Thanks for the contact! The name is JB. (ex K5HKR, KR5RR)
Periodic remote ops from /5 land QTH,
2017/04/05-12: "/7" mobile and (attempted) portable ops from Carson City, NV and around Lake Tahoe. Many thanks to W7SAG/John and K7KY/Doug for my very first 60m mobile CW contacts, Ch 1, 5.332, using a 40m Hamstick with a MP-1 Super Coil in the middle for additional loading, 55w/FT-857 - remarkable how well it works. "/P" ops from hotel with 15w/KX3 to 40' drop down vertical have been a bust - QRN/EMI so strong can hardly hear a signal on any band.
2017/04: Started new 60m CW net, "53N"; Ch#1, 5.332 MHz, Sunday and Thursday at 18h00 PDT (01h00 UTC next day). Sunday is mostly a in/out net with signal reports; Thursday we're hoping to go a couple/three or more rounds.
2017/02/18-19 ARRL CW DX Contest: Loads of fun trying to figure out what county those really strange call signs were from - many of the exotic sounding ones were from the usual countries - I think I got only two new countries. Made and reached goal of 200 QSO, got 173 of them operating /M from the van on 20m Hamstick with FT857 at 55 watts - didn't actually use a paddle very much - programmed push button ops from three FT857 front panel buttons. Used a voice recorder for logging with the intent of entering into logging software later,,,, didn't happen. Gotta figure out how to use a laptop and N1MM in the car.
2017/01/21-22 ARRL VHF Contest: Success! More than ten new hams, mostly Techs, showed up at the Benicia Bridge Vista Point to make contacts. We put a 10' Diamond 146/446 vertical up on a fence post with a short coax and several used their UV-5R to make quite a few contacts on FM. Dave/KI6FYQ setup his Buddipole on 2m and we made quite a few SSB contacts with that. I had a couple join me in the mobile and we made contacts on 6/2/70 SSB and 6/2/1.25/70cm FM, all with mobile vertical antennas. Great Fun!
2016/12/10-11 ARRL 10m Contest. This was a QRP BUST, and then I went 100w QRO, and it was still a BUST. My antennas radiate East/West, QSO signals were going North America/South America. DXMaps was unbelieveable Saturday PM with greyline propagation between the east coast and Brazil - 10X the spots compared to between US west coast and Brazil. I"ve never called so many South American stations with NO response since I was QRPp. And nobody came back to one of my many CQs when I tried running a frequency. Hindsight - should have used a 10m whip on the van - at least it would have been omni-directional!
2016/12/03-04 ARRL 160m CW Contest. This was a QRP BUST for me! Not a single contact. In about two hours op time, one each night, I heard several stations, none returned my call. Suspect my make-do antenna just wasn't up to the task - 60' tied onto one end of my 135' doublet, fed off-center with twin lead. Neighbor Dick/k2gmy had only 12 contacts in six hours op time, but he used a worse antenna, a 160m mobile whip on his back fence at four watts - still beat my meger effort. Nice to see that most I heard were running reasonable (18-25 WPM) CW speeds.
2016/10/01-02 CALIFORNIA QSO PARTY: Operating as K6HES on 80/40/15/10m CW. Surprised I didn't get a single QSL request for Solano from more than 230 QSO. Fun activity, looking forward to doing it again next year.
2016/09/10-11 ARRL VHF contest; NR5NN/M Rover: CM97, Mt. Diablo State Park Summit; CM87, Pleasant Hill; CM88, Benicia Ghost Fleet. Operating on 6m/2m/1.25m/70cm FM, 6m/2m/70cm SSB. 6m CW. Mobile vertical quarter wave antennas on all four bands. 100 watts on 6m, 50 watts on 2m, 20 watts on 70cm, 5 watts on 1.25m. Also had K6HES/Rover making some contacts, same bands, same places.
