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I   enjoy hearing from hams who having read my Aunt Ethelyn's Today I Am a Ham (1968)

 (for which my brother, W9JDG and I were technical advisors), were turned on to the pleasures of amateur radio.

Copies are still available on the internet.  

The window is plastic, with holes drilled for the 4-wire 80 meter inverted vee NVIS turnstile feedline, open line to backyard half-wave GP on 30 meters, and Beverage. In the upper right corner of the window: 4 rotary switches--one for each feedline wire.The two meters just above the IC-706 indicate battery voltage and charge/discharge current. To the right of those, is a switch (and LED indicators) to select from two verticals, and (through relays) the N, E, S, or W heading for the 30 meter 3/2 wave vee beam configuration of the turnstile (also useable on 40 and 20). For 160, as well as 80 & 40, the 4 wires of the turnstile are tied together to form a cage umbrella vertical, fed against the powerline neutral, and numerous radials. The homebrew linear has 2 bandswitches--the pi output switch LEDs show the position of the input switch. Among its unique features: a grouded B+, which negates the need for an RF choke for the four 811-A plates, whose current flows through the tank coil and RF choke across the 50 ohm output. Also eliminated: plate blocking capacitor (which reduces the VHF inductance path to the input tuning capacitor). 

Main Interest: Antennas (80/75 Meter NVIS Turnstile pictured & described below).

Contests? Just CW--the ones on Top Band, and the AR and a few other QSO parties. Just CW, ostly on 30 & 40 meters, sometimmes 20; HF hearing loss makes for difficult 'phone work.

 

First Word: "RADIO" (No TV at that time,

just a Zenith table model radio, with SW bands):

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In the late 40's our family radio was upgraded to a Zenith floor model (that's my then 1-year-old brother Rick, c.1959). My other brother, W9JDG and I got the table radio for our room. Alas, owing to youthful idiocy, it eventually got cannibalized for parts.

Grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

c.1949: Built first crystal set, and strung first outdoor (50 foot) antenna.

Aug 3, 1954: Novice (WN9JEF) & Technician (W9JEF)

Oct, 1954: Conditional License At the time, this ticket granted all operating privileges; same as General Class, except that the exam & 13 WPM code test was administered by W9FWO, a local ham (at whose TVrepair shop I later worked).

Photo of early hamshack

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Green Bay YMCA Radio Club (c.1957) L to R, Larry, K9BBU, my brother Wayne, W9JDG (that's his S-85), Dick, K9BBT, Dave W9GBV, and W9JEF at the mic, tuning the VFO of my 100 watt 80 - 10 CW/phone homebrew transmitter.

1955: "Worked All States" Award. (There were only 48 at that time.)

1957: Amateur Extra, and 1st Class Commercial Radiotelephone Licenses. Took exams at FCC office, Federal Building, downtown Chicago. VIA C&NW Railroad train down and back. PLEASE don't expect me to solidly copy 20 wpm -- that code test was a long, long time ago. ;-)

1957-1960: Navy Gunfire Control Technician School; USNTC, Bainbridge, MD; Aircraft Carrier USS Hancock (CVA-19), San Francisco, WESPAC; and Submarine Tender USS Sperry (AS-12) San Diego Harbor (basically shore duty). My Aunt Louise lived there, so I was blessed with a "home away from home" in sunny California.

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My Uncle Don served as a Gunnery Officer aboard the USS Los Angeles during the Korean war. His life was saved by a cup of Navy coffee.

1961: Began broadcast career as weekend deejay on WDUZ for $1.00 per hour (I would have done it for free). Also got into the TV repair business.

1963: One of 4 transmitter engineers at WJPG (now WNFL) 5kW directional. CE was Roland Henry, W9OVN(SK)--who once said of broadcast engineering, "If it weren't for this, I'd have to go out and get a job!" Xmtr supervisor: Leo Panosh, W9VMZ(SK). Fellow Engineer, Don, K9BMC(SK). All 3 now up there in that Great Roundtable in the Sky.

(Eventually, I would be one engineer taking care of 4 radio stations.)

1965: First Chief Engineer job -- Manitowoc, Wisconsin, at WCUB (AM, 1kw, daytime, 980), constructed, and put sister station WKUB(FM) (now WKKB) on the air in 1966.

