Station/QTHs

Station/QTH covers Equipment, current QTH (Pueblo West, CO), prior QTHs (Alice Springs, NT Australia (both times); Haymarket, VA; Brighton, CO, Parker, CO, and Garland, TX), and some Old Equipment.

Equipment

  • Ham equipment:

    • Kenwood TS-990S HF/50MHz Transceiver

    • Zero-Five 10-40 Groundplane Antenna mounted at 13 feet above ground. An MFJ-993BRT Remote Automatic Tuner is mounted at the antenna's just below the antenna's feedpoint.

    • Icom SM-8 Desk Microphone (one lead modified for Kenwood), bought in ~'86 for my IC-735 (which I wish I still had!).

    • Yaesu SP9000 Dual External Speaker System with Audio Filters (bought used on eHam, just a great speaker with the TS-990S)

    • Bencher Paddles (that I have had since ~'86)

    • Schurr Small Morse straight key (just beautiful - bought directly from Schurr ~'93 when living and working in Australia)

    • Kenwood HS-5 Headphones

    • ICOM IC-880H D-Star VHF/UHF Mobile Transceiver (in my Tacoma)

    • ICOM T-81 HT

    • Icom ID-5100A UHF/VHF D-Star Transceiver (received from a very good friend’s estate)

    • MFJ-148RC 12/24 Hour Dual Time Zone Clock

    • There is a QRP Labs QCX 40m kit in-progress being built (building it was stopped about 2 years ago when moving, helping my wife recover, and with my working in up in the Denver area each week only being home on weekends).

  • Computer Equipment and Applications:

    • Computer – All Mac for decades -- MacBook Pro (2019) connected to LG 24-inch USB-C 4k Monitor (with integral USB-C hub). Mac interfaced to TS-990S via Satechi USB-C port expansion hub. Logitech K380 Keyboard and MX Anywhere 3 for Mac Mouse (both Bluetooth)

    • Applications – running MacLoggerDX (an absolutely great logging program for the Mac; ran RUMlogNG for a short time); fldigi (just despised...really wish that cocoaModem was still supported!); and WSJT-X.

  • Test Equipment:

    • Rigol MSO5104 100MHz Mixed Signal Oscilloscope -- 4-channels analog, 16 channels digital

    • Rigol DSA815-TG 1.5 GHz Spectrum Analyzer with Tracking Generator

    • Rigol DG952 50MHz Arbitrary Waveform Generator

    • Hewlett-Packard (HP) 8648A Synthesized RF Signal Generator -- 100KHz - 1GHz Sig Gen

    • Rigol DM3058E Digital Multimeter -- Bench Digital Multimeter, 5 1/2 digits

    • Heathkit IP-2718 3-Output Power Supply -- Dual variable 0-15V with up to 500mA, and single fixed 5V up to 1.5A. I built this kit around 1976 or 1977; it is one of a few remaining Heathkits that I still have from the many Heathkits built over the years.

    • Tack Life MDC-01 Power Supply -- single variable 0-30V with up to 5A, CV or CC. New addition. Mainly used on the bench for powering radios being tested.

    • ...and a variety of small units such as a RigExpert AA-54 Antenna Analyzer, Fluke 87 DMM, LCR meters, freq counter, Heathkit HD-1250 Solid State Dip Meter (another one that I built in the '80s and still own), hand-held logic analyzer, etc.

  • Other equipment not currently in-use::

    • Heathkit HW-9 CW QRP Transceiver with WARC Band Kit (unbuilt, NIB) - bought from a Minnesota ham in the early 1990's when living and working in Australia. Has remained unbuilt and in the box since receiving it. The plan even when buying it and in the 25+ years intervening, was to get it built to use. The goal is getting it assembled sometime soon after a few other projects are done.

    • Heathkit HW-7 CW QRP Transceiver and Power Supply - bought at hamfest (cannot remember when), works, needs to be cleaned-up and tuned-up

    • Stealthy MyAntenna EFHW 40m antenna

    • Cushcraft R3. 1986-vintage 10, 15, and 20m Remote-Tuned End-Fed Half-Wave vertical modified to include 17m. This has been my "first up and last down" antenna whether in the US or in Australia. Have another stock R-3 bought from a ham on eHam to be used for parts if needed.