2016 Field Day Ops, NR5NN/Mobile, from Cortez, CO, about 4 miles from Mesa Verde Naitonal Park, but not in the park. Battery powered 55 watts to 20m and 40m hamsticks on car. Many thanks to the 114 QSO in two, two hour sprints, one each on 20m and 40m.
NR5NN Origin: Yes, it's a CW call sign. Never did like the "5H" in K5HKR, but the KR was cool! The most common letter combinations heard when working CW DX or a contest are CQ and “5NN” for 599 RST. When working a contest requiring a sequence number or a SKCC’er, “NR?” or just “NR” is very common. So I combined two of the three into a new call sign, NR 5NN. The downside is CW spotting networks like Reverse Beason Network don't recognize it.
(Pictured: SoftRock RXTX for 30/20/17 -- 1 watt SDR QRPp that got me back on HF in 2010 and logged several 6,000 miles per watt contacts - Croatia, Serbia, New Calidonia, Australia, New Zealand to name a few.)
FT-817ND, S/N 1H920218 STOLEN! Wednesday 9/23/2015 in Vallejo, CA
CW: Please consider joining one of our NAQCC QRS nets, http://www.naqcc.info/cw_nets.html
or our "FRN" FarnsWord CW "social" net - date/time/frequency change with the season, check the web site above.
The FarnsWord net, however, is not QRS - it is a ~20 WPM base speed with extra space between words rather than between the letters, with the goal of improving CW copy/sending skills. We try and get in two, three or more rounds an hours op time.
2016 Mobile: This is a whole different setup than the HeathKit HW-12 75m SSB rig with 12' Texas Bug Catcher antenna I used in/on my 1967 VW bug when working for Collins Radio in Texas in the late '60s. Recently acquired a 2005 Dodge Caravan. The MH 59A8J remote mic makes the FT-857 an awesome mobile rig. The single lever paddle is the American Morse MiniB, the double lever is American Morse Dirt Cheap Paddle. A "helper" 7AH battery is under the radio.
What the TX car looked like before started using call signs, and what it was before latest callsign change. Need a new plate.
Mobile: FT-857D with Hamsticks, mostly 40m CW but some 20m
Shack: KX3/100 with doublets at 35'
3 SoftRock RXTXs, QRPp 1.0 watt on 80/40, or 30/20/17, or 15/12/10, w/ZM-2 & dipoles (PSK31 & CW only).
Garage based shack is not very impressive. KX3/100 is the new shack rig (11/2016). American Morse Bushwhacker single lever paddle with J-38 companion form novice days. FT-857D is now permanently mobile, or portable with 7AH batteries. Kenwood TS480 SAT w/panadaptor is for sale.
ANTENNAS: Simple wire antennas. Thanks primarily to L. B. Cebik W4RNL (SK), I've re-discovered twin lead (reliving the 60's!) and balanced wire tuners. So, by abandoning single band coax fed dipoles, the current antenna count is down to three 300 Ohm Twin Lead fed doublets for multiband operation:
- 44 foot flat top doublet running W/E, 30 feet high and bent on one end
- 67 foot flat top doublet, running N/S, 33 feet high
- 135 foot flat top doublet, running N/S, 35 feet high
Update: the KX3 and KPX100 have AWESOME tuners. Rarely use a (big box) MFJ-974HB Balanced Line Tuner with 300 ohm twin lead that goes SWR nuts when it rains.
Portable ops while camping - antenna are everything. What is working best on 40/30/20/17/15m, is hamsticks on the SUV. Not quite "tent" or "picnic bench" stuff, but it works for me. Previously used FT817/ZM-2 combo with different antennas but the FT857/Hamsticks work much better.
No, this is NOT my antenna farm - belongs to neighbor K2GMY/Dick, about 70 meters across the street, and there's more in his back yard, He's mostly a VHF/UHF thru 1,296 these days, only does HF QRP HF at 4 watts during contests.
OPERATION: Almost all CW but trying the KX3's PSK mode with some success. Most of the rest is FM, on 2m/70cm with a little bit of SSB on Coffee Mug Net Saturday morning.
