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I’ve been licensed since 1961 with call signs: WA5AME, in Albuquerque, NM; WB4WVJ, in Cary, NC; KA5BXJ and currently KF5SA, in
Georgetown, TX. The format of my call sign indicates that I hold an FCC Advanced Class Amateur Radio License.
The home QTH station consists of an Icom
756 Pro III, Heathkit HL-2200 amp running a pair of 3-500Zs, Force 12
C3E 8-element beam at 40' riding up and down the Rohn 25G tower on a
Hazer, Yaesu G-800SA rotator, Yaesu FT-7800, FT-60, and VX1R for
VHF/UHF, and a Sony VAIO computer running Ham Radio Deluxe with
DM780. I just acquired the 756 Pro III in October at the Belton
hamfest. It's a great transceiver and I really enjoy operating
with it. I operate SSB and several digital modes including PSK31,
RTTY, and recently tried MFSK and Olivia. I've also listened a bit
on digital voice using WinDRM.
Prior to the Icom I had a Yaesu FT-920
acquired in the Spring to replace my 18 year old TS-440S. When I
became more active after retiring in 2006 I decided I should upgrade the
old TS-440S. The FT-920 looked like it had all the bells and
whistles I needed. Unfortunately it has a well-known problem with
AGC pumping, which I noticed immediately. It doesn't bother some
but it bothered me. The FT-920 uses an AF DSP so I decided to
upgrade to a radio using an IF DSP. I would have opted for an
Elecraft K3 but there's a 3 1/2 month waiting list! The Flex 5000A
is also a fine radio but I'm still a knobs and dials guy. I was
ready to buy a Yaesu FT-2000 but was concerned that it might have
similar problems as the FT-920, so I finally decided on the 756 Pro III
- and I'm very pleased that I did.
My station in the RV consists of a
Kenwood TS-480SAT, KJ7U Screwdriver antenna, Yaesu FT-7800 for VHF/UHF,
and an IBM Thinkpad T43 laptop computer. I also run an FT-7800 in
my truck. Having three FT-7800s makes it easy to program them all
from one file of repeater and tone frequencies.
I originally used Workman single band "stick" antennas
mounted at the top of the RV ladder, but climbing the ladder to switch
bands got old fast. I finally decided to invest in a screwdriver
and purchased the KJ7U version. Getting an adequate counterpoise
proved quite difficult. I finally got all of the metal in the RV
tied together with the antenna's ground and now have a great SWR on all
bands 160M - 6M.
While in Cary, NC, I did a lot of building. I built
several of the Heathkit models of ham gear, and I did quite a bit of homebrew
building as well. In the 70’s I got into RTTY
(radio teletype). In this photo you can see the Model 15 teleprinter I started with
(on the left). The rest of the equipment included a Heathkit SB-102 with matching Station Console,
Monitor, SWR Meter, and speaker. Above the SB-102 is a homebuilt version of the famous ST-6 teletype converter. A friend of mine fabricated the
printed circuit boards by copying pages from an original ST-6 manual. We scrounged all of the parts and I built two sets of the
circuit boards. I think there were
four or five boards involved. I built mine into a Heathkit SB-303 cabinet, to match the SB-102, and
I added a 1” oscilloscope for tuning.
|To the right of the SB-102 is an HW-101 VFO in a Heathkit speaker cabinet with a homebrew front panel. I used this as an external VFO to operate split frequency. To the left of the SB-102 and
Station Console is a homebrew linear amplifier that ran a pair of 4-400A’s in grounded grid, capable of 2KW. Barely visible under the table is the power
supply made from a ‘pole pig’, a commercial power transformer removed from the oil bath and familiar container you see on power poles. Running it
backwards from 120V gave an output of about 3600 volts at plenty of current! The antenna in Cary was a Swan TB-3H, 3 element tri-bander on a 40 foot
phone pole installed beside the house.
2006 Radio Station
Not long after moving to Georgetown
in 1978 I sold all of my equipment and bought a simple Kenwood TS-820S transceiver,
but in 1989
my tower was struck by lightning and I lost most of my gear, not
to mention a lot of other stuff around the house. Fortunately, I was insured and got all new equipment, including a Kenwood TS-440S with
built-in automatic antenna tuner.
Along the way I’ve added a Heath HL-2200 linear running a pair of
3-500Z’s, and several dual-band VHF/UHF transceivers.
I converted from a KAM and homebrew computer program for RTTY and AMTOR, to the new soundboard DSP based programs for PSK etc.
During this period I used TrueTTY for PSK and RTTY and MMSSTV for slow-scan television.
Tower and Antenna
Here’s my Force 12 C3E antenna during an ice storm in 2001. It sure did droop!
1964 Radio Station
This photo is from my WA5AME shack in
Albuquerque, NM around 1964. The receiver is the famous Hammarlund
HQ-170 next to a Gonset GSB-100 SSB transmitter, and a homebrew amp
running a pair of 4-400s. That's a BC-221 frequency counter
sitting on top of the HQ-170.
Prior to this FB station I had used a Knight Kit
single 807 transmitter, Hallicrafters SX-25 receiver, Harvey Wells
TBS-50 (C or D), Lysco transmitter with homebrew modulator, and a
homebrew amp running a pair of 813s in a 4' rack. Those were the
AM days and I could run 700 watts AM all day long with that amp.
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