    • Lightning Bolt 2-Element Quad for 10, 15, 17, and 20m (used in Australia from '91-'96 and from '98-'99).

    • Yaesu G-800 Rotator (used in Australia from '98-'04 first with Lightning Bolt 2-Element Quad, and then with Force-12 C3SS Yagi)

    • Kenwood SW-200 Wattmeter with SW-1, SW-2, and SW-4 Sensors

    • Icom IC-2GAT 2M HT (bought ~'87, just has been a workhourse in the past - as an HT, mobile, and fixed. Was even working Packet on 2M in the early 90s when living and working in Australia)

    • Homebrew QRP stuff; test equipment

    • AEA MM-3 Morse Machine

  • Planned/Desired:

    • Short tower (limited to 40-foot height limit at current QTH due to municipality) with a decent 2-3 element HF antenna (would love to install the quad again, but overall height needs consideration) - looking at a 3-element SteppIR (with 40m?) or OptiBeam, but still under investigation. Want to be ready for the forthcoming sunspot cycle, Cycle 25. Tower and antenna planned for 2021.

    • Icom IC-9700 (to replace the Yaesu FT736R with 2m, 70cm, and 23cm sold in 2017) - not a strong desire, just nice for completing the shack -- get back on 1.2GHz FM, get on 1.2GHz D-Star, and maybe even get into some satellite.

QTHs

Pueblo West, Colorado (current QTH) SEP18 - Present

Grid: DM78qj CQ Zone 4 ITU Zone 7 Pueblo County

My wife and I bought our place in Pueblo West for a handful of reasons: great location and view (from the back and patio), she loved from the time it was initially seen (about 2 months prior to it being completed); and I liked the flow of the house, lot size, 3-car garage, and ability to put up an antenna.

We have a nice view from the dining area's bay window and from the patio: Wet Mountains to the west and southwest (and seeing some peaks of the Sangre de Cristo range behind the Wet Mountains especially when snow covered), Spanish Peaks to the south, and Pikes Peak to the northwest.

The house's location was really great when buying it in SEP18 due to that I was still working, and worked until semi-retiring in late November 2019. So, the proximity to the Colorado Springs area was still important for my then daily commute (taking about 28 minutes to get to the south side of the Springs from the house -- we are a short jaunt west of I-25's exit 108). The commute was a lot uglier a bit later when taking a position in Aurora -- there were days when making the 1.75-hour (min.) one-way commute, but most times just going up on Monday morning and coming home Friday afternoon staying in a hotel during the week.

It was easy envisioning getting the property's "clean slate" appearance to where we wanted it too. The 1.2-acre property was landscaped with zero-scape in the front half (road to house, around the house, and a bit behind the house), a couple of trees and some plants in the front and back on drip irrigation (the only way that any vegetation can survive in this area without wasting a lot of water), and a 4-foot black fence around the back of the property up to the front of the house (with a 10-foot vehicle access gate and a 4-foot gate along the sidewalk from the driveway around to the back patio). The back half is struggling to get some low-grow native grass growing due to lack of rain the past two years.

What attracted me was being able to do a few things without being severly restricted - namely being able to install an effective antenna. While not being able to put up a large tower, I can install an antenna system up to 40 foot.

  • Presently, there is an elevated Zero-Five 10-40m Ground Plane Vertical antenna with a MFJ 993BRT Remote Tuner mounted at the feed point is installed near the back right of the house (near the NW corner). The Zero-Five 10-40m Ground Plane Vertical has been a really good performer for a temporary antenna. There is also a 132-foot end-fed wire from the southwest corner of the house going out the back left fence corner as an Near Vertical Incidence Sky-wave (NVIS) antenna -- the only used for some contacts on 80m and 160m -- my first ever and sole contact on 160m was made some months ago on this NVIS antenna using FT8!

  • The plan was, and still is, installing a short tilting aluminum tower with a decent antenna such as a 3-element SteppIR with 40m or an Optibeam with the top of the antenna just shy of that 40-foot height above the ground. That was being planned for 2020, and then deferred to 2021. I am looking forward to getting a much better antenna system up in preparation for the coming sunspot cycle, Cycle 25.