1968-1971: Reconditioning Ham Radios for Terry, W9DIA(SK) at Milwaukee AES. Terry is an old friend from back when we were both in high school. His dad had a ham radio store in Fond du Lac. Terry would drive us to the Green Bay Mike & Key Club meetings in his Packard "8" --in second gear so the battery could keep up with the Elmac AF-67 AM mobile XMTR. Happy Days. But, when a friend becomes your boss, the relationship changes. Learned a lot about fixing ham radios from Miles, K9HMQ, who was Service Manager at AES (he retired in summer of 2013).

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Me, working on an Eico751 transceiver . . . . . . AES in Milwaukee is where I met Gene, K9RSV, in 1968

1972: Back to Broadcast Engineering: for State of Wisconsin Educational Communications Board. Transmitter operator at WHKW(FM) in Chilton. Joined shortly by Don, K9BMC(SK). In 1974, moved on to WHRM(FM), on Rib Mountain (Wausau) & WLBL(AM), Auburndale; and then, in '75, took care of WHWC, Colfax, WHAD, Delafield (Milwaukee), as well as the flagship FM station, WERN, in Madison. All this time was considered an "LTE" (limited-term employee)--no union, and had to be rehired every 6 months.

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Me (tuning for equal plate color) at WHKW where I had my homebrew rcvr, and Swan 175, Don, K9BMC(SK) at the mic

1976: TV engineering (Commercial) Ch 15 (part time). Then Ch 3 (full time) in Madison (a CWA Union job). Laid off in November of '77. With winter looming, decided to scatter my resume over the Sun Belt.

1978 Chief Engineer, KWGS (89.5), Tulsa University. With the results of the 1980 election in, I sensed a drying up of funding for Public Radio, so thought I'd best get back into commercial broadcasting.

1981: Chief Engineer, WCWC(AM) & WYUR(FM), Ripon, Wis.

1981: Girl I married back in Tulsa didn't appreciate Wisconsin climate -- nine months of winter, three months of "tough sledding" (back then, that was, before the climate change), so it was back to the Sun Belt:

Chief Engineer for John Brown University Stations KUOA(1290 AM) and KMCK(105.7 FM), Siloam Springs, AR. Also contract engineering for KAMO AM & FM in Rogers, Arkansas.

1990: 1st Class License no longer a requirement, allowing stations to hire cheaper "engineers."

Q. What do you call a former broadcast engineer who was displaced by deregulation?

A. "Pizza Man"

Actually, a comparatively low-stress job. No more "all-nighters." With good tips, it wasn't a bad way to make a living (as wear and tear made it necessary, I replaced my own brake pads, and starters).

February, 1997 Chief engineer for KKOW (AM 860), in Pittsburg, Kansas. Second day on job, it was raining, and I noticed water running from exhaust vent into 10kw xmtr RF section, owing to leak in new roof. Things went pretty much down hill from there. When they installed a computer network, and I asked about my work station, the reply was, "Why would YOU need one?" Left in May.

1998-2001 Film Camera Repair, back in AR (Fayetteville).

June, 2001: Officially "retired" (at age 62)

Now living in rural Northwest Arkansas with son, Kegan (born 1996) He's an avid broadcast radio & TV DX-er his handle is XNA DXer.

Ham Brother: Wayne, W9JDG (now living in Phoenix)

Oldest Friend: Don Brisson, K9BMC(SK)

Best (living) ham friend: Gene, K9RSV

Hope to go SK at age 100 -- shot by a jealous husband*

^-^

+ -

\_/

I am indebted to numerous Green Bay "Elmers" (most of whom are now SK), and my Grandma, who hauled out of her attic, the crystal radio my Dad had crafted way back when. Besides my Dad's metalwork mentoring (and use of his basement workshop tools), there was Ollie, W9WLZ; Harry W9FWO; Ed, W9UMJ; Harold, W9GUE; and Walt, W9HHD--all SK's. Had the good fortune to meet Bill Juhre, W9IMQ(SK), creator of the old syndicated '50s serial comic strip "The Orbits". After moving to Green Bay in the mid-50's, he conducted weekly art classes for schoolkids, which I was priviledged to take part in. Bill was an early VHF enthusiast. He built a home on Scray's Hill in DePere (where the Green Bay TV towers are located). Meeting his family was like meeting the characters out of his old comic strip.

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Since October 1981, the QTH has been Northwest Arkansas, just north of U.S.412, on a ridge line sloping southwest (also somewhat of a northwestern exposure), halfway between Siloam Springs, and Springdale; overlooking a valley in two directions (north and west), and beyond, the Ozark National Forest to the southwest. The pre-dawn photo showing a fog over the Illinois River was taken on the morning of  Good Friday, 2016.

