0, V6, ZM, 5W0, KL1,7, 6V7, OA, CP, ZL8, V3, VK9N, J6, HH2, T30, 8P, D2, J88, H44, 4A4 (XF4), V25, EC/EA8, CU2, HR5, FK, DS1, VP5, V73, T32, 3DA0, ZS3-6, T31, P29, 4W6, A35, HL, EB, YJ0, HK0 (San Andres), VP9, CT1, 7X4, J3, Z21, CN8, VK9C, MW0, F5, IW, ON, HZ1, DO7, 4Z5, TX7M, FR, 3W, EY8, ZK2X, V85, C5, VP2, CM, H2-P33, YP3, UT, V26, ZD8, KH7, 4O3, OM, OH-OG, RA,OK, OE, CE0Y, C6, PE1, SM2, T2T, 9N7, VP8, J79, ZD7, 9L0, GM, SP, S59, YL, G0,T8, V63, VK0, VP6, HK0 (Malpelo), XW3, JT5, V55, E51M (North Cooks wkd with 3 watts ssb; my very last QSO from Hawaii!)

My simple but effective 100w solar power setup:

12 meters

43 DXCCs worked between September 2011 and April 2012:

ON, TF, TG, ZD7, 4W6, TI, EA8, VA, KH2, FM, JE, NH6, E51, T32C, EA9 (Ceuta), V3, VK9C, CU7, FG, VP9, PJ5, ZK2, VO1, YN, D2A, XU7, T2T, ZD8, HC8, VR2,VP8, T88, HS0, J79, CO, ZF2 DU1, VK2-7, VP6, HK0 (Malpelo), C21, FW0, HU2 (YS)

My 12M, 15M, 6M and 17-meter antennas can be seen in this ultra-wide angle shot below:

15 meters

130 DXCCs worked since mid-2011 to April 2012

CP, KH8, HC, CO, YB, 4W6, FP, 8R1, 3D2 (Rotuma), BV, VR2, OH, T32, CT, YS, G4, V47, TX7M, 3W, OX, HL, VK9C, 8P6, VK0, ZF, XE, BY, DX, W6, VK, WH2, VP5, KL2, CR2, GI0, ZK2, EI, ED, OK, ON, DC, NH0, PJ4T, TI, VE, P43, CE, KP2, TO5, A52, JA, CV (CX), UN, EY, ZM, LU, PW, 9M6, KH6, FY, RA0, YY8, ZD8, XU7, VP8, 5W0, C91, FO, J79, V3, T88, J67, E51, FM, VP2E, ZD7, FR, FG, HI8, C21, VP6, HK0 (Malpelo),TN2, J38, FW0, VP9, TO3 (FJ), HR, KG4, V25, ZS, J69, HK3, J88, VP2E, NH2, 6Y1, C6, OA, PJ7PT (100th DXCC wkd 8 March 2012), 9Y4, TG9, PJ2, V21, SV2, HA4, D44, JT5, HS0, 9V1, 4X9, H22, LX7, 9A, S51, CN2 (5D5), EE8, TM1,7 (F5), NP4, V5, OQ, IU9, E7D, HF3 (SP), ED9, ZP5, YO4, YL2, E51M (North Cooks), J52HF (last 15M QSO from Hawaii)

My 17M homebrew Moxon atop a 33' New Wave Portapole:

17 meters

68 DXCCs worked between December, 2010 and February, 2012:

CX, YS, JR, VK, 9M, 3D2, BM, JD1, T8, ZL, FM, XE, CE, KP4, V31, H44, VP8, S9, HC, J6, TG, CO, VR, LU, JA, WH2, FO, PP, 4A4 (XF4), UA9, VE3, T30, J73, OX, CU, PJ2, FP, TE8, VU4, CT, GM0, VP5, OK, M0, ON5, HB9, C21, KH4, DL, 5N7, 4W6, LZ, T32C, TX7M, TU, HC8, J79, ZD8, FS, 9L0, VK0, WH0, TI, HL, 6Y5, VP2E, HK0 (Malpelo), KG4

The 20-meter rotatable folded dipole I built with fiberglass, PVC couplings, 18 ga. copper wire and mounted atop a 35-foot tall piece of bamboo cut from a neighborhood grove:

20 meters

61 DXCCs from mid-March 2011 to April 2012:

E51, ZL, PJ7, LU, 8P5-6, FM, CE, P40, UP2, OL, YL, YQ, 9A, S53, V51B (18,674km, my best DX on 20), KH2, CE9/RI1-CE9/KC4, 9Y4, ES5, VP6, P29, IK (IK4GRO was my first QSO made an hour after finishing the assembly of my new K3/100 25 June), LY5, ZK2, V21, T32, D44, UA0, FO, ZR, JY, 8R1, FR, ZD8, VK, JA, CX, TX5, VE, OG, SO, S57, VQ5, K6, KH6, VK, VP8, PJ2, 6Y5, FK, C21, 6V7, VP2E, PZ5, PT5, CR3, BV0, DU1, CQ8

My old (1984) Butternut HF6V converted to an HF5V with two-dozen buried radials:

40 meters

12 DXCCs from Nov 2010 to March 2012:

4A4 (XF4), XF1,T32, YB, XE, VE, K3, JA, KH7, NL7, C5, CE

My other main interest is lapidary work (cutting turquoise) a passion I've held since the late 1960s:

 

Assembling some Elecraft gear was more enjoyable than I ever imagined!

When I fired it up the very first time it passed the "smoke test." Yippee!

After the smoke test I installed the 100-watt PA module as well as the sub-receiver:

Attaching the long ribbon cable inside the P3:

Delving into building the KPA500...

All ready for the hefty toroidal transformer now...

To anyone considering building any of Elecraft's kits I can now wholeheartedly recommend the experience!

Thank you for visiting my QRZ page!----Jeff, NH7RO (now /W5)


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