I QSL in the same manner as recieved. No SASE needed, SAE appreciated. LoTW, direct, bureau. I am a firm believer that a QSL is the final courtesy and if it gets to the point that I can't afford to QSL I will shut down my station and no longer operate ham radio. I hate it when I talk to someone on say 6 meter in a rare grid and they say they don't QSL. They are not hams, just CBers with no sense of the ethics of Ham Radio.
First licensed as a Novice in March of 1979 as KA4HEP. Two months later in May of 1979 passed the Technician test and in June of the same year passed the General test. If they had given the code tests from slowest to fastest I would have taken the 20 wpm code after taking the 13 wpm code but things didn't work that way back then. I had gained code speed by operating every spare minute I had up to the time I took the 13 wpm test and didn't really know how fast I could copy but was waiting on characters during the 13 wpm test. In June of 1980 I passed the Advanced exam and changed my call to KC4IH. I consider getting phone priviledges on HF one of the worst things that ever happened since I figured I was above working CW.
My Elmer was N4ZV, Bart, who I grew up with. Over the years he must have made me 6 or 8 CW practice tapes but, until the last one I never really tried hard enough, or had enough motiviation to learn the code. When I asked him for the last tape he refused, saying that he had made me so many in the past with no results. Well this time I WANTED A LICENSE so two weeks later I called him and told him I was ready to take the test. He was blown away and said, "There's no way you are ready to take the test!" But I assured him I was confident that I could pass it. He said for me to copy what he would send me over the phone and see if I was ready. (He lived 100 miles away.) He sent me about ten minutes of code and then I read it back to him word for word. That blew his mind. After that I took the test and passed with flying colors and that was my beginning in ham radio! That was early in 1979.
In September of 2005 I passed the Extra class exam at the Shelby NC hamfest and later applied for a vanity call, WS4V which I hold now. During my early years of amateur radio I concentrated on DX and have worked 309 countries and 307 confirmed through the ARRL. I'd have more if FT5GA would have logged my call correctly AFTER repeating it twice correctly during the contact. FT5GA sent me a QSL card after the emails and confirmed the contact. There is a DX God! I would still like to complete 5BDXCC and work at it ocassionally during contests as well as chase all time new countries. I only run 100 watts on HF it is hard to get 100 countries on 80 and 40 meters with104 countries confirmed on 40 and 70+ on 75/80. Not bad for 100 watts!
. At this update I have enough cards in hand for 40 meter DXCC (120 countries worked), I have well passed the 100 countries on 40 meters so 80 is the only band that I need for 5BDXCC!!!
Now my interests have turned to VHF and UHF weak signal work and enjoy home-building antennas for 6, 2, and 432. Although I'm not on 1296 I do build antennas for 1296 and sell a few at hamfests. They are 26 element with elements welded to aluminum boom and are built to stand the test of time. Although 6 meters is a great band I wish more people would use 2 meters as their listening band since I used to routinely hear station from New England on two meters but now with everyone concentration on 6 meters we are missing a lot of openings on2 and 432 in the process. I've worked many grids in NE during contests but always have to switch from 6 meters to2 or 432 to get the QSO. Back 20 years ago when 2 meters was the band of choice I stumbled across many station on 2 meters randomly listening but it seldom happens anymore. The new hams don't realize how often 2 meters is open. Although I live about 400 miles from the Baltimore/DC area I can work into that area on 432 any time of the day if anyone is listening my direction. I havea horizon of 0 degrees in that direction and with the homebrew antenna for 432 and 50 watts it's a slam dunk. (about 16db gain, 1200 watts ERP) I live about 150 miles away from theOak RidgeTN and used to have a sked every Saturday morning with a ham down there. Never a problem working him!
For the last 12 years of my working career I was the engineering supervisor of a group of television stations and hold a General Radiotelephone Operators license (formerly called First Class). I retired in 1991 after to many weeks of 60-80 hours a week. During my TV years I lost interest in ham radio but after being away from TV for some years the interest has come back. During that time I didn't use ham radio, TV and ham radio just had to much in common to enjoy either one of them.