DSC03366.JPG DSC03368.JPG  Image result for terry w9dia store

Regenerative 1-tube rcvr (built @ age 13) First station, in a walk-in closet off the bedroom, was the chassis of a Grunow "All-Wave" rcvr with a homebrew front panel, and tuning dial made from a coffee can lid (it had a BFO), and 6V6 xtal osc xmtr on 80 and 40 CW. Shown in the photo, WWII surplus BC-457 transmitter, and at the right, BC-453 "Q-5er" for 3 kc selectivity. First ham antenna: 80 meter folded dipole made from the cheapest 300 ohm TV ribbon I could find. Later, made one for 40 (also worked on15), and another for 20. Fed them with a pair of B&W bifiliar air-wound balun coils (no toroid cores in  those days). Tried an OCF "Windom" dipole, but on 75meters I got worse signal reports, and the RF in the shack actually made the light brighter, and I burned my lips on the mic.

Later, components from the BC-457, along with an MD-7 modulator (high level p/p 1625's) went into a home brew "DX-100" with 1625's (19 cents a piece on surplus market) in the final (instead of Heath's 6146's). Also had a BC-454 rcvr (3-6 MHz) whose IF output was down-converted, and fed to a BC-453 "Q-5er" 85KHz IF section (3 kc selectivity), and homebrew xtal-controlled converter for 40, 20, 15, and 10. Mobile ('48 Chevy 'hump trunk') rig was 6AG7 osc, 6L6 final using Heising modulation, rock-bound on 3950, powered by two vibrator supplies in series. Mic was a telco F-1 carbon button mounted in a tin Band-Aid can. The 4600 Kc xtal supplied with the Command transmitter came in handy--a 6A8 converter tube heterodyned the 3800-4000 segment down to 800-600 on the AM car radio.

First SSB rig (bought used for $50 in 1974) was a Swan 175 (3.8-4.0 MHz), which I modified to also cover 20 (three bandswitches). The 5 MHz upper sideband generator subtracts from the 9MHz range VFO to produce a 4 MHz lower sideband. For 14 MHz, it conveniently adds, for USB. There is a persistent MYTH that the early Central Electronics 9 MHz sideband and 5 MHz VFO mix was resonsible, but do the math: whether the VFO adds or subtracts, the sideband will remain the same. Some time in the early 1980's a Heath HW-100 replaced it. Also bought "pre-owned" (at a local swap-meet) for $50--including power supply. Restored it in 2014, and sometimes use it to drive homebrew amp and check into the Razorback Net (and for backup).

Main rig--since June 1996-- an Icom IC-706, a gift from my friend Don, ex-K9BMC(SK), who got tired of chasing my drifty HW-100 during our 75 meter QSO's. Installed the 250 Hz CW filter in 2013 (don't know how I ever got along without it). The factory power supply regulator went belly-up on Jan 1, 2015. Now powered by a deep-cycle marine battery, kept float-charged with raw DC from the original supply, now conrolled by a Variac®. WX permitting, I take it out to the back porch, and run it QRP directly off a 5Ah sealed lead-acid battery, kept charged by a UPS. Finances permitting, a solar panel will eventually keep both batteries charged.

 

THE ANTENNA HERE is crossed inverted "V" dipoles (69' each leg), NE to SW, and NW to SE, up 48 feet, drooping to about 27 feet at ends. Fed with four-wire 14-gauge insulated solid copper open line. The antenna proper: Each of the 4 legs is a continuation of the same feeder --no splices. Doughnut-shaped spreaders for the 4 wires cut from the bottoms of large (non-biodegradable) plastic juice bottles.

The 4-wire apex is supported by 13 feet of 2-inch PVC mounted at the top of a 36 foot steel tower. On the way down, the 4-wire feedline is spaced about 3 feet from the tower.

Depending on the preferred directivity, either dipole can be resonated at any frequency on all HF bands. (Using the dipoles, grounding or shorting the unused dipole feedline has no discernible effect on SWR to tuner). Opposite pairs can be fed, forming a bow tie.

Also, on all bands, any 2 adjacent legs can be fed as a vee beam. Tying the four wires together, feeding against powerline neutral, and ground radials (some run under the LR carpet), this flat top vertical "umbrella" configuration works very well as a DX antenna on 160, 80 and 40 CW. For receiving under adverse condx, I sometimes use a 540 foot unterminated Beverage strung into a wooded area, aimed northeast, toward Europe (with New Zealand off the back). It also has received the experimental stations below 500KHz --I get nothing but noise from the big flat top on that band (620 meters). For 30 meters, the 4 legs provide 3/2-wave (tilted) vee beams in 4 directions.

