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Hi! My name is CHRIS.

18 Nov 2017

Finally got back on the air Oct 28, after being QRT for a few weeks while I rebuilt my 2nd flloor shack (Need a new shack picture). Weather conflicted with expected help on the outdoor construction resulting in my equipment sitting on the floor in a guest bedroom for weeks.

The motivation was to isolate my DX Engineering Active Receive Verticals from Common Mode feedline noise to the degree practical. After a lot of planning, I decided to attach substantial RF Common Mode Chokes to every ​line entering the shack. The result was my Box Full o' Ferrites: an entrance panel from KF7P metalworks I filled with arrestors and ferrites from various sources, including home-brew. Results: well, this year's low band DX season (i.e. starting now) will tell the tale... But funny: I can now pick out individual noise sources that were previously blanketed in overall noise.

My Box Full o' Ferrites

The old ​entrance panel looked like this - all the cables came in the window to arrestors on a grounded copper plate on the wall, and into a jumble of wires and cables behind the rig. 

19 September 2017

Busy summer... Lousy electrical noise levels hereabouts made the lowbands tough, and I've been QRT while I rebuild my station. Meanwhile, I grew 132 lbs (50Kg) of tomatoes on 5 plants, and processed them into a winter's worth of sauces and canned goods... This is just a tiny part of the total...

Hey, a ham's gotta eat!

Update 29 May 2017

Been back in the States for a just few days - not even QRV at home yet - but here are a few pictures:

I was QRV in Austria as OE/NW6V from the solarium of my brother-in-law's house - in Gänserndorf Süd - roughly 15KM East of Vienna. My trusty KX3 was paired with a Buddistick attached to a wheel-barrow in the garden. Couldn't be more simple :-) There really wasn't much time for operating - I was there for family - but I managed an hour or two each day while my XYL (Judy) and her brother chatted up everything in the world. While they'd converse I'd sit with earbuds on, tuning 20 and 40 meters - mostly listening. I was QRP after all, so most of my calls went unheard. But I had suprisingly good reach all over Europe; worked as far out as Gibralter and Ireland, and of course into Russia, Germany, and Italy. One suprise: no OE's were heard.

Twenty was actually a joy - the noise level was S-zero - something I never experience at home - and I could hear tiny signals, like delicate wind-chimes, against a backdrop of smooth noise. India! NZ! Japan! Just listening was a great pleasure.


QRV in Austria   QRV in Austria: Buddistick on Wheel barrow

Judy's brother, Stan, played Viola with the Vienna Stattsoper Orchestra for 30+ years - so every trip to Vienna includes at least one outing. This year, we saw Die Fliedermaus at the Volksoper - this was shot minutes before the start. 

QRV in Austira at the Volksoper


Update 30 April 2017

QRV AS OE/NW6V MAY 7-?, 2017 :  I'm off to Austria later this week, accompanying my XYL, Judy, on a two+ week visit with my brother-in-law, who lives near Vienna. He's not been well, so we go more to visit than to vacation (although I 'm sure I'll have ample opportunity to sample the local cuisine and wines). However, I plan to take a KX3 along and hope to have some QRP fun while I'm there. Antenna will probably be a Buddistick. All CW of course. :-) 


Update 3 March 2017 ======================

The latest addition to my growing key collection is this 1935 vintage Vibroplex Lightning Bug. The before and after shots tell the tale: rust. Cleaning up that rust took 12 hours of work with a fiberglass scratch brush, mixed in with 24 hours or so soaking in various cleaning and de-rusting solutions. The plating on the base came off like the skin of a snake in the de-rust bath, leaving behind a pitted steel surface - which looks great compared to the original - but is begging to be replated in the future.

The best part is that the key is GREAT to send on :-) It's now my favorite bug!

= = = = = =

Update 10 February, 2017 ======================

Last Summer, the 2016 Friendship Radiosport Games were held here in Portland. The Morse contest had three parts - sending, copying, and copying calls in a pileup. The sending portion is what attracted me, and it was divided into three sections: the first had to be sent with a straight key, the second with a straight key or a bug, and the third with a straight key, a bug, or paddles. I practiced on all three - but learned that the winners usually stayed on the straight key - which I did - and won the Gold Medal.  :-)

Anyway, while working on my 80 meter DXCC, I have lots of time to just listen to others. Well, one day another ham mentioned a "bug roundup" - the equivalent of Straight Key Night. So I joined in - and had a revelation... I really enjoy rag-chewing with a bug!

Well, since then I've picked up a few bugs and spent quite a bit of time rag-chewing on 40 and 80 CW - but also started enjoying restoring old bugs.


I've managed to acquire quite a few keys over the last few years.

First is my 1927 Vibroplex Standard Original. I bought this on E-Bay in November of 2016 just after that "bug Roundup" I mentioned. It was very dirty but with minimal cleaning I managed to get it working. But it needed a good cleaning - which I learned how to do - which led me to a new part of this hobby - restoring old keys.

