Heathkit SB101
Heathkit SB101

Ham Radio

KB6HCN

Drake TR3
Drake TR3

Pictures

 
Station Tour
(a tad out of date...)
 

ARRL HQ Visit
Aug 12, 2002

Antenna Erection Party
July 4, 2000

Antenna Aligning
June 26, 2000


My Station

Station in the attic

My station is situated in the attic above my garage. When I realized I had an 8 foot clearance in there, I decided to floor it over and use it for storage and ham radio. It's proven to be quite handy, though it does get warm in the summer. Perhaps one day I'll insulate and sheetrock it as well.


Heathkit SB101

Most of my equipment is pretty old. My primary HF rig is a Heathkit SB101, donated by friend Roger Petersen. (Many thanks, Roger!) That was, in fact, the catalyst that got me back in to HF. That, and my friend from Hawaii, Jeremy, getting his Extra ticket and cajoling me in to getting active once again.


Drake TR3

My original HF station was a Drake TR3. I got that soooo long ago that I probably couldn't figure out even the year if I tried. Maybe one day I'll find the receipt. :-) Anyway, I got it when I was a Technician and used it solely for CW work. I was running naked in to a dipole and was able to make contacts as far away as Florida, but never anything exotic. Still, a nice solid rig until the power supply caps failed from old age. I have yet to replace them, so it pretty much sits looking pretty in my shack.


Hammarlund SP600

I have several other HF rigs as well. Back in my college days, my roommates pooled together, bought two Hammarlund SP600s and used parts of one to restore the other. This was terribly cool, as I had found out that was the receiver my father (W1OUU) had used when he first moved to California, long before he became a silent key. Mine is in pristine condition and continues to function great.

I have a Johnson Viking Ranger that needs some work. The fellow who donated it to me had ripped out the modulator section (he was an avid CW fan and figured if he didn't use voice, neither should anyone else). I have all the tubes and the tech manual, so I figured I could try to piece it back together. Unfortunately, my son found his way in to the shack one day and had a great time streching all the air-wound coils out to see how long they were. That will be more challanging to repair, methinks. Meanwhile, it sits on my bench looking pretty.


GAP Titan DX

The only HF antenna I currently have erected is a GAP Titan DX vertical. While none of my gear is capable of covering all the bands the antenna does (80m through 10m, including WARC bands) it functions reasonably well where I can use it. I'm currently having trouble matching it on 40m and 80m, but my thought is that it's too close to the roof to get a good match. Plans are to raise it another 6 feet or so and see how it does.

As for the shorter bands, I have a Kenwood dual-band UHF/VHF rig. It's on a mobile mounting bracket so I can use it either in my shack or in my car. I tend to use it more from the shack these days, since my commute is all of five minutes. It currently feeds a multi-element yagi that points to a UHF repeater that covers Sacramento, where my UHF buds live.

I have several HTs as well: a Yeasu FT708 (70cm), Yeasu FT209 (2m) and an old 70cm Icom whose model number eludes me at the moment.

License History

I am a licensed Extra Class amateur radio operator. I was originally licensed as a Novice back in 1985 and promptly upgraded to Technician. At the time, I could reliably do about 10 wpm code, but never practiced enough to get past the plateau to the 13 wpm required to get my General ticket. I stayed that way for fifteen years.

In April, 2000, the FCC restructured the amateur radio licensing system and did away with the 13 wpm code requirement altogether. My Technician license was old enough that I got credit for the written element of the General license (back then, the only difference between Technician and General was the code test). So on May 16th, my friend Jeremy (NH6Z) and made our way to VEC test session and I did a paper upgrade to get my General. Jeremy, meanwhile, had been studying and took and passed the Extra class written.

Well, I couldn't let things stay that way! I got the book out and started studying myself. By the end of the summer, I felt comfortable enough to take the test. I cruised through the sample tests at www.qrz.com with passing scores. Unfortunately, timing of test sessions collided with vacation plans, then school had started, and what not. It was not until October 18 that I could take the test. I passed, missing four questions, and finally received my Extra ticket, the pinnacle of amateur radio!


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