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3 KW solar array at KI7SS

Hello from Olympia, WA.  Above is the stream running through our field, and our solar array, a 3 KW system that feeds the grid.  It makes about $2500 a year for us--but has no batteries; it turns off in a power outage.  This was the site for the 2016 Olympia Amateur Radio Society (OARS) Field Day. 

In 1958 as a 9th grader I got a Novice license as WV2EKW, in Hinsdale, New York.   My first rig was a Heathkit DX-35 transmitter, and a little Heathkit five-tube AR-3 receiver I built.  It cost $25.00 new, and was my first kit.  I had a lot of fun with that simple station; I must have made 30 mistakes wiring the pair--it took a lot of struggle to get them working!  My mentor was W2GSL, Mr. Schubeck, my science teacher, now a silent key.  After a year as a Novice I became a Conditional-class license and changed the callsign to WA2EKW.  I got the VHF bug and got on six meters, building my own transmitter and using an International Crystal two-tube converter to get signals into to my upgraded HF receiver, a National NC-173, which tuned six meters, but not very well. I made exactly one contact, with a guy with a "Gooney Bird" Gonset "yellow" rig in his car, and a halo antenna on the bumper.  Bummer! 

The callsign WA2EKW lapsed while I was in the Navy, which I joined in 1963.  I left the Navy in 1970 after time in Virginia Beach, VA at the Oceana Naval Air Station and in Vietnam as a Navy radar technician working on A6-A track radar.  I was in Attack Squadrons 65 and 42 and spent a year at sea (1966) on the USS Constellation.   I was discharged as an "AQB-1" (E-6)  --an "Aviation Fire Control Technician specializing in bombing systems."  I went to the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where I met some other hams, which rekindled my interest in amateur radio, but I spent my senior year at Evergreen as Chief Engineer and General Manager of the campus radio station KAOS.   I got the FCC Commercial First Class Radio License for that task, which had to be renewed then but  they've renamed it "General" and good for life.  In 1977 I relicensed as an Advanced-class ham, callsign WB7UEU; in 1998 I upgraded to Extra (passing the old 20 wpm code test) and changed again, to the vanity callsign KI7SS.  After I left college my electronics background led to a job with Boeing as an electronics technician in a research center--which was a lot of fun, and then to a career with Washington State as a compuer technician; I retired nine years ago, or so, and am busier than ever!

My ham activities are mostly administrative, with some operating as time permits. By administrative I mean, I've been President of the Olympia Amateur Radio Society six times.  We have a great club!  I am one of the defacto local communications managers for area parades, marathons, rally car races, Field Day, etc.--at least 10 events a year. I'm active in Thurston County ARES.  In addition I've taught about 38 ham classes. On HF I enjoy wandering the bands and having DX QSO's; I'm not into exchanging quick RST's and moving on. So, I listen a lot, and call seldom.  I am very enthusiastic about the new modes...APRS, PSK-31, WinLink, etc, and have a Kenwood TS-50 and a Windows laptop dedicated to the task; its antenna's a G5RV.   If that weren't enough, I am the Washington State ARRL State Government Liaison.

My family includes my wonderful and patient wife Nancy, son Morgan KC7VNY, son Kristopher, KC7ZWN, daughter Marie KC7MNM, daughter Alicia and grandson Ken KG7AQI.

My main station is a Flex 6500 and either a Collins 30-L1 (four 811A's)  or a Drake L75 amplifier (one 3-500ZD) for HF, feeding wire verticals, loops and dipoles, and any of several beams, including a High-Gain 204BA 20 meter monobander, up from 20 to +/- 40 feet.  Various two meter and 70 cm rigs complete the station.

I keep a full GO kit with an FT-100, tuner, wire antennas, batteries, etc., waiting in a metal case, should disaster strike.

I'd be delighted to hear from you!  My email is  KI7SS@ARRL.NET.   73! --Lee

(Last updated 3/17.)



8573413 Last modified: 2018-01-11 06:45:46, 5137 bytes

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