The house during a wintery morning (upper). The house leading up to Christmas just after sunset (lower). The elevated Zero-Five 10-40m Ground Plane Vertical is barely visible on the right side (the north side of the house).

Desk - Kenwood TS-990S, Icom IC-5100, Mac PowerBook Pro and LG 4K Monitor, and Test Equipment

Operating Position - Kenwood TS-990S, Icom IC-5100, Mac PowerBook Pro and LG 4K Monitor

Test Equipment

....hardly ever this clean!

Kenwood TS-990S HF/6M Transceiver

2m/70cm Antenna

Just a 2m/70cm half-wave antenna (~39 inches tall), a previously used mobile mount with ~13 feet of RG-316 coax, and a mounting bracket that were already here at the house and not being used. Do not recall the antenna brand (either Diamond or Comet). Fabricated the mounting from some square tubing from a "big box" store. The rather lightweight assembly was mounted to the house's gutter brackets (not seen) with upside-down U-bolts. The RG-316 coax is rounted under the soffit with Command Strips mounts and enters the house coming in the through the window being small enough to fit in through the gasket at the outer edge between the stationary and moveable panes.

Zero-Five 10-40m Ground Plane Vertical

Feed point is about 4m (~13 feet) above ground. The MFJ 993BRT Remote Tuner is mounted just below the feed point.

Zero-Five 10-40m Ground Plane Vertical Antenna and MFJ 993BRT Remote Tuner

NVIS Antenna

132-foot End-Fed NVIS Antenna -- wire goes from soffit at southwest corner of the house at about 10 feet to near the southwest corner of the fence at about 6 feet. Already had the UNUN. A multi-conductor counterpoise is connected to the UNUN's ground lug. Seems to work "good enough" using the TS-990S's internal antenna tuner (the only time using the internal tuner). Only used occassionaly as the only antenna for 75m and 160m.

Colorado Springs, CO - temporary QTHs FEB18-SEP18

Grid: DM78ot CQ Zone 4 ITU Zone 7 El Paso County

With my contract ending in northern Virginia at the end of NOV17, I took a (discovering it was "lousy") position with my then current company in the Colorado Springs, CO area. I found a furnished 2-bedroom end-unit townhouse with a month-to-month rental statrting in FEB18 waiting for my wife to join after our house sold back in Haymarket, VA. The plan was getting the Haymarket, VA house sold in the MAR-APR18 timeframe which did happen. My wife joined me in Colorado Springs in late APR18 after getting the household packed-up, put in to storage for a while (waiting for a new place in the Colorado Springs area), and getting the VA place sold.

A QRP Labs QCX 40m 5W CW Transceiver and the enclosure kits were started around MAR18 getting probably more than halfway through it when having to pack things up to move to another temporary house in early MAY18. Somehow, the kit was not completed since being consumed with looking for a new residence with my wife, Denice, and working. Then with work, Denice's health for a while, and getting into a new place with all of the unpacking, nothing happened with getting it out and completed. It is once again unpacked on the bench about to be restarted and completed. The TS-990S was never taken out of the box while at the townhouse being brought out with some of my other things - there was not the room to do it.

My wife and I then rented a cozy 2-bedroom house just south of the Colorado Spring downtown area in mid-MAY18 on a month-to-month basis from a quite understanding landlady - she allowed me to temporarily install a wire antenna up in the quite tall trees. So, a MyAntennas EFHW 40m was ordered and installed - the transformer end with wire attached was hoisted up one tree at the front of the house and with the other end of the wire tensioned with some paracord hoisted up from another tree near the back fence. Worked really good for getting back on for a while (until we closed on our house in Pueblo West south of Colorado Springs).

The Kenwood TS-990S was in-use mainly working PSK31 and FT8 signals. I was also in the midst of trying to get the 990S physically and logically interfaced with fldigi and MacLoggerDX as the logging application. I had been using RUMlogNG as the logging application for about a year, but returned back to MacLoggerDX during this time. The main issue was trying get thing everything to "play nicely" integrated to operate as needed. fldigi was just a pain to get working right -- and I really wanted to get back to working PSK31, a mode that I really enjoy. Sadly, the cocoaModem application that I was using since around 2000 had not been supported for a year or two (in 2018) becoming unstable with Mac OS10.7. Going through all of the issues to get it all working was the catalyst for generating the Mac-Based Amateur Radio Applications document captured in the Amateur Radio/Mac Amateur Radio Digital Applications website page.

