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When I was growing up in Omaha, a Boy Scout merit badge counselor showed me his ham station one evening. He lived in a yellow house with a small tower on 114th Street. I still remember how amazed I was when he spoke into that mic and a voice from far away came back to him like magic out of the static. I don’t know the name of that merit badge counselor, but that man’s demonstration marked a turning point in my life. Ever since then I’ve been experimenting with radio and electronics both recreationally and professionally.

Field Day, 2008. 6m beam elements + forest products

I was first licensed in 1973 as WB0MAH. My first rig was a military surplus ARC-5 receiver and transmitter from Fair Radio. A local ham gave me some transformers out of his junk box in the garage to make a power supply. The ARC-5 transmitter was mostly useful for making TVI, but the receiver taught me the code and worked well with the Johnson Viking II which quickly replaced the ARC-5 transmitter. A Regency HR-2B 2 meter radio was soon acquired. Sometimes I wonder where those radios are today.

The equipment lineup now is a little better, but the excitement and enjoyment of operating are still the same. My professional work takes me to TV and radio stations throughout Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. I often operate mobile while traveling across the high deserts and mountains to jobsites. The mobile rig is a Yaesu FT-857 into a 12’ long Bugcatcher with a capacity hat. The antenna mounts on the receiver hitch of my Nissan Xterra.

W0BX mobile in Utah

 

Equipment at the home station:

  • IC-756 PRO-II
  • Heath SB-220 amplifier
  • Yaesu FT-897 (digital modes)
  • Ubuntu Linux running fldigi, gMFSK, and WSJT, homebrew interface
  • Xastir igate + Kantronics 9612 + Yaesu FT-8500
  • Palstar AT-2K tuner
  • IC-706 MKII and Yaesu FT-7800, the "kitchen shack"
  • 40 meter full wave horizontal loop
  • 80 meter broadband dipole
  • 160 meter OCF dipole (used on 160, 75, 40 and 10 meters)
  • TH-3 three element bearm on 20, 15 and 10 meters

Ham radio also plays into my other volunteer activities. I’m a member of the Mesa County Search and Rescue Technical Rescue Team as well as the Snowmobile Team. Our team uses APRS when operating the snowmobiles, and the excellent repeater systems in this area are a great asset whenever a mission takes us into the back country of Colorado. I’m also a CVE with W5YI and I enjoy helping folks get started in ham radio as well as upgrading.

Snowmobile access to the radio towers

73,

Bill

6425815 Last modified: 2015-07-16 00:34:43, 3736 bytes

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