#5604 NAQCC - North American QRP CW Club (NCS for 40m FRN net)
#8118 SKCC - Straight Key Century Club (original J-38 from my novice days, of course!)
#2855 FPQC - Flying Pigs QRP Club
Not a "contester" but I do get a kick out of two hour sprints, mainly NAQCC, SKCC, & QSO Parties, especially California. Not into certificates or awards, but happy to hard copy QSL any QSO and especially Solano County, or CM88 Grid Square, if you want one - no return postage needed. (Don't do eQSL or LOTW.)
If you're still reading and interested in Ancient History:
HeathKit HR-10; VF-1 VFO & Hallicrafters HT-40 with Globe 200 watt amp; J-38 key; Eagle Scout;
Started with my Dad's interest in SWL'ing and the two of us hunting stations on an old Philco radio with a couple of MW/SW bands. I have a life long appreciation of his support, encouragement and facilitation of my hobby transitioning into a career. A Boy Scout Radio Merit badge, then Novice, and General. Earned a 2nd Class Radio Telegraph to work for my (ex)uncle, a Merchant Marine ship Captain (Lykes Steamship Lines) but that didn't last long (divorce). While in college earned a 1st Class Radio Telephone and was a part time, late night, associate UHF TV station engineer, Channel 42 Birmingham (back when only six people were watching). Fresh out of college, landed my dream job as a Field Engineer for Collins Radio Company, Dallas, TX. However, as time passed, working on really big VLF transmitters (>500kw) with really long antennas (~30,000' vertical hanging out the back of a KC-130, and/or a five mile long horizontal loop in MI & AUS, controlled by really expensive computers, kinda burned me out on radios (check TACAMO on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TACAMO ). Turned my avocation, amatuer radio, into my vocation, radio engineer - ruined my hobby. And, I met a girl, got married, life happened. Went QRT from ~1971 to 2010. Still working, but now I've reversed that: turned my vocation, product support management, into my avocation (hobby) and got my radio hobby back.
Funny thing, ocean kayaking and VHF marine radios got me back into ham radio! Back on the ham bands in early 2010, first VHF/UHF with a VX-7R HT, then HF with the 1 watt SDR RXTX SoftRocks (30/20/17 tri-bander pictured above). Had a lot of success with the 1 watt QRPp rig on 17m and 30m with sloping dipoles, working 37 states and 17 countries on CW and PSK31 - did 6,000 miles/per watt many times to Eastern Europe & Asia Pacific. Got the FT817 (49 states [no CW ops in Delaware?] & 113 countries), and after a year of QRP, built a 30 watt amp. Just before Field Day 2013 got the FT-857. Oh, and finally got Delaware, QRP digital first and then he reluctantly switched to CW. Field Day 2015, acquired a TS-480. Hummm, seems there's something about Field Day........ Then in November 2016 I've acqired a loaded KX3 with amp - what a great rig!
When I turned 15 and got my driver's license, had to choose between buying a car, or a Hallicrafters SX-117 receiver: ham radio won - and I've never regretted it. However I do regret that the whole rig was stolen from my apartment during my Junior year - they also took the Vibroplex bug but left the J-38 key, that I still have and use.
Hallicrafters HT-40 with HeathKit VF-1 VFO, Hallicrafters SX-117, J-38 key
73 de JB
PS: The Hobby I gave up to get back into Amatuer Radio - don't regret this decision either:
- - - RIP, Audrey Sutherland, 1921-2015 - - -
Thanks Audrey, for the inspiration and motivation leading to my inflatable Red Barge and many happy hours on the water. The need for, and then using, a VHF marine radio while ocean kayaking and paddling in marine shipping channels in and around San Francisco Bay, Carquinez Starit, and the Sacramento River Delta, is what got me re-interested in, and then back into amatuer radio, after a 40 year QRT.
(07/2015 Lake Tahoe pix)
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