Kenwood TS-990S

The TS-990S was operational from the second of the two temporary houses in Colorado Springs. Had a MyAntennas 40m end-fed antenna up between two (2) trees above the house. Mainly worked PSK31 and FT8 shile sorting out the interfacing and configuration issues especially for fldigi.

QRP Labs QCX Kit

Started in MAR18, but not finished due to moving (twice) and other family issues. Planned to complete soon.

Haymarket, VA JAN08-NOV18

Grid: FM18eu CQ Zone 5 ITU Zone 8 Prince William County

Was not on the radio much at all during this time. Had much higher priorities with family and work - work was especially challenging for chewing-up time with my less-than-stellar 45-90+ minute each way commute to and from work.

Transitioned from the Yeasu FT950 (which is an "ok" radio, but...), to the Elecraft KS3/10 kit ordered AUG15 (also "ok", although many "out there" just love it -- it was just not right for me), then finally landing back to Kenwood with the TS-990S HF/50MHz Transceiver (which I love) in FEB17.

The area where we lived was an HOA meaning no outside antennas. There are ways to work through that constraint along with being somewhat effective with some creative thought. Had my venerable Cushcraft R-3 End-Fed Half-Wave Vertical (modified) installed up in my attic in an almost horizontal position for working HF. Also had a Diamond X-6000A 2m/70cm/23cm Vertical Antenna up in the attic area connected to the Yaesu FT736R with 2m, 70cm, and 23cm modules installed. Sold the Yaesu FT-736R at the Frostfest Hamfest in Richmond, VA in FEB17. About a year prior to leaving, I installed a 53-foot end-fed wire connected to a MFJ-993BRT Remote Tuner in a 5-gallon bucket from our deck going out the woods behind our house. The wire was the really strong for its 26-gauge size. It really worked out quite good especially for getting back on 40m again.

Yaesu FT950 HF+50 MHz Transceiver

Bought the Yaesu FT950 (around 2006 when in Brighton, CO) to retain HF capability in replacing the Kenwood TS-950SDX that I had for around 10 years. It was an "ok" radio, but not the performance as previously had with the Kenwood TS-950SDX. Sold it after getting the Elecraft K3S/10 assembled and operational.

Yaesu FT-736R VHF/UHF All Mode Transceiver

Still had the FT-736R which was connected to a new Diamond X-6000A 2m/70cm/23cm Vertical Antenna up in the attic area.

Just was not using it at all. Sold it at the 2017 Frostfest Hamfest (FEB17) in Richmond, VA.

Kenwood TS-990S HF/50MHz Transceiver

Eagerly and gladfully bought the Kenwood TS-990S in FEB17. It was the radio that was desired, and now I have one. I aspire to be able to really use all that it is capable of. I keep on learning new things about its capabilities and functionality more and more. It is a keeper.

If the Kenwood TS-890S would have been "out" when buying the TS-990S, then I may have just gone with the TS-890S. Another great option would have been the Kenwood TS-590S, but I really wanted Kenwood's "flagship" HF transceiver.

Elecraft K3S/10

When considering what to get for the next radio, one that I would really like to keep for a long time, the decision was down to the Elecraft K3S/10 Kit and the Kenwood TS-990S. Out of overall price, I went with the K3S/10.

In FEB15, the Elecraft K3S/10 kit version was bought along with some of the "must have" options like second receiver, filters, etc. I thought that if I felt I needed the QRO version, that I could add the radio's PA module quite easily later. Had quite a bit of money tied-up in to the radio. It was a pretty good radio, expensive, but just not one for me. Decided that I wanted to return to Kenwood and just "get it done with". Sold the K3S/10 around FEB17 right around the time buying the Kenwood TS-990S.

Cushcraft R-3 End-Fed Half-Wave Vertical (modified)

The Cushcraft R-3 installed up in the attic in a sloping nearing horizontal position, it just followed the slope of the roof. Worked fairly good (as it always had) even in that somewhat compromised position/orientation.

Diamond X-6000A 2m/70cm/23cm Antenna

The Diamond X-6000A in the attic area suspended and held in-place with some cord. The antenna was connected to the FT-736R (while I still had it).

