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KA8CXQ 1978-1979KA8CXQ / KQ4HY 1987-1997NN4DF 2016 - new Elecraft K3s

Calls: KA8CXQ 1978 to 1992 : KQ4HY 1992 to 2000 : NN4DF 2000 to present


  • RIG : Elecraft K3s
  • ANTENNA : Dipole up 25'
  • Logging Program : ACLog by N3FJP
  • Digital Master 780



I began my ham career as KA8CXQ after I graduated from Duke University in 1978. Many thanks to my Elmer and great friend WD8APB, who also happens to be my bro-in-law. My days and evenings as a Novice were spent operating deep in my cozy basement station, which consisted of a Viking Valiant II transmitter and Collins A3 receiver. The peak of the sunspot cycle gave me the opportunity to work all states as a Novice and many countries, all on CW and a dipole. I filled a log book that cold winter in northeast Ohio.

By the time the Dayton hamfest rolled around with the Ohio spring thaw, I had upgraded to General and traded my Viking for a Halicrafters HT-32 transmitter so I could operate SSB. I worked in a factory second shift which turned out to be a DXer's dream: get out of bed at 11 am, work African and European DX on 15 meters until 3 pm, go to work until 12 midnight, come home and work Pacific and far east DX on 40 and 80 meters until 4 am, then go to bed. More log books filled ...

Since my college degree is in forestry, I ended up moving to Florida, the "woodbasket" of the nation. I spent 15 years in the Fort Myers area (south Florida) and became very active in the local radio club. I was even voted "Ham of the Year" once! In 1988 I upgraded to Advanced and later became KQ4HY to reflect my southern adoption. My station changed to a pair of Drake B-line twins and a TH6DXX at 45 feet. Later I traded in my Drakes for a TEN-TEC Paragon. The Super Station was born! I operated many different modes besides CW and SSB such as 10m FM, VHF Packet (had the first VHF/HF packet gateway in SW Florida), 2m SSB and CW, some satellite operations, RTTY, and AMTOR. I would fill up a log page and then change modes for another page.

Later I moved up-state to Gainesville (more pine forests up there) where I upgraded to Extra in 2000. Among the busyness of life, work, and play, I managed to find time to earn my PhD in Forestry from University of Florida in 2015 - at the age of 60! As a graduation gift to myself, I retired a 20+year old Ten-Tec Paragon and bought the K3s and P3 kits at the Orlando Hamcation in 2016.

While my operating opportunities can be somewhat limited by family, church, and job responsibilities, I chase as much DX as is posible with my simple dipole antenna. You may catch me some evening on 17m, 20m, 30m, or 40m operating one of the digital modes, looking for DX, or a keyboard rag-chew. I just acquired a 70 cm DMR HT so often can be heard on Florida Statewide or the SARS NET repeater system in Florida.

NN4DF Field Day 2003

I love contesting so I also work many of the larger CW contests when time permits. The weather here in Florida is too nice most of the time so it's hard for me to want to stay in the house on a nice weekend! Field Day gives me the best of both worlds: radio and the outdoors. I'm pretty much limited to "search-and-pounce" operation because I don't have the signal to command my own frequency but I still enjoy it. I use logging and contest programs by N3FJP. I do all the sending and receiving manually ...

I enjoy portable operating, especially while camping, and have owned a few small rigs that are easy to deploy. My first experience was using an ICOM IC-701. Later I borrowed a Yaesu FT-757 until I bought my own Yaesu FT-890. Once the next-gen mini rigs started coming out, I splurged for a Yaesu FT-100D but found out I had to perform major surgery to install a CW filter. My current portable/mobile radio is the popular ICOM IC-706MkII. When I first started mobile ops I borrowed Hustler mobile antennas but later made the switch to Ham Sticks. I'm now in search of a better mobile antenna/mounting system and welcome all suggestions.

Finally, I'd like to honor and memorialize some hams who helped or encouraged me early in my amateur career and are/were good friends. Some of these folks have become Silent Keys but they come to mind often and contributed in some special way to my understanding and enjoyment of ham radio:

  • WD8ABP : Tim, Federal Way, WA : [Bro-in-law and first Elmer]NN4DF FD 2012
  • K8BAR (SK) : Bill, Conneaut, OH : [DX Elmer]
  • WD4DW (SK?) : Dave, Panama City, FL : [Great Friend and Experimenter]
  • WA4AW : Jeff, Palm Beach County, FL : [Former Co-worker and Hamfest Buddy]
  • W3JI (SK) : Jim, Fort Myers, FL : [Wonderful Friend and Restaurant Buddy]
  • K4FQU (SK): Earl, Fort Myers, FL : [Radio Club Newsletter Elmer]
  • K9ALX (SK) : Harry, Fort Myers, FL : [Equipment Wheeler-Dealer Elmer]
  • KB4KAW (SK) & KI4ZW (SK) : Frank & Lucille, N. Fort Myers, FL
  • W4FF (SK) : Frank, Fort Myers, FL : [VHF Weak Signal Elmer]
  • KA4FZI : Phylisan, Cape Coral, FL : [CW Traffic Net Elmer]

And thanks to my lovely YL Mary Ann for putting up with me and my radios for all these years!

73, Dave NN4DF

7369650 Last modified: 2016-06-08 20:14:54, 7031 bytes

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