I was first licensed in 1969 as WN6NIA but quickly upgraded to my Advanced and eventually Amateur Extra. In 2007 I was granted the callsign of one of my High School Elmers, Chek Titcomb, then W6DQ. I am grateful for the opportunity to be the holder of this call and strive to honor those who helped me in my younger years.
Over the years my interests in amateur radio have been varied but these days I focus on operating AM on 75 M using a retired broadcast transmitter, a Collins 550A-1 and my prized possession, a Collins KW-1. You can generally find me on 3870 kcs hanging with the West Coast AMI crowd. I enjoy the slow pace and camaraderie of AM – it is quite unique. You can see what we are all about at http://ami-west.com.
Somewhat hand-in-hand with AM, I like to collect and restore vintage radio equipment. Many of my radios are early broadcast sets from the likes of Crosley Deforest and Atwater Kent, and includes an large number of National and Millen sets. One of my favorites is the National AGS receiver. This joins SW-3s, SW-5s, SW-58s and a gaggle of HROs from the original all the way up to the HRO 500.
My vintage amateur gear also includes Collins A-Line and S-Line gear, Drake -4 and -7 line as well as an early 1A. I am no stranger to Heathkit or Johnson, either having a number of pieces from both manufacturers. I also have a love/hate relationship with a selection of SignalOne CX-7s. Not exactly the easiest radio to maintain, but they are fun. A late CX-7B is my favorite.
At the other end of the spectrum I enjoy dabbling in microwave communications. I am a member of the San Bernardino Microwave Society (http://www.ham-radio.com/sbms) and have radios on 10 and 24 GHz.
One of the more interesting aspects of SBMS was being able to operate on 1296 and 10 GHz using the 40 meter dish antenna at CalTech’s Owens Valley Radio Observatory. For 2 ½ years we had access to the antenna to do Moonbounce. Imagine hearing S-9+ echoes off of the Moon! More info on this project is at http://www.ham-radio.com/sbms/ovro.
I enjoy VHF and UHF contesting as well, using a Flex 5000A along with transverters for 144, 220, 432, 1296 and 2304 MHz.
I also enjoy playing at the other end of the spectrum … VLF. I was the first person to ever copy SAQ, Grimeton, Sweden at 17.2 KHz on the West Coast of the United States. This was done using an amplified shielded magnetic loop along with an audio spectrum analyzer. As of July of 2012 I have managed to again copy SAQ, this time using a Microtelcom Perseus SDR receiver.
Along with KH6WZ and W6BY, I have embraced the “maker” movement and participated in the 2012 and 2013 Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA, with “Not Your Grandpa’s Ham Radio.” The idea was to present new amateur radio technology from microwaves to microcontrollers. We hope to continue to present ham radio at upcoming Maker Faires and encourage other hams to do so as well. It is a great opportunity to show off what we do to a new generation of potential hams! See what we are doing with Maker Faire at http://www.faradayfields.com.
Member of Sierra Amateur Radio Club
Member of Associated Radio Amateurs of Long Beach
Member of San Bernardino Microwave Society
Secretary, Collins Collectors Association
Member of Fullerton Radio Club
Member AM International, #1685
Inyokern CA DM15bs