MFJ-993BRT Remote Automatic Tuner and 4:1 BALUN in a 5-gallon bucket from late 2016 to late 2017. The end-fed 53-foot 26-gauge antenna wire went up to the railing, and then out to woods out behind the house. There was also a counterpoise set of wires running down towards the ground from the elevated deck. Suprisingly, it seemed to work quite good for such a compromise antenna. My wife even put a potted plant on it!

Brighton, CO JAN05-DEC07

Grid: DN70oa CQ Zone 4 ITU Zone 7 Weld County

Was not on the radio much at all during this time either. Had much higher priorities with family, studying, work, and working the 2.5 acre property. Was working on my MBA specializing in Project Management up until graduating in JUN07. That was coupled with a lot of domestic travel working on the east and west coasts for a work week followed by being home for the weekend.

With a "bright idea" leveraging from the SGC Stealth book, I installed a delta loop with about a 48 foot perimeter out of 1/2-inch copper pipe up in the attic area over the garage connected to a SGC SG-230 Automatic Antenna Tuner. Unsure what the issue really was, but the configuration was just a lousy performer. Along with having little precious time for ham radio, this sat dormant until removing it all in late 2007 when fixing the place up in preparation for a work relocation to the northern VA area (JAN08).

The FT736R (with the 2m, 70cm, and 23cm Modules installed) connected to a 3-port triplexer was conencted via a run of low-loss coax to the Diamond X-6000A Antenna located in the attic area above the garage (a huge space). The setup performed rather good being above to "hit" all of the repeaters in the area along with working mobiles, HTs, and at a considerable range.

Sold my beloved Kenwood TS-950SDX HF/6M Transceiver after buying the rather new Yaesu FT950 HF/6M Transceiver (~2006?). The FT-950 was ok, but it was not a TS-950SDX. But, I was not on the radio much at this time anyway.

SGC SG-230 Automatic Antenna Tuner

The "failed experiement" trying to use the SGC SG-230 Automatic Antenna Tuner up over the 3-car garage with about 48-foot perimeter of 1/2-inch copper tubing set up as a delta loop. Don't think I ever made a contact with it.

Diamond X-6000A 2m/70cm/23cm Antenna

The Diamond X-6000A in the attic area above the garage suspended and held in-place with some cord -- it had a lot of room up there. The antenna was connected to the FT-736R.

Yaesu FT-736R VHF/UHF All Mode Transceiver

The FT736R had the 2m, 70cm, and 23cm modules installed. The radio was connected to a 3-port triplexer which then connected to the low-loss coax for the run to the Diamond X-6000A antenna above the garage.

Kenwood TS-950SDX HF/6M Transceiver

Great radio that I never got to use much after returning to the US (as very busy with family, work and work-related travel, property, and working on an MBA). Had the TS-950SDX since 1996. Thought that it geting a bit dated when comparted with the new radios on the market. Sold it in 2006 after getting the Yaesu FT950.

Yaesu FT-817 HF+ Transceiver and LDG Z11 Automatic Tuner

The FT-817 was probably never used after returning to the US. I decided to sell the FT-817 and the Z11 Tuner in 2006 knowing that they were just in a drawer "collecting dust".

Yaesu FT950 HF+50 MHz Transceiver

Bought the Yaesu FT950 "thinking" that it would replace the Kenwood TS-950SDX that I had for around 10 years. It was an "ok" radio, just not the same caliber as the TS-950SDX.

Alice Springs, NT Australia APR90-SEP96, and APR98-DEC04

Grid: PG66wg CQ Zone 29 ITU Zone 55

It was an awesome experience being DX! Just as awesome was having a semi-rare VK8 prefix of as there were not too many VK8s "out there". I had a lot of fun working stations from all over the world during the first time there (from APR00-SEP96). Due to higher priorities with family and family activities, work, and some business travel, I was not on near as much the second time in Alice Springs (from APR98-DEC04).

