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W6OPO USA flag USA

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Current Station TS-990S & Expert 1.3K-FA 1500 Watt Amplifier

40ft/13m high Force-12 C3S and dipole

1984 S-Line Station                                                                    1972 Station SB-102

1961 Novice Station - Hallicrafters S38E and Heathkit DX-20 plus crystals

 

After using coffee cans and string while up in backyard trees, my best friend Ben and I became interested in RF and radio. This was in 1960 while in the 8th grade. I made crystal sets and the weirdest antennas you can imagine. I had no idea what a wavelength was. I just knew the fancier it was the better it would work. I got my ideas from Outer Limits on TV.

Ben and I saw a couple of big antennas in the area; my dad told us Hams used those. Wow, what are they? Knocking on the front door of one of the houses at the foot of a tower Ben and I were greeted by a nice but to the point man. He became our Elmer after we agreed we would stick with it or he would have nothing to do with us. Over the summer Ben and I learned the code and Elmer guided both of us through the construction of our first transmitter, a crystal controlled 25 watt behemoth made of scrounged FAA radar parts from dismantled installations. We learned how to read schematics, solder, make point-to-point wiring neat including laced cabling and where to keep the leads short and where it didn’t matter. It was amazing stuff.

We took our Novice test in the summer of 1961 just as we were entering high school. My new Novice callsign was KN5MYM. In 1962 just before my licensed expired, I upgraded to Conditional. Living in El Paso Texas meant we didn’t see an FCC examiner but once a year. The following winter my dad was assigned overseas duty in the Far East. In December 1962 we moved to the Ryukyu Islands north of Taiwan. I lost track of my Elmer something I am deeply sorry about. He taught me commitment, technical skills and most of all good operating practice.

I lived and operated from the main island in the Ryukyu archipelago Okinawa using KR6GJ callsign. My rig was a DX-20 (25 watt) plate modulated with an EICO-730 modulator and an SX-140 receiver. During my free time I ran phone patches from KR6AF on Kadena AB where I got my first hands-on time with Collins S-Line including a 30S-1 and a TH6DXX Thunderbird. It took about 30 years before I owned my own S-Line. In the meantime I assembled a complete Heathkit SB-102 series station with all its peripherals. It was a great experience building those kits and keeping them working.

I returned to the States for college and was assigned W6OPO. For the next several years I was essentially off the air with school and family commitments. I graduated from University of Texas in 1970. My wife of 1-yr and I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area knowing the jobs were gone in the Pacific Northwest and Southern California as the aerospace industry was collapsing. I worked for Van Waters and Rogers for 4 years then went to work for HP. I retired from HP after 30 years and am enjoying the new life style.

This is a great hobby and it is a means to grow technically and develop and keep long term relationships. I hope to work you soon either on CW or SSB for a rag chew or in an occasional contest.

7600219 Last modified: 2016-09-30 06:22:47, 5383 bytes

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