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I was first licensed as WN8AHT, a Novice License, in 1967. I was a sophomore in High School and I was 15 years old. I upgraded to WB8AHT, a General License, in 1969. This is me in 1969:

In 1974 I let my General License expire. There was a renewal fee at that time and I did not have the extra money. Being a newly wed meant some sacrificies. I never did get it renewed.

40 years later.........

It's 2014. I'm retired and sitting around the house. Been retired for 7 years and I'm bored. My wife tells me to find something to do. Finally she demands "Find a HOBBY !!!" They say that retirement is twice the husband at half the pay, so for the sake of everyone's sanity maybe I should find a hobby. I used to like being a ham radio operator, maybe I should give that a try again.

I came to that decision on a Wednesday evening. I found a Technician Study Guide and read it. I found an online practice exam website, took the test, and passed. Passed many times. That Saturday I took the test and passed it. The examiners talked me into taking the General Exam, just for the fun of it they said. So I did. And I PASSED. In 3 short days I got my General License back !!

I got the call sign of KD8WVG. Too bad I had let my old callsign expire. It would be nice to have my old callsign once again. My volunteer examiner told me about vanity callsigns. So I looked up my old callsign. It was not re-used. I applied for a vanity callsign of WB8AHT. Within 3 weeks the FCC gave me my old callsign back. After 40 years of absence, I was back. Well, maybe a little different me:

Older, heavier, uglier. I guess 40 years, 3 kids and 6 grandkids can take a toll. On the brighter side I am amazed with the changes that have happened to ham radio.

My old station in 1969 was a Heathkit DX-100 AM-CW xmtr, a Lafayette HE-30 rcvr, a Heathkit HW-17A 2m AM xcvr and several homebrew single tube QRP xmtrs. Big equipment, heavy equipment. I was a kid on a farm and had all the room for any kind of antenna I wanted. Lots of dipoles. All the bands. Mono-bander beams and quad stacked VHF yagis at 45 ft up. All home brewed. I loved DX, QRP and 2m AM. Had all 50 states cofirmed, over 100 countries confirmed. Best QRP was 7 watts from Michigan to South Africa on 40m. And 2m contacts ranged from North Dakota to Maine with lots of aurora help. I had fun. But AM was losing out to SSB on HF and AM was losing out to FM on 2. Things were definitely going to change.

Was I in for a shock !! My station today is a Yaesu FT-991 xcvr, a QRP Yaesu FT-817ND xcvr and several HTs. Small equipment. Really small equipment. I am so amazed how all that tech can get packaged into such a tiny package. The antennas suit their purpoe. A 40m wire delta loop for HF, a 2m/430 vertical for VHF FM, a 3 element 6m yagi and a 7 element 2m yagi for 2m SSB. And I still love DX, QRP and 2m. I enjoy the Yaesu xcvrs because of the all mode capabilites and their fantastic frequency range. The delta loop is horizontal at 25 ft and works great on 40m-10m. The VHF vertical and yagi at 20 ft do just as well. To date (Jul 2016) I've confirmed all 50 states and several territories, and 162 countries. All on 100 watts and a wire! Over 60 countries on QRP. Best QRP is 5 watts from Michigan to New Zealand on 20m. And so far my best 2m SSB contact has been Michigan to Texas at 1100 miles. But best of all, I'm having fun. And my wife is HAPPY !!!

That's my story. Thanks for stopping by, and thank you for our QSOs !!!

******************************

Antenna Update (Sep 2016):

My main 2m antenna is a 7 element OWL yagi from Innovantennas, UK. Very quiet and claimed to have 13 dbi gain. It is mounted at 20 ft. I could hear a morning activity group on 144.205 mHz for the very first time with this antenna. QSOs at 325 miles became possible. A very well built, high quality antenna. Aluminum tubing and stainless hardware. Here it is:

 

My latest acquistion is a more unusual design. It is an 8 element Quad antenna from CubeX, Michigan. I've never seen much on quads other than the 2 element variety for HF. A couple of local hams have a 4 element 2m Quad by this company and they like them a lot. So I checked them out and saw they had an 8 element Quad available, reasonably priced, claiming to have 14+ dbi gain. I was intrigued. I bought one. This is also a quality made antenna. All fiberglass and solid stainless heavy gauge wire. No aluminum tubing so it's light. It's mounted at 24 ft. I have gotten very good reports and have had comparisons of an S unit stronger in signal strength over my 7 element yagi. This is what it looks like:

 

But the real fun with the ham radio that I remember from 45 years ago was making stuff...................

When I was the "youngster ham" I enjoyed making things. Homebrew QRP rigs and VHF antennas were my favorites. I even had a homebrew 45' tower. My high school buddy needed a project for welding class and I wanted a tower. I designed and he built. But my best homebrew was a 14 element 2m yagi that had 4 log periodic driven elements and 3 reflectors. It worked great. I made 4 of them and had them mounted in a 2 x 2 array on top of the tower. Those were the days !!

I still yearn to make antennas. And 2m antennas are just the right size. One day while surfing the web I ran across a novel antenna (I LIKE novel), one that I had not seen before. This guy called it a Super Moxon. It had 2 Moxon style rectangles. The back rectangle was the normal Moxon reflector and driven element and the front rectangle was director 1 and director 2. It was created by GW3YDX. The supplied 4NEC2 gain graphs claimed a 9 dbi gain for 2m. Never saw a Moxon like that. I saved the article for future reference.

A little further into my surfing I found an even more novel antenna. This guy called it a HAARP Moxon (no relation to that antenna farm in Alaska). This antenna had 3 Moxon style rectangles. He used the Super Moxon as a base and added another rectangle for director 3 and director 4. It was created by M0PXS. I later found a different name associated to it. It was called a Super Duper Moxon. I'll stick with that name. The supplied 4NEC2 gain graphs claimed a 15 dbi gain for 2m. I saved this article too.

I decided that I was going to try building another antenna, just to have some fun. The Super Duper Moxon was the choice. I compared the Super dimensions to the Super Duper base dimensions and quickly realized that the dimensions were not consistent with each other. Surfing revealed more different dimensions for the Super Duper. What was right? I found that M0PXS had a website for his HAARP antenna. It was not the detailed article that I had saved. Very little info on building one of these Super Duper Moxons. But it did contain a file for the dimensions. These dimensions were closer to the original Super Moxon, which seemed logical, but the 3rd rectangle dimensions differed from the article. So what was correct? I emailed M0PXS. His reply was short and simple. The dimensons found on his website are the correct dimensions. Problem solved. I have an excellent article on building the Super Duper Moxon that contains the wrong dimensions and I have the correct dimensions from the HAARP Moxon website. Now to build.

I found all the parts I needed to build an antenna that would look like the quality shown in the Super Duper Moxon article. It took a week for learning, cutting, bending and assembling the antenna. Here is what the finished product looked like:

 

I was rather pleased. Boom length is only 40 inches. If it really has a 15 dbi gain then that's a big punch for a tiny package. I could see a 2 x 2 array of these things as a distinct possibility. I quickly made a mast mounting plate out of wood and put it in the air at 16 ft for testing. SWR was high, 2.75:1. Signal strenght of a nearby beacon was down when compared to my yagi. Antenna analyzer showed resonance was about 141 mHz and SWR was high at my target of 144.200 mHz. I decided to modify the dimensions to what I thought sounded correct. I used the exact dimensions of the Super Moxon article for the first 2 rectangles and I used the exact dimensions from the HAARP website for the 3rd rectangle. All that was required was re-adjusting some rectangle lengths of the first 2 rectangles. New analyzer data showed resonance at 144.300 mHz with SWR about 1.35:1. Measured SWR showed 1.35:1 at 144.200 mHz. And signal strength of the beacon was even with the yagi. It appeared to work. This is what it looks like up at 16 ft. My two other 2m antennas are in the background along with my 3 element 6m yagi:

 

I temporarily mounted the little Super Duper Moxon on the 24 ft mast where the Quad is right now and worked several states under normal propogation conditions. I've received signal reports from several contacts of an extra S unit stronger compared to my 7 element yagi. And it has worked well on several 350 mile QSOs and one 500 mile QSO. So just maybe it really does work like it claims. More testing shall tell. And best of all, it's been fun.

Thanks for reading. Here are some links to the articles about the 2m moxon antennas:

My Super Duper Moxon Antenna

Super Moxon Antenna

HAARP Moxon Antenna

HAARP Website Moxon Antenna

Have fun with your projects !!

********************

Antenna Update (Nov 2016)

My new 2m 8 element cubical quad antenna has worked out really well. It has become my main 2m antenna as it is a little better than my 7 element yagi. I had an oppurtunity to acquire a used Mirage 100w amplifier that had a defunct pre-amp but solid 100w+ output at a very reasonable price so I bought it. That doubled my power for 2m so I thought that just maybe a little more boost in my antenna might help my signal a little bit more and give me a few more worked states. Cubex, which makes and sells my new quad, also has a 2 and 4 antenna phasing kit for anyone interested in adding more antenna gain. I thought about that idea and decided to go for it !! Here's my newest 2m antenna arraingment:

 

At this time it is only at 22 ft high. With my new antenna rotator added at the top it is heavier than I anticipated. I've been using this new antenna system for a couple weeks now and I can definitely say it works nicely. I'm getting S9+ reports from stations 200 miles away, S8/9 reports from stations 250 miles away, and S7s at 300-325 miles. So I'm pleased. I haven't worked any new states yet but I know it won't be long !!!

7695002 Last modified: 2016-11-14 02:16:44, 11849 bytes

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United States Counties Award#328
Granted: 2016-07-19 02:40:04   (WB8AHT)

Endorsements:
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  • 100 Counties Mixed
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DX World Award#1348
Granted: 2015-03-09 19:10:02   (WB8AHT)

Endorsements:
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United States Award#775
Granted: 2015-02-28 02:40:02   (WB8AHT)

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Grid Squared Award#4425
Granted: 2015-02-23 20:30:02   (WB8AHT)

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  • 15 Meters Mixed
  • 20 Meters Mixed
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World Continents Award#2222
Granted: 2015-02-10 03:45:02   (WB8AHT)

Endorsements:
  • 10 Meters Mixed
  • 12 Meters Mixed
  • 15 Meters Mixed
  • 20 Meters Mixed
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