During the first stint there (from APR00-SEP96), we lived at two locations. The first was a new 3-bedroom flat (townhouse) for a little more than a year, then moving to a 3-bedroom house. My Icom IC-735 HF Transceiver was coupled to the Cushcraft R-3 20/15/10m End-Fed Half-Wave Remote-Tuned Vertical that was sitting on top of a couple of sections of old Telstra tower strapped on to the end of the flat's carport. At the height of sunspot Cycle 22 (going from SEP86-AUG96), I was "on" having a ball working stations all over the world. HF Packet was pretty big then too sending and receiving messages to and from friends back in the US. There were weekly chats scheduled with some good friends back in the Dallas, TX area on 10 meters for their Friday evening and my Sataurday morning. I still recall dialing back the 735 to minmum power (the power had been "calibrated" to be 5W at the low end and 100W at the high end) to operate at QRP and working a W6 mobile in California on 10m SSB. Just a great experience.

The second QTH (from MAY91-SEP96) provided an opportunity to get the Lightning Bolt 2-Element 4-Band Quad up. That happened around JUL91 several months after moving to the 3-bedroom house from the flat. I just remember it being pretty cold and near freezing a few evenings when Dana Howard (VK8DM then, W0BOV now) and I working out in the backyard getting the tower assembled, assembling the Quad, and then getting tower up with the rotator and Quad. Using 4 sections of that old Telstra tower (about 3m per section?), the Quad was finally up. Wow! The R-3 was pretty good, but the Quad was great! I could now work just about anything that I could hear. I became a regular mainly on the weekends with the Southern Cross DX Net and the Family Hour DX Net making lots of contacts.

Lightning Bolt 2-Element 4-Band Cubical Quad

Had the Lightning Bolt 2-Element 4-Band Quad (on 20, 17, 15, and 10m) up from 1991 to 1996 and then again from 1998 to 1999 when this picture was taken. Great antenna and very quiet. Have kept it over the years with the hope of getting it back up.

JJ with Nathaniel, ~OCT91

Was very much Mac-based even in OCT91. Visible is Icom IC-735 (wish I had kept), Icom SM-8 Desk Microphone (still have), Bencher BY-2 Iambic Keyer (still have), Kenwood SW-200 Power Meter (still have, but not in-use right now), Controller for Create G450 Rotator (used with Lightning Bolt 2-Element 4-Band Quad), Controller for Cushcraft R-3 End-Fed Half-Wave Remote-Tuned Vertical Antenna (was my backup antenna; still have the R-3 too), and an AEA PK-232 Multimode Controller.

Nathaniel is now KD5OCU.

JJ with Nathaniel, ~DEC92

Equipment configuration similar to previous picture. Also shown is the Heathkit IP-2718 Tri-Power Supply (bought and assembled ~1984 and still use on my bench today) and a Schurr Small Straight Key (bought in 1991 which I still love to this day).

Nathaniel is now KD5OCU. WooWoo is also on the mousepad.

Cushcraft R-3 End-Fed Half-Wave Remote-Tuned Vertical (modified)

The modified Cushcraft R-3 was bought around late 1986 when still living in the Dallas, TX area. After a thunderstorm (one of the many there), a large tree branch fell on the R-3 bending/crushing parts of it. About to head to Australia for work, the R-3 was cleaned-up and rebuilt ordering a new 15/17m trap from Cushcraft for the then current R-5 and some new tubing. So, 17m now augmented 10, 15, and 20m on the R-3! Works great! This was my "first up and last down" antenna when living in Australia.

Force12 C3SS Yagi Installation - Prep

AUG2000

Chris Schulz, VK8KCS, and Mike Reifsnider, VK8MR (VK8 call then, and KV0MR when back in US and now) preparing the C3SS for installation.

Force12 C3SS Yagi Installation - Final Touches

AUG2000

JJ, VK8JJ (VK8 call then and also WR5E when in the US), finishing up with getting the C3SS installed.

Force12 C3SS Yagi Installation - Watchful Eyes

AUG2000

Mike Reifsnider, VK8MR (VK8 call then,and KV0MR when back in US and now) on the rope with XYL, Denice, looking up at me on top of the tower.

Force12 C3SS Yagi Installation - Crew

AUG2000

Chris Schulz, VK8KCS, Mike Reifsnider, VK8MR (VK8 call then, and KV0MR when back in US and now), and JJ, VK8JJ (VK8 call then and also WR5E when back in the US and now).

