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KU6J USA flag USA

alias for: WD6EEQ


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QSL: LoTW or Direct

Ham Member Lookups: 11470

 

Operating portable from SOTA summit W6/NS-262

I was first licensed as WD6EEQ (Novice) at the age of 13 in the 1970's, then upgraded through General and Advanced to Amateur Extra and received my current callsign KU6J at age 16. My station back then (Boonville, CA) consisted of a Kenwood TS-820 and Kenwood TL-922A amplifier feeding a TH6DXX, 40m inverted vee and 80m sloper on a 55' crank-up tower. I didn't know that they made tower climbing belts back then, and since my mom didn't know that either, I had a lot of fun up on the tower "working on my antennas":

Our house was small and there wasn't enough space for me to have my own room. Dad finally got tired of me complaining, so he bought one of those metal lawn sheds from Sears, built it on a wood platform and added floor tiles, insulation, a ceiling and inside fibreboard walls. My "room" ended up being an actual ham shack!

While I've always primarily been a CW DXer and contester, my latest ham radio interest is SOTA (Summits On The Air). SOTA is an activity in which "activators" hike or climb onto summits and give out QSOs to "chasers". SOTA began in the UK but is growing rapidly in the U.S. We're fortunate here in California to have 3,717 official SOTA summits available to activate, more than any other SOTA association in the world.

I'm the region manager for our Northern Sierra region with 367 summits and sponsor the Northern Sierra Award. I am also the developer of SOTA Spot Monitor, a free MS Windows program that is similar to a DX Cluster client program but is dedicated to spots of SOTA stations, and RBNGate which automatically spots SOTA CW activators by integrating Reverse Beacon Network spots with the Sotawatch activation alert and spotting system. Here is a shot of me standing under my 20m dipole during my September 2012 activation of Sierra Buttes (SOTA W6/NS-139):

I initially used my IC-706MkIIG for my first few SOTA activations, then did ten or so activations with an HB1B, and now use an Elecraft KX3. My favorite activation antenna for use with the KX3 is my 88' doublet fed with 300-ohm twinlead through a 4:1 balun down near the radio. This is a great performing antenna that allows me to get on any frequency 6-80m with just a quick tap of the KX3's ATU button. Here I am holding the KX3 and balun on the summit of Haskell Peak (SOTA W6/NS-162) with my 28' Jackite pole being used as a mast for the doublet:

For winter activations while on skis, I use an AlexLoop instead. This shot is from my activation of Scott Peak (SOTA W6/NS-153) with Lake Tahoe in the background:

Sometimes winter activations can be pretty cushy. Here I am on the summit of Mt. Pluto W6/NS-138 (Northstar ski resort) with a Euro Snacks booth (waffle-on-a-stick, yummy!) and a warm ski lodge behind me:

On the way down from activating Monument Peak (10,067') at Heavenly Valley ski resort, I spotted an Epic Mix photographer and decided to "ham it up" a bit with Lake Tahoe again in the background:

If you'd like to see more photos and trip reports from some of my past summit activations, go here. For more information on SOTA, visit the official Summits On The Air web site or drop by the North American SOTA discussion group on Yahoo.

In September 2000 I operated as SV8/KU6J/P From IOTA EU-067 (Thira Island a.k.a. Santorini). Although it was my honeymoon, I still managed 1500+ CW QSOs while my understanding and supportive XYL was either sleeping or lounging by our villa's pool. Other interests include skiing, ATV riding, shooting, and I used to do a lot of hang gliding and sailplane flying. A flying buddy (K6ECK) and I put together the Adventure World TV show that features many of those activities and more (we fondly refer to it as "Jackass for old guys"). It ran on the public access TV stations in Marina, CA and Monterey, CA and they may still be showing reruns if you happen to be in that area.

My home station currently consists of a Yaesu FTDX-5000MP (200W) into a Carolina Windom up 50 feet in the pine trees. I use this setup on all bands 6m-160m. One of these days maybe I'll put up a tower, but I like the challenge of working DX with just a simple wire antenna.

If I haven't worked you already hopefully I will soon!

73,

Eric KU6J

6696189 Last modified: 2015-09-08 03:18:42, 6755 bytes

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