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Updated 4 May 2017

Born in Owensboro, KY, I was first licensed as a Novice (WN4TTE) in 1964 and then Conditional (WA4TTE) in 1965. I moved to Newburgh, IN in 1967, where I held WA9VZM and upgraded to Extra just before Incentive Licensing established restricted frequencies. After graduation from college, I relocated to the Dayton, OH area in 1972 and was issued WB8MKZ. W8FN was issued in 1977 in the original wave of vanity calls and has remained my call since. In 1997 I relocated to the Dallas-Fort Worth, TX area. From 1997 to 2005 I lived in Parker County west of Fort Worth. In 2005 marriage moved me to Arlington, TX. I expect to remain in Arlington for a few more years, but eventually hope to move to a better radio location after retirement.

My primary interests are CW contesting, DX and high-performance station design and construction. I do the best I can with a good Single Operator 2 Radio (SO2R) station and very limited antennas from a small 0.2 acre lot in Arlington, Texas. The station performs well enough in domestic contests that I have placed first in the North Texas section in Single Operator Low Power class in ARRL CW Sweepstakes for the last seven years, winning the West Gulf Division title in that class five of those years. I hold 8BDXCC, WAZ, and 6 meter VUCC awards. I am on the DXCC Honor Roll with current totals of 350 Mixed, 339 CW, 260 Phone and 52 RTTY. I am a Life Member of ARRL and also belong to DFW Contest Group and Lone Star DX Association.

In November 2015 I had the privilege of operating in the CQ Worldwide DX CW Contest with K4BAI, KU8E and PJ4LS from the PJ4G contest station on Bonaire using the contest call PJ4A. We turned in a score that was good for 5th place worldwide in the Single Operator Two Transmitter class. This was one of the highlights of my contesting career, and I hope to be able to operate from there again.

 

Primary Station:

Elecraft K3S transceiver with KRX3 second receiver

Elecraft P3 panadapter with SVGA board

Elecraft KPA500 amplifier

Elecraft KAT500 antenna tuner -- used primarily for matching 160 meter antenna

K-Pod Remote Tuning Module

Elecraft XV144 2 meter transverter

TE Systems 1410G 160W 2 meter amplifier

 

Secondary Station:

Elecraft K3 transceiver with KRX3 second receiver

Elecraft P3 panadapter with SVGA board

Elecraft KAT500 antenna tuner -- used primarily for matching 160 meter antenna

K-Pod Remote Tuning Module

 

 

Antennas:

Tree mounted 160 meter inverted L, approx. 30' vertical and 95' horizontal. Using a K2AV Folded Counterpoise in lieu of radials.

44’ vertical with top hat wire for 80 meters (used as mast for 40 meter and 30 meter antennas). This antenna is tuned with a SGC SG-235 remote tuner at the base feedpoint. The antenna has a "few" radials; I expect to add more as time goes on.

40 meter inverted vee at approx. 44' apex height (shares mast with 30 meter antenna).

30 meter PAR EndFedz with feed at approx. 48' (shares mast with 40 meter antenna).

3 element SteppIR on Create 10' roof tower mounted on roof of two story house -- approx. 35' high.

Triband 10-15-20 dipole at about 20' -- used mostly for 2nd radio in SO2R contest operation.

S9V 43' vertical fed with SGC SG-230 antenna coupler. Just a few radials installed; used mostly for Diversity receiving and as a MF/LF receive antenna.

Cushcraft 13B2 for 2 meters at approx 32' (on same mast as SteppIR).

Pixel Technologies RF PRO-1B magnetic loop for Diversity and MF/LF receive.

 

The nerve center of my fully automated station is a microHAM MK2R+ 2-radio controller that works in concert with a pair of microHAM Station Masters, one for each radio. The MK2R+ controls all keying, microphone, and FSK switching, along with sophisticated audio switching for SO2R. The Station Masters control  antenna and bandpass filter selection and other associated control functions for their respective radios. A microHAM Double Ten antenna switch selects any one of up to 10 antennas for each radio. For single radio operation the alternate antenna selection from the Double Ten switch can be fed to the primary station Main and Sub receiver channels so that different transmit and receive antennas are available. The second receiver antenna is very useful for Dual Diversity reception using the second receiver of the K3, especially on the low bands. I have recently added 500W transmit bandpass filters for 80, 40, 20 and 15 meters to provide improved harmonic rejection, thereby reducing interference between the two stations in SO2R operation. I have designed and built a considerable amount of custom control circuitry to control receiver antenna switching and other station functions. All RF cables in the station are built using double shielded coax, either Davis BuryFlex or LMR-240UF to minimize inter-station crosstalk. Most control and audio cables are constructed with stranded CAT5 cable to take advantage of its twisted pair construction, which greatly minimizes RF pickup.

The station continues to evolve, and I am currently working on simplifying the complex control cabling by moving from hard-wired control boxes with relays and manual switches to an automated solution using Arduino microcontrollers at the operating location and for the remote RF switching. The microcontrollers will communicate over an RS485 data bus. This arrangement will eliminate a large number of multi-conductor control cables routed between the equipment desk and the RF switching hardware and replace four separate dedicated control boxes with a single integrated control panel with a LCD display. The new setup will also support a large physical separation between the operating position and the RF switching hardware when the station is eventually moved and reassembled after retirement.

Here's a picture of the station, as of June 2016; new pictures will be posted soon:

 

The antenna switching hardware and control wiring are installed in the attic on the wall behind the 2nd floor station:

 

The transmit bandpass filter array is also installed in the attic. When this picture was taken the 20 meter BPF unit had been removed for maintenance and the 15 meter BPF had not yet been installed. The somewhat cantankerous WX0B SixPak switches have since been replaced with a pair of homebrew KK1L 2X6 switch units:

 

I use DX4WIN as my daily logging program and N1MM+ Logger for contesting.

 

I QSL primarily via Logbook of the World, although I'm happy to respond to old fashioned paper QSL cards as well.

Hope to see you on the CW bands and in the contests!

8075027 Last modified: 2017-05-05 00:58:45, 11032 bytes

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