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     Novice KA9FXK in September, 1979.  General six months later, advanced in November, 1983 and became KD9FY.  A year after the advanced test, went before "old stone face" at the Rock Island arsenal, aced the 20 wpm test and never looked back.  In June 1986, the NK prefix came around. (no vanity callsigns back then)  Daily phone calls to the FCC to track prefix allotments.  (no internet back then, but was on packet with a dumb terminal)  Wanted NK9E, pulled the trigger, and nearly missed NK altogether! 

     Known in person, and on the air as Chet, have spent my life as a wild cattle catcher.  The occupation has been handed from father to son for many generations.  Some of my ancestors were well known stockmen, in the country of Wales, near an area known as Snowdon.  They worked their magic at least 300 years ago.  Each generation seems to take the work in a slightly different direction.  Today it is common for a job to come in from 200, to 300 miles away.  As a pre-teen, Dad thought we were seeing big country if we traveled 100 miles away.  hihi  Horses, and bovine tracking dogs are the backbone of the business today. Threat of lawsuits, are an ever present danger to cattlemen of the upper Midwest, when their cattle break loose, and roam free. This has led to a lifetime average of over 100 jobs per year.   

     Most of my hamming, comes from the mobile.  It seems to make the miles go by faster.  Most contacts are on HF cw, with homemade keyer. (built in 1980) In the mid 80's, became tired of chasing the Bencher paddles all over the truck cab, on bumpy roads, and off road to load roped beef.  Discovered some push button momentary mini switches in an old clock radio. Wired them back-to-back, mounted them on the gear shift.  Problem solved.  They do wear out every couple of years, so keep some spares handy, to plug and play.

     During the winter, jobs get real slow, so hamming moves into the shack.  More voice operations, and ragchewing, to pass the cold months.  Mostly 40, and 17 meters, with power levels from miliwatts, to legal limit.  Am ARRL life member. and looking forward to semi retirment.  Equine mobile is currently being experimented with, and planned trips to the desert southwest in the winters, Montana, Wyoming in the summers.

     Current stations include:  Mobile--Alinco dx-70 th, with Hustler resonators on short mast for 17, 30, and 75 meters.  On 10,15,20,and 40 meters, using an original spider system.  Found it at a hamfest for $35, two years ago.

      At home, Yaesu ft-100, or Kenwood's ts-850, or ts-830.  Tower #1 is a U S HDX-555.  On it is Cushcraft X-9, above that is a 4 element yagi for 17 meters, topped off with Diamond X-510.  Tower #2, is a  25' highline pole, with 35' of Rohn 20 on top of it.  This holds up a quarter wave wire on 40, with elevated counterpoise, as well as a double bazooka vee on 75.  Tower #3 is down right now, for rehab.  This summer it will have a 3 element yagi on 30 meters, at 60'.  The tower #4 project may, or may not be finished this summer (2017).  It is a free stander by Rohn, 5 foot spread at the base, 80 foot tall.  Am not impressed with the top 20 foot section, and have 40 feet of Rohn 45 to take it's place.  Will weld ten feet of 45 into the third section, then 30 feet of 45 beyond that.  Hope the 90 footer will hold up 4 elements on 40.  The big trick is to modify the base, to become a fold over.  Have an idea on how to do it, with a heavy duty winch.  It may well crash and burn on it's maiden voyage.  If so, it will go to the scrap yard, which is where I rescued it from in the first place.

      Once the business is sold, will work at updating the station rigs, to become remote ready via the internet.

     73, and C U somewhere! 

7972521 Last modified: 2017-03-17 18:04:53, 3975 bytes

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