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Welcome to my page! I became a ham in 1991 when the "No-code" Tech became available. I had been a broadcast engineer for about 10 years prior working in local radio as both an engineer and announcer. I have been a member of the Fire Service/EMS since 1979 when I joined both the local Volunteer Fire Department and the local Volunteer Rescue Squad. My broadcast career continued thru the end of the '90s where I ran a successful contract engineering service and freelanced as a technician for remote sports broadcasts with such networks as ESPN, CBS, Turner, and others. In 2000 I decided that I needed to stop traveling to spend time at home with my children. I then pursued my "other" career as a firefighter by gaining employment with the City of Bristol, TN Fire Department, advancing to Engineer and Hazmat Specialist/Instructor. (If you are wondering where Bristol is, think NASCAR. If you have been to a race there and entered via gate 13, you have probably seen me in my engine at that gate.) I am currently the Training Captain for the Town of Signal Mountain, TN, a bedroom community of Chattanooga. If you are in the area I can be found on 444.875 +offset with a 156.7 tone. Give me a shout!

My station currently is comprised of two main radios:

Yaesu FT-736R covering 6m using a home brew horizontal aluminum dipole, 2m 1.25m and 70 cm using a Comet CX-333 tri-band omni.

Yaesu FT-950 covering 160-6m feeding a 160m full-wave loop at about 30 feet elevation around my back yard.

Future plans are to add about 40' of tower and mast to accomidate a Par Electronics: OA-50 for 6m, OA-144 for 2m, OA-222 for 1.25m and an OA-432 for 70cm. These antennae are all horizontal omni.  There will also be beams added for all 4 VHF/UHF bands mentioned above with all 8 antennae switched remotely utilizing a single control line and single coax feed to the shack.  When this project is completed, these 8 antennae will be dedicated to the Yaesu FT-736R and VHF/UHF FM duties will fall to a matching set of Icom IC-x8 series monobanders using the Comet CX-333.

This arrangement will give me full coverage on all modes from 160m thru 70cm without compromising FM monitoring capabilities.

And as a good ham should, many other odds and ends!

73 de Kevin



OCTOBER 2017 -- Ok, so I must get on a soapbox concerning QSL’s.  In particular, paper QSL’s.

When I began my Amateur Radio Career, I was fortunate to have several ELMERs in the Tri-City, TN Area that had been in the business a very long time and offered much in the way of experience and advice (W4FXO, W4CBX, WD4JJ and others).  Many of these have become SK’s in the last few years (W4HRT, W4CZ, W4EHI, K4CWA and others).  One of the things hammered into me was the importance of good log keeping and consistent QSL use.  One of my ELMERs taught me to write out my cards as I finished a QSO or keep a good written “Jotter Log” as he called it, and catch up the cards ASAP after a contest or pileup.  Keep in mind this was before online logging and in my area not much computer logging going on. That’s right! No eQSL or LoTW.

As I was mainly on VHF/UHF in those early days, it didn’t really sink in.  Fast forward 15 years and I was able to pursue HF activities finally and BAM! Wow, this is important.  And even though the teaching came back, I was slow to get really with the program.  After a while I began to be able to catch up on my logging and have made great strides in being consistent with QSL’s.

Not too long ago I received an email from a contact who just really berated me for sending a paper QSL, since he had put into his QRZ listing “No QSL’s by mail”.  This has been bugging me so I’m going to state my position on this:

Reverting to my training by my elders, I usually have the card filled out before ever looking up a callsign on QRZ.  I want to send you a paper QSL.  It’s a hard copy.  If you receive it in the mail ok, it can’t be lost in the “Cloud” from the internet. It’s a personal touch from me to you to close out the QSO or Contact.  I feel this is especially important as it lends that human touch, especially on a data QSO such as PSK31, RTTY, JT65 or FT8, which I have found to be quite popular in the last few months. 

Many hams don’t use paper QSL or prefer other means such as LoTW, eQSL, QRZ, etc.  That’s ok.  I upload to QRZ and eQSL also. If that’s what you want to do, then fine, but please don’t berate me because I want to “Shake Your Hand” instead of a “Fist Bump”. It’s MY time and money I’m spending, not YOURS.

If you don’t want to send me paper in return, that’s your end of the bargain.  But I want your paper QSL if you have one. Collecting the cards is not only a great sub-hobby to the main hobby of Amateur Radio, but it is a tradition… a link to the past, the beginning of our hobby. One that we should pass along to the younger generations taking our place on the airwaves.

I understand the cost, time and trouble to get these in the mail. I understand that the internet now lets us QSL in minutes instead of waiting months on a card from the Bureau. For some they don’t want to participate in paper.  I do.  So, if and when we do make contact on the bands, expect a card in the mail from me regardless of your QSL policy.  It is ingrained in me just as my parents ingrained “excuse me”, “thank you”, “Sir” and “Ma’am”.

I guess I’ll step down from the soapbox now.  73 and God Bless.  Kevin

8391541 Last modified: 2017-10-16 02:28:34, 6037 bytes

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United States Counties Award#8193
Granted: 2017-12-23 07:38:02   (W4VFF)

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Grid Squared Award#18142
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