This is how it looked after a throrough cleaning. 


Here's a picture of the original owner, a RR guy:

Also on the desk is my "practice" bug - a 1956 Blue Racer I bought to practice for that Radiosport Contest last summer. It is in perfect condition - I sent it to Vibroplex for a cleaning, and had them replace a spring, feet, and all new contacts. 

I've learned to love bugs - but my pride and joy is this Marconi 213 replica made by Alberto Frattini, I1QOD. I used it to win the Gold Medal in that radiosport competition last summer. I've been clocked at 30+ WPM on that beauty. More is possible.

Next is my wonderful N3ZN paddle. This was a gift from my XYL and son a couple of years ago. It is my CW tool of choice for never-fail accuracy when working a pile-up, or for contesting (which I'm not doing much of).

There are a few others I'll discuss by and by.

Update: 8 February, 2017 =======================

Comparing the picture of my rig back in 2012 and now (at the top of the page), the only item still in daily use is my old Kenwood clock from the early 80s... keeps lousy time but I love the darn thing.

Here's a photo I took of some in-progress cleaning I'm doing on a 1927 Vibroplex Standard Original. Note the condition of the left and right binding posts... the left is "before" and the right one is "after." Amazing what a little elbow grease and the right tools can do...

Guess which binding post hs been cleaner...

More to come...

Update 2 November 2012 =======================

I acquired a new rig a few weeks back - an Elecraft KX3. What a marvelous little radio!

With the single exception of power output (only 12 watts vs. 70) the KX3 does more than and outperforms everything shown in my station photo on this site. But I can hold it in my hand, and it runs on batteries...

Last week, while on vacation in the south of France, I threw an end-fed 20 meter wire up in a tree and was working DX from the patio of the vacation cottage we'd rented. My favorite moment was rag-chewing at 20+ WPM - hand held while standing in the patio using the KX3's built-in paddles. Marvelous fun - worked DX from the Czech Republic to Madiera that afternoon.

Next: an amp for the home QTH, and of course, a better antenna :-)

June 2012 ================================

The rig at NW6V June 2012

I had my first QSO on August 9, 1960 as WV2OGV. I was eleven years old.

I'm back on the air for the first time since the mid-1980s (except for a few stints as a VHF contest op with friends WC2F (sk), K2SMN (sk), K2TXB, et. al. back in the early nineties).

It's as though I stepped out of a time capsule.

I'm working CW only for now. Always preferred it - don't even have a microphone:-) 20+ WPM copy came back with no difficulty, but I was surprised that my fist, especially with a straight key, was pretty rough for my first week back on the air.

Station equipment consists of a 30+ yr. old Icom 740 and a Heath HW9 QRP rig (9 June 2012 - Just had my first QSO with the HW9 in at least 25 years! DL5AXX on 15 CW - amazing what that little rig can do with 3W :-).  Added an audio DSP unit to the Xcvr and it made the modern noise levels bearable.

Put up an Alpha-Delta DX-EE 40-10 parallel dipole as an inverted V with the apex at 33 feet. Anything bigger or higher is not possible at this QTH :-(

The antenna went up on the morning of May 26, 2012 - about 14 hours into the 2012 CQ CW WPX contest - which was a perfect way to see if my old rig and this new antenna were working- they were:-) Contacted 30 States and 48 countries in about 12 hours on the air.

Prior call signs: WV2OGV, WA2OGV, N6ECU, and since the early eightie, NW6V. As I said, first QSO August 1960 as an eleven year old. Got my General just after I turned 12, and by the time I was 14 I had WAS, WAC, and 73 countries confirmed - mostly on CW. Even then the enjoyment of working DX and CW defined my ham radio experience.

My Elmer was Ed Raser, W2ZI, a real old-timer who was first licensed in 1912  (see the March 2012 QST for more info about Ed). Ed administered my novice exam in his radio museum. Ever actually SEE (and hear) a spark gap transmitter in operation? I have - after passing the exam Ed had me send a single CQ on an ancient spark transmitter then said, with a laugh: "You just wiped out every TV within half a mile." 

But my most important Elmer was my dad. He was a Navy operator for decades. He was first licensed in the early thirties as (I think) W3JGN when New Jersey was in the 3rd call area! As he moved around in the Navy pre and post WW2, he held, I believe, W6JGN in California, K6CAL in Hawaii, W1JGN in Rhode Island, and finally K2CAL in NJ. He instilled this love of CW in me... made a deal that if I'd get my speed up to 13 WPM he'd help me put up a proper antenna.. By the time I received my General I could copy 18 WPM of 5-letter code groups on the Instructograph :-) Dad passed back in the nineties, but I think of him, W2ZI, W2WOA "Doc" Diesel, W2CCO "Les" Allen and all the other local hams who ushered me into this wonderful hobby when I was a child. It's an honor to walk in their footteps. And a lot of fun too :-)

73, Chris NW6V

8462244 Last modified: 2017-11-19 14:55:56, 13572 bytes

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