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WP2B US Virgin Islands flag US Virgin Islands

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QSL: DIRECT, LOTW, eQSL, HRD.log, NO BUREAU!

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XML Subscriber Lookups: 60882

 

Please note: QSLs for OA4/WP2B, HP1/WP2B and HP5/WP2B operations are direct or via LOTW only.

The Virgin Islands is an awesome place for a ham to call home. The propagation from here is about as good as it gets. Combined with magnificent year-round weather and world class SCUBA diving in our turquoise waters it's just about the perfect QTH. If you haven't tried operating from the Caribbean, give it a try sometime. You won't be disappointed.

The 24-panel 6KW solar power system we installed in 2013 keeps us from having to buy power from the local utility at nearly 50 cents per kilowatt-hour! We actually generate a surplus that goes back on the local power grid. We also collect and purify our own water supply from the rain.

Our summer QTH is on Lake Wissota near Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Unfortunately I don't have a station there because the local homeowner's association doesn't allow antennas.

I first became a ham in 1968 with the original call WN9ZZV. Since then I've held several calls including WA9ZZV, DA1ML, OE7ZAI, VK4MF, K9BZ and have also had fun operating from HB9, HB0, HP1, HP5, I, KH6, KL7, KP2, KP4, OA4 and VE3-7. Ham radio interests include ragchewing, DXing, operating the digital modes and playing on my favorite band (6 Meters) when it's open.

A memorable radio experience for me was my first station. Radio gear was hard to come by as a young teenager, so my buddy Dan (WN9ANP) and I pooled our resources. Dan had a homebrew HF receiver and I had a Heathkit DX-20 transmitter purchased for the gigantic sum of twenty dollars. Every other week I got to have the station at my QTH and alternate weeks we moved the equipment to my friend's house. When I finally raised enough money from my paper route to buy a receiver (Drake-1A), I was thrilled at being able to operate full-time from my own QTH. I still have the same Drake 1A, but the DX-20 in my collection is a replacement for the original.

Despite having interest in recreating my original novice station and getting it back on the air someday, I doubt I'll ever consider replacing my original all-band antenna. This engineering marvel, conceived by my 14-year old imagination entirely without outside assistance, was a random length long-wire fed through openwire line and no tuner. That's right, NO TUNER! I connected coax to the receiver and transmitter directly from a double-pole, double-throw knife switch that terminated my openwire line next to the radios. This allowed me easy access from my basement operating position to manually switch the antenna from transmitter to receiver. The impedence mismatch likely made my SWR at the rig infinty/1, turning 50 watts of good RF output into mere milliwatts of effective radiated power by the time it finally met the ionosphere, but what did a kid with no Elmer know about the importance of antenna matching? In those days we had to log all our transmissions and I remember filling my first logbook almost entirely with unanswered CQs. It's also fun to recall my first QSO and QSL (WN2HIH), my first DX QSO and QSL (ZL3JC) and a QSO with JY1 (King Hussein), all nearly 50 years ago.

The Pursuit of Knowledge beyond Ham Radio led me to obtain a BS degree in Engineering from the US Military Academy, West Point, New York and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota even though I found it as necessary to get on the air as to eat, sleep and study.

Ham Radio at a Military Academy: I was the West Point cadet who, in true clandestine fashion, erected a steel tower complete with tribander and rotor on the Cadet Activites Building so I could get on the air with a decent signal. Unbeknownst to yours truly, it turned out that this marvelous feat of amateur engineering could be clearly seen from the reviewing stand of West Point's hallowed parade ground. My "unathorized improvement" to the picturesque academy buildings, statues and monuments was eventually noticed by a certain 3-star general who promptly ordered it dismantled because it didn't fit in with the circa 1800's landscape (more proof that it takes a ham to fully appreciate the beauty of an antenna). Fortunately for me I got some serious operating time out of the antenna system before it was unceremoniously "decommissioned". Because of movement restrictions during study time, I also operated regularly from my small room in the cadet barracks with a Swan 350 transceiver and Webster Bandspanner mobile antenna temporarily hung from the window frame (after dark of course). I was an undisputed qualifier for the WAS (Worked All Stereos) award with that particular set up.

Some of my other hobbies/interests are physical fitness, running, martial arts (Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Qigong), skiing, an occasional round of golf and of course scuba diving. I have a wonderful wife Donna, six great kids (4 girls, 2 boys) all grown and seven grandchildren (4 girls, 3 boys). We currently have three hams in the family and for fun operating activities we formed a club with the callsign KZ0J. The "KZ" prefix is in honor of my Father, who one day back in the early 60's brought home two AristoTone walkie talkies as an incredible surprise for a 10-year old boy with a somewhat unguided enthusiasm for the radio art. (I always suspected Dad's true intent was to liberate the metal hose extender I'd borrowed from the family vacuum cleaner to use as the "DX" antenna for an old Philco shortwave receiver. Once I discovered that touching one end of it to the back of the receiver chassis brought in all kinds of wonderful signals that could not be heard otherwise, it became a semi-permanent part of my SWL command post.)

Happy operating and I hope to hear you on the air,

Brad - WP2B

 

         

 C19XR + 2el 40 + 5el on 6 on 55' US Tower with Buck Island in view     One of St. Croix's North Shore wrecks at about 100ft depth

 

                   

 WP2B/MM anchored at Buck Island National Park                          WP2B radio shack running Elecraft K3 and SPE Expert 1.3k-FA amp

 

   

Notice the 1700's windmill on the hill (lower left )            6 KW of solar panels is sufficient to meet our electricity needs

 

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