My new shack is finally finished and I love it. No more cramped space tucked away in the corner of a bedroom! Now I have a 12' X 24' room in the basement to enjoy my hobby complete with two 7' work bench on the facing wall. Plenty of seating and a big screen TV in case there is a Nascar race on or whatever.I'm seriously thinking about a Yaesu FT-950 (finally bought a new FT-950 in December of 2011) and have decided to keep theTS-2000 for HF since it has 2 meter and 432 SSB. Sounds like a much better radio with the new software mods. The TS-2000 lacks a bunch in the HF arena, even compared to the TS-930SAT. The 930 hears much better than the 2000. I'll keep the 2000 for HF backup as well as 2 meters and 432. It works pretty good for those bands as well as 6 meter meteor scatter when I get back on that mode as well as the SAT tracking (If the Eagle ever flies, which is looking less likely every day). By the way I love the FT-950, what a great radio for the price! The DSP is better, lots more control of bandwidth and IF shift helps a lot. For Christmas my better half bought me a RigExpert Plus that was on sale and I have cables for both radios and a DB25 switch to switch between them. Handy!
Currently my equipment is a Kenwood TS-2000, Yaesu FT-950 (I sold the TS-930SAT),Yaesu FT-7, and a Kenwood TS-50S. I have two towers, on one tower is a Mosley TA-33 @ 55 feet, homebrew Carolina Windom @50 feet through an LDG AT-11MP Autotuner, Diamond 4 ele for 6 meters, homebrew 18 element yagi for 432, and a 13B2 for 2 meter SSB. All the VHF/UHF antennas are on another tower and are between 52 and 62 feet above the ground. I live on a hill with the ground sloping down in all directions except due South and the horizon is only 6 degrees in that direction. I have worked a lot of stations on 6 meter meteor scatter and found that a fun project. It is actually much easier than I first expected using WSJT software, running about 50 watts. The limiting factor with meteor scatter is there are so few station on that mode.
I have learned to love BPSK31, a super efficient mode. I need to upgrade my WSJT software but the old version works so well I just haven't. WSPR is another mode that can tell you a lot about HF propagagtion and use it some times to see what is going on in the HF world. You can learn a lot from it and I wish more people would try it, they would be hooked.
Wallpaper: DXCC, WAS, WPX, WAZ, VA QSO Party 2009, 2011 & 2012 Plaque for digital mode (currently all-time high score. Didn't participate in 2010). I have a ham friend, WK4W who is going for the plaque in the VA QSO Party un 2013 so I guess I'll stay off the air.
My DXing has taken a CW turn and have 310 countries confirmed with the ARRL, with much help from CW. 80% of my new countries in the last 50 or so have been CW. What can I say, It works! I have 313 countries confirmed as of March 29, 2013 and all of the contact were with 100 watts or less ! Just worked Spratly Island on 17 meters & Tutalu on 10 meters with 50 watts! On 10, 15, and 17 meters I have FR getting into the computer, locking it up so I have to reduce power. I'm working on 40 (107 confirmed) and 80 (70 confirmed) to try and hit the magic 100 mark for 5BDXCC. CW makes getting countries on 40 and 80 much easier with 100 watts. Long live CW!
The band conditions on 80 meters have really sucked this past winter so I have not increased my 80 meter numbers except for about 8 countries. I don't know if it is the new noise that has popped up this winter here or there has been so little activity on 80 this year. Looking at the spots it appears that more people are on 160 meters than on 80. Maybe next winter will be better and I will reach 100 countries confirmed on that band and 5BDXCC will finally be mine. Like I said before, 100 watts on 80 is a challenge in itself.
Good DX to all of you!
Ham Picnic back in the 1970s showing local hams including (L to R) Rhonda Chit Khin, Ron Chit Khin (NM4L, Terry Surface (N4IQV), Judy Surface (N4IQW), Linda Sutherland, me Ken Sturgill (KC4IH at the time, now WS4V), Gary Sutherland (KM4X), Dr. Ed Walker (SK), Steve and wife from Florida (can't remember his call), the next two are unknown, Dick Moore (KC4GF) SK, and Jim Ratcliff, (K4DHY) and his wife.
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