My Station and Ham Activities

My station is rarely this neat and organized!

For HF QSOs, I’m using an Icom IC-7610, usually running 100 watts for SSB and