Force12 C3SS Yagi Installation - Helpers

AUG2000

Kristofer (not licensed then, has been KJ4KGA since ~2010), and Nathaniel, VK8ZBP (his VK8 call then, and KD5OCU when back in the US and now).

Force12 C3SS Yagi - Galah Loading

The C3SS "loading" was a bit different. The galahs loved to perch on the C3SS. It was seen with quite a few more on it than this picture shows.

Force12 C3SS Yagi at 13m on ATN 320 Tower with Yaesu G800 Rotator

2000-2004

Located in the back yard and just behind the house, the Force12 C3SS Yagi sat atop the ATN320 Tower. There were 2 sets of Phillystran guy lines for each of the 3 directions. This was a really good performer for my seemingly limited operation there. I can see from the antenna's position having been working North America since at about 60 degrees. When working JA, it was pointed due north. When working Europe, the bearing was about 300-330 from what is remembered.

VK8JJ Operating Position

1999-2004

As mentioned before, all Mac-based. Not very visible is the Kenwood TS-950SDX HF/6M Transceiver, AEA PK232 Multimode Controller, SM-8 Desk Microphone (still have), Bencher BY-2 Iambic Keyer (still have), Kenwood SW-200 Power Meter (still have, but not in-use right now), Controller for Yaesu G800 Rotator (used with the Force12 C3SS Yagi, and still have), and the Controller for Cushcraft R-3 End-Fed Half-Wave Vertical Antenna (was my backup antenna; still have the R-3 too). The Heathkit IP-2718 Tri-Power Supply (which I assembled and still use on my bench) is also there to the right of the iMac (which the kids mainly used). This was all in the smallest of the bedrooms and at the front of the house.

VK8JJ Operating Position - Temp

Late 2004

This was my temporary operating position from AUG-DEC04 setting up our house's living room. I rearranged the furniture bringing in the dining room table to use as a desk. There was a short run of RG-58 coax out of the window (by the desklamp) connected to a quite low 20m dipole strung-up outside sloping from the top of the roof to the fence. It was not much of an antenna or system, but I was back "on the air" mainly with PSK31 using my Yaesu FT817 Transceiver.

We were in the middle of relocating back to the US - I had taken Denice, the 4 kids, and almost everything in the house back to our new house north of the Denver, CO area in late JUL04 having to return to Australia to finish work. After a smallish packout in DEC04, I left Australia returning to the US and my family just prior to Christmas 2004.

Yaesu FT-817 HF+ Transceiver and LDG Z11 Automatic Tuner

Bought the Yaesu FT-817 Transceiver and the Tuner around 2002 when back in the US on a trip. Ordered the LDG Z11 Tuner; it was just perfect for the FT-817 needing only a battery to operate. Never really used them much until alone in our house there in Australia after getting Denice and the kids settled into our new house in Colorado -- I was alone in our house in Australia finishing work there from AUG04 to DEC04 when rejoining my family in CO just before Christmas 2004. Mainly used for PSK31.

Kenwood TS-950SDX HF/6M Transceiver

Just a great radio! Was not used near a much after getting back to Australia for the second time, but was really good when getting on (was coupled with the Quad the first year, then with the Force12 C3SS Yagi at our second house).

Yaesu FT-736R VHF/UHF All Mode Transceiver

The FT-736R was bought from Chris Schulz, VK8KCS, probably in 2001 or so. It had the 2m and 70 modules installed with the 6M module having been desintalled. When back in the US on a business trip, I was able to special order the 23cm module through HRO in Sunnyvale, CA (now closed) being told that it was probably one of the last since the radio had not been in production for some time. Wow, I had a brand new 23cm module installed in the FT-736R several months later!

The radio was connected to a new Diamond NR2000NA 2m/70cm/23cm mobile antenna with a Diamond DPK-4NM-N Mag Mount that worked really good on our house's metal roof.

Parker, CO NOV96-APR98

I was not on the radio at hardly all during this time. Tried an attic dipole since being in an HOA. Had a 22-foot pine planted near the back left corner of the backyard (which ran me about $1000, and this was in very early '97). The intent was to run several appropriately painted 1/2-inch copper pipes up the trunk along with running radials out from the base. Had a ground-mounted sprinkler valve box near the tree's trunk connected via some 3-inch flex tubing running to a covered box at the house - that was for running the coax out to the SGC SG-230 remote tuner to be placed in that ground-mounted sprinker valve box. Was almost done, but not able to complete the hidden antenna project.