There's also a 33 foot wire "L" vertical hung off the end insulator of the NW leg, up 27 feet. Coax from the shack to the back porch (then patched out to the "L") also allows use of main antennas from porch, or can be extended to operate from the car.  Against about 30-some radials, it loads directly on 40, series capacitance at the base for 30 meters, and linear loading gets it on 20. 

Since August, 2012,we have had a self-supported 50-foot triangular galvanized steel tower bracketed to a tool shed about 60 feet behind the house. Atop, is an old (amplified) ChannelMaster VHF/UHF TV antenna. aimed at Tulsa. Six elevated radials cut for the 30 meter band fan out from the 6-foot level. Connected between this counterpoise and a 6-wire quarter-wave skirt, is the output of a link-coupled tuner, fed with about 90 feet of balanced open line by annother link-coupled tuner in the shack. I guess you'd call it a half-wave shunt-fed vertical ground plane. SEE POST #398 IN THIS THREAD

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE...

On 80, all 4 wires can be fed in QUADRATURE (90 degree phasing) as a CROSSED-DIPOLE NVIS TURNSTILE ANTENNA, with "wiseness" -- clock (right-hand), or counter-clock (left-hand) -- selected by reversing the polarity of either of the dipoles.

The main antenna tuner is link-coupled (with plug-in coils for 160 through 10). On 80, it matches either of the crossed dipoles to 53 ohms. For quadrature feed, there's a separate tuner, identical, except that its link is designed to match either dipole to 106 ohms.

Meanwhile, the main tuner's 53 ohm link is fed thru a quarter-wave section of 75 ohm coax. (RG-11's velocity factor is 66% -- 42 feet for 80.) This length of coax not only delays the signal by 90 electrical degrees, it also transforms the 53 ohm link to 106 ohms. Which, in parallel with the tuner whose link sees 106 ohms, presents a 53 ohm match.

An auxiliary T/R relay automatically reverses polarity on one of the tuners' coupling links, allowing pre-selected rotation sense, independently for receive and transmit.

When conditions are favorable, I sometimes, believe-it-or-not, get up to 3 (that's right, three S-units) better signal reports transmitting with (X-m ode)RIGHT-handed (clockwise) rotation, and usually receive stations equally better on (O-mode) LEFT-handed (counter-clock).

Independent switching of left/right-handedness on both receive and transmit is a good idea. Sometimes on 75, especially when the band is changing, the opposite rotations will show up to a 20 db or more difference. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, I invariably receive the better signal report when transmitting on the opposite rotation sense of better reception, as, upon "reflection," the ionosphere reverses the rotation.

Don't have room for two full-sized crossed 80 m dipoles? Get as much wire as you can into 4 identical inverted vee legs, and resonate the balanced system (including open-wire feedline) with the matching networks. Bends are okay, as long as all 4 wires bend in the same way.

Link-coupled tuners will provide the best balance, and make the rotation sense easier to switch automatically from transmit to receive. I use a 12 volt Radio Shack relay with 10 amp contacts to reverse polarity on one of the links. Another reason for 4-wire OPEN LINE is its extremely low loss compared to coax, especially on the higher frequencies (higher SWR, but negligible loss). With proper matching, this antenna is useful in different configurations on ALL BANDS. On 40, 2-half waves in-phase. For higher bands, Vee beams in four directions. For single-band turnstile mode, you could probably use 2 coax feedlines with baluns at the dipole midpoints, and switch polarity through a toriod transformer.

For an s.a.s.e., I'll send a schematic and more details of my CPOL set-up. If you'd like to participate in ongoing experiments on 80/75, please send me an e-mail.

Further reading: 

KL7AJ's article (technical, but an easy, informative, and entertaining read) explains the "X's and O's" beginning on page 33 of December, 2010 QST. Eric includes plans for a 15MHz turnstile set-up you can put together to test this "revolutionary" theory for yourself.

View The "Big Picture" at:

http://www.ips.gov.au/

You're cordially invited to check into the Arkansas Razorback Net, on 3987.5 nightly at 18:30 (winter condx:18:00) Arkansas time.

73,

Jim, W9JEF (ARRL, WAS, RCC, R.O.W.H.)

 

*A non-ham (out of courtesy to the fraternity)


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