I have been a ham since 1972 in El Paso, Texas with first call of WN5JXY (Novice), (Vince Sparacino taught me morse code with an old paper tape code generator at Ft Bliss, TX) then after a few years, I upgraded to TECH with morse code & call WA5JXY.
I have been continuosly active in ham radio since 1972!
I currently hold a FCC General Class license as W7FED.
I started my official career in electronics and communications around 1973 when I started working at a company called Autotronic Controls Corporation. They made the MSD electronic ignition system (and still do to this day!). Prior to my official career, I started learning about CB radios, stereos, amplifiers and how they worked. All self-study no school. I joined a CB radio club (El Paso Communications Organization - EPCO) and had a great time and met some great people. I held the official FCC CB callsign of KDW-9402 and the "CB handle" of "Pioneer". My first CB was a E.F. Johnson "Whiteface" crystal controlled tube radio and a Turner +2 desk mic. I used to leave it on all day so it would stay "stable" and on frequency. During the day, the skip would roll in and the speaker would open up above the squelch level. No big deal you say. Well, we had a parrot and it had a cage right outside my bedroom door. For years we couldn't figure out what the dang bird was saying. He kinda mumbled then he would SCREECH and WHISTLE real loud. Then we figured it out. He was repeating all the skip noise and guys whistling that he heard during the day! Hilarious, I know. My parents were not amused.
I tore everything apart and "sometimes" got them back together. Friends would give me broken stuff and I'd try to fix it. I got pretty good at it and then I would sell the fixed item for profit. The profit allowed me to purchase items I needed such as test equipment, power supplies, speakers, amps, etc etc. I also used to add the "funny channels" to my friends CB's that allowed them to talk "outside" the official CB channels where it was real quiet - except for us. Someone told me it was illegal and that it actually was "Ham Radio" frequencies that I was infringing on, and suggested that if I was to continue that path, to get my ham licence to stay legal. I studied morse code and theory in the evenings at Fort Bliss Texas and earned my novice ham license in 1972.
Here I am in my old hamshack in El Paso, Texas sometime around 1990;
I remember sitting on top of the Franklin mountains in El Paso, Texas about 25 years ago. I was playing "briefcase packet" from the top of the mountain (4692 feet ASL) with my Radio Shack Model 100 and a GLB-PK1L packet node controller I built into a briefcase with a rechargeable battery pack. You can see three states (Texas, New Mexico, and Chihuahua Mexico) and two countries (US, Mexico) from up there !
I was one of the first in the country (especially El Paso) to get on PACKET RADIO. (Waaaaay before the internet. Actually pre-Compuserve and 300 baud dial-up modem!) Packet radio isn't as popular as it used to be (except for APRS and some new digital messaging modes), but I sure enjoyed building one of the FIRST PACKET Bulletin Board System (Xerox 820 CP/M - W0RLI software). I also helped build the FIRST DIGIPEATER in El Paso with a home-built TAPR TNC (with Dave W5DBC-SK) as well as the FIRST Modem/Packet BBS cross-link and the ELPWX Packet-Based "WeatherNode".
I have enjoyed many modes of Amateur radio over the years including RTTY, AMTOR, Packet, AM, SSB, FM, and Satellite.
Lately, I have been experimenting with C4FM, and DMR. I have radios in the shack as well as in the truck that support these modes (as well as a DV4-mini node connected to a Raspberry-pi)
Here is a picture of my CURRENT hamshack (2016-2017)
I think I have owned most every rig ever made. Most of my friends can attest to that!
TEN-TEC CORSAIR II (sold to OK2GG Jarda)
KENWOOD TS-520, and TS-830 (sold both - should have kept the TS-520!)
KENWOOD TS-570DG - (current rig #1)
YAESU FT-900 (sold)
YAESU FT-991 (Current rig #2 - My first BRAND NEW Rig since 1972!)
ICOM IC-820H Satellite Rig (Sold but really should have kept it!)
KENWOOD TM-V7R Dual-Band Mobile (I have two, one in the shack, and one in my mobile)
CONNECT SYSTEMS, INC (CSI) CS750 DMR HT, CS800 DMR Mobile (in my truck).
YAESU VX-7R Tri-Band+ Handheld (Still have it!. Still working GREAT! (although I JUST had to replace the original battery which was over 10 years old and still working (about 95%). Amazing!
ICOM IC-2/3/4AT Handheld. The BEST Radio and Quality made by anyone to date. (Sold years ago)
RADIO SHACK HTX-202 Handy Talkie. The 1% of product that RS sold that worked OK. (Still have it!)
STEWART-WARNER R-390A (Sold but another radio I wish I had NOT sold!)
HALLICRAFTERS S-20R Sky Champion Sold - Glad I did - It shocked the HELL out of me one day!
NATIONAL NC-300 Sold - OK receiver but too heavy to take with you when you move!
ICOM PCR-1000 Computer controlled receiver. (10 kHz to 1300 MHz) - Still have three of them!
Teaberry CB's - Always loved Teaberry! I recently acquired a Teaberry "Stalker XX Export" radio with a CRC100 frequency counter that was added inside where the digital clock used to be. Don't know who had it before, but they did a lot of mods to this radio and it is amazing!
Teaberry "T"-Scout mobile. Just bought one off fleabay for $10. It works! In my museum...
Cobra CB's - 148FGTL (with Freq counter). Have had ths for at least twenty years. Very rare mobile radio and I still own it!
I recently acquired a Cobra 2000GTL with dual speakers. It is also amazing and works great! (Just replaced meter bulbs with blue LED's. Looks cool).
Golden Eagle MARK I /II/III/IV etc. - Never could afford one, but sure wanted it!
E.F. Johnson "White-Face" - My first rig along with a Turner +2 base mic. Wish I still had it!
Lafayette HB-444 Tube CB. This was recently purchased from a "Antiques & Oddities" store in Bingen, Washington, a sleepy little town across the Columbia river from Hood River, Oregon. You never know what you may find in those "little town" stores!
It's really not that rare, but it is in MINT condition! - an AMAZING find!
Chameleon CHA-MPAS portable HF antenna system (with additional CHA MIL Whip EXT) - My main antenna in my HOA. Would love to have a tower and stacked beams, but for now, it's all I have. I use it for 10M/11M/HF.
Cushcraft AR-270B Dual-Band Ringo Vertical. 7' tall each. I have two of them stuffed into my attic for VHF/UHF. It is a tight fit!
I use multiple LARSEN NMO 2/70B antennas on my mobile for VHF-UHF.
I use a single LARSEN NMO27B antenna for 10/11M.
I also have a G5RV in my "Go Box" just in case.
I used to be very active on FM VHF/UHF repeaters and the TRASH linked repeater system (10 repeaters/sites) that the El Paso TRASH group and I built, but all sites/repeaters have been shut down and sold due to my recent career move. Just can't move all that stuff across the country!
(T.R.A.S.H. = This Represents A Serious Hobby!)
Ham Radio is BUILDING STUFF (like your own RADIO RECEIVER and/or TRANSMITTER!)
or how about some RaspberryPi or Arduino projects?
The ARRL has a nice "Arduino for Amateur Radio" book. BUY IT!
And of course the great "ARRL Handbook". BUY IT!
I ENCOURAGE existing and NEW hams to "do your part" to help reduce and eliminate "poor operating habits" such as cussing, playing music, or intentional interference. HAM RADIO has always been "self-policing". Help track down these "offenders" and DO NOT ENCORAGE THEM in their efforts to give ham radio a bad name. Build an antenna and do some investigating and direction finding. REPORT them!
I enjoy the ALLSTARLINK radio system.
I have a node on now (27051) and others in development.
Limited RF coverage in Seattle, WA (mostly low power simplex UHF 445.800 with 103.5 PL)
My node is also connected to ECHOLINK world-wide with my call of W7FED-R
Check out the node list at;
I always go to the Mike & Key Amateur Radio Club "Electronics and Ham Radio swapmeet" each year at the Puyallup Fair Grounds, Puyallup, WA. (Near Seattle, WA) - Amazing how many people attend this event! I always have a great time selling and talking with everyone and I am glad I get rid of some stuff that I no longer need and that others can now enjoy it. I always try make time to walk around and look at other tables, which is probably not a good thing because I come home with more stuff than I sold. HaHa.
Check it out at;
Take a look at some of the photographs posted so you can see how BIG it is!
I currently support Motorola ASTRO P25 trunking radio systems.
73 de W7FED (ex WA5JXY) Neil
7942033 Last modified: 2017-03-03 22:39:22, 15723 bytes
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