Lots going on with a young family and new work. Was hired by another company after a year in Parker going out to northern Virginia in OCT97 renting a room at a single friend's house for 5 or so months. After getting there in VA, was offered a job to return back to Australia. Was even TDY back to Australia twice during this 5-month time. The family and I returned back to Australia in APR98.

Rowlett, TX JAN87-MAR90

Had a great time being a ham here. Still had the Icom IC-735 HF Transceiver. Installed in the backyard a Butternut HF-2V 40/80m Vertical with an elevated feedpoint about 7 feet above the ground with elevated radials running out to the 6-foot wooden fence. Then getting the bright idea of phasing, bought another HF-2V installing it like the first one and about 32 feet north from the first one - which would make it a half-wave spacing for broadside or in-line on 40m, and a quarter-wave spacing for cardiod on 80m. Somehow, with getting married and then preparation for heading Australia for work, getting the phasing network done and installed for both antennas was never completed.

Garland, TX APR84-SEP86

Made my first CW contact here as a new Technician having upgraded from a Novice license at one of the first VE sessions with the Dallas Amateur Radio Club (DARC). Went to the VE session with several other guys that I got know there at work. I tested for my Extra in SEP86 some months after getting my Advance license receiving my Extra license from the FCC on 01OCT86.

Bought the Icom IC-735 shortly after it was introduced - maybe around AUG84. Used an Astron RS-7A Power Supply with it at first only pushing maybe 10-20 Watts on CW. Had to wait about 2-3 months to get the 735's matching PS-55 Power Supply. Really got into CW at this time too after making my very first rough and quite nervious CW QSO on 40m with N5IGE from Arkansas on 06SEP85.

Modified/updated the 735 about 6 months after getting it (as the 90-day warranty was over, ordered the 735's Service Manual soon after buying the radio, and I was an EW hardware design engineer working with RF at work every day):

  • installed a better aftermarket AM filter (as I was into SWL then too and listened to a lot of it when just working on stuff)

  • installed an FL-44A SSB filter replacing the stock board-mounted filter by mounting the FL-44A filter with a new custom brass bracket between the RF board and the front panel board (there was just enough space to get the filter mounted in there) and then using short pieces of RG178 to electrically connect the filter back to the board. This was a really good improvement for the radio, one not really appreciated until after getting to Australia some years later. The selectivity was just so much better....

  • aligned radio's internal adjustments so the front panel's RF Power slider control when at the bottom, the radio had 5W output. With the slider at the top, then the radio had 100W output. This made it quite easy to drop down to QRP level.

Put up a Butternut "Butterfly" antenna for 20m-10m. What a pain that was to get somewhat near right! Never could get the thing to tune right on each band with the 12m portion in there - so, the 12m part was "deleted". I had that thing up and down so many times in trying to get it right. I was just using SWR then too. Of course the tuning was way off when close to the ground when trying to tune it, then be off somewhere else after getting it raised back up. Just a pain in general. Finally got it "close enough" and left it at that. Sold the "Butterfly" when selling the house in OCT86.

Old Equipment

Some of the old equipment that I had in the past, but no longer have...

BC-348G Receiver

The BC-348G was gifted to me from a friend that I worked with in the late'70s and early '80's in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Jack Cook, KA9BXQ (SK). Don't recall when or where Jack got it, but he thought that it would be great with me. It worked fairly well when firing it up once in a while in the '80's. It was in storage for many years in teh '90's and in to the "00's when still overseas. With all of the old electrolytic capacitors and such, I just did not want to apply power to it later on. It was sold to a collector at the Berryville, VA Hamfest in 2015(?).

Kenwood R-5000 Communications Receiver

Bought the Kenwood R-5000 (with the VHF Adapater) from a dear friend, John Goda, VK8HF (SK in JUN19). I have been in to Shortwave Listening (SWL) for many years. This was a great radio for me keeping up with all of my morning and evening SWL favorites. With more radios than needed coupled with the decline in SWL broadcasters, the R-5000 was reluctantly sold several years ago, probably around 2016.