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Fascinated with technology from an early age, and encouraged by periodic deliveries of Radio Shack "experimenter" kits from a generous and inspiring family friend, Dr. John Aunins, the excitement of electronics and Amateur Radio would eventual set the course for a rewarding and enjoyable career.

Growing up on a cattle ranch near La Veta in southern Colorado, and after several years of CB fun as "The Satellite", I was introduced to Amateur Radio by my dear cousin "Pep", WB0YFI (SK), who had been a shipboard radio operator. His friend Charlie, K0SUB / W0SU (now N7RE), agreed to share his knowledge. As a result, I was licensed shortly thereafter as a Novice at age 13 early in 1978. I upgraded to General within a year thanks to Charlie's continued tutelage and encouragement from my great friend and fellow student Greg, N0BDK, and several others. A casual introduction by Charlie to satellite communications early in this process would firmly "set the hook"!

Resources were modest as a farm boy but I managed to cobble together my first station from salvaged and modified CB systems for use on 10 meters. Enjoying antenna experimenting from day one, I added several wire antennas - mostly inverted vee's, dipoles, and long wires. (At one point, I had salvaged several miles of heavy gauge Copperweld wire from old coal mines to support my antenna "habit".)

With lots of help, I built up a home-brew tilt-over 65 foot tower from mismatched salvaged sections (plus a fair amount of welding and machining...). The pivot was a very large bolt near the top of a 25 foot utility pole. The tower had an outrigger with a cable truss designed and constructed to be under tension during tilt. Through my own enterprise, and some contributions from my generous uncle Gino and family friend Wanda, I bought my first new Kenwood TS-520S and an Icom IC-245 SSB for satellite work. I added a Mosley TA-33 for 10 through 20, and a pair of crossed (and phased for elliptical polarization) 2m beams atop all that. I pared the wire "garden" down to a nice inverted vee fan dipole for the lower bands and operated that station successfully for several years.

The ranch house is at the junction of a pair of canyons, both with a strong Venturi effect. High winds there were always a problem! During a severe storm wherein I remember partially filled 55 gallon drums being blown around the ranch grounds, enough guy wires snapped such that my tower "buckled" at the pivot making a "sloper" of itself and driving the antennas into the ground!  Already in college, that put an end to the first major chapter of my Amateur Radio saga. I sold the wonderful TS-520S and most of the antennas for parts and salvage.

I kept my license current over the years. I often operated VHF, and occasionally HF via club stations, though my education and career as an Electrical Engineer / Computer Scientist didn't allow for much free time. Likewise, the various places I've lived haven't been particularly conducive to building the "antenna farm" I had grown accustomed to as a youth. However, the engineering training provided a nice set of skills for more advanced modeling, experimentation, and building. So though the career and technology passion flourished, the "hobby" was forced to smolder on a "back burner" for a long time.

I worked hard during the first 15 years of my engineering career to sharpen BOTH my hardware AND software design skills. The first third was spent in medical / life support electronics, second in computer peripherals, and third in datacom / telecom. The radiation tolerance, motor control, and extreme reliability analog and digital design techniques from medical coupled with embedded systems and ASIC design for data coding and interfacing, from peripherals and telecom, turned out to be very desirable in the field of aerospace electronics and electromechanical systems.

I left the corporate "scene" in 2001 and formed an independent consulting and contracting firm focused mostly on aerospace with some commercial projects to fill in the gaps. As a result, I can claim design contributions on over a dozen objects in Earth orbit, a couple in deep space, and most recently three designs on the MAVEN mission currently orbiting Mars.

My Amateur Radio interests are broad but I most enjoy satellite communications; antenna design, modeling, and experimentation; propagation, and rag chewing via any medium! Other favorite topics are astronomy, aviation, fly fishing, and firearms (as a federally licensed gunsmith and dealer, and as an instructor for concealed carry; and nationally certified in five categories of firearms training).

Recent inquiries from a dear friend training for the Technician exam and his family's gift of a pair of Beofeng UV-5R's for my 50th birthday propelled the hobby off the "back burner" and into the flame! I've dusted off some of the old equipment, added a few new pieces, and am well on my way to building a decent station once again! I'm ever so grateful to my friend Jerry! Now it's time for me to be someone's Elmer... ;-)

6182285 Last modified: 2015-07-16 00:22:01, 5592 bytes

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QRZ Logbook Summary for - WD0HXN
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KE0EAU 2015-04-23 70CM FM DN70NB70 United States Jerry

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