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I have been awed by ham radio since I was a child.  The mysterious world of morse code and strange, distorted voices from across the world fired my imagination.  Books in the Hardy Boys series like "The Shortwave Mystery" and Bertrand R. Brinley's "The Mad Scientists Club" series only fueled that fire.  After far too many years of keeping it on the back burner, I finally decided it wasn't going to be that thing that other people do and I obtained my basic (with honors) license in 2013, and my advanced license in 2016.  With some fantastic old Heathkit and Drake equipment to sink my teeth into, and an OCF dipole, I'm exploring the art and science of amateur radio.

My shack is currently equipped in two groups:


  • Drake TR-7A radio (~120 watts)
  • Astatic 877L Microphone (identical to the Drake 7077)
  • Heathkit SB-200 Linear Amplifier
  • MFJ MFJ-993 Antenna Tuner


  • Heathkit SB-104A radio (100 watts) & the following items in its series:
    • SB-230 Linear Amplifier
    • SB-604 Speaker + Power Supply
    • SB-614 Monitor Scope
    • SB-634 Station Console
    • SB-644A Remote VFO
  • Turner SSB +2 Microphone

My antenna is an 80m half wave off-center-fed dipole based on work by W8JI and VA3STL.  It's feedpoint makes it resonant on 80/40/20/15/10.

My station went on the air officially on 6 July 2016 when the antenna was finally hoisted.  Thanks goes out Kevin Stockton (N5DX) running a net on 20m out of N2QV's fabulous station in New York who was my very first HF QSO at 0010Z 7 July 2016.

73 to all, and I hope to be exchanging good old fashioned QSL cards with you in the future.

     Kurt Fitzner (VA1DER)

8240894 Last modified: 2017-07-28 00:58:42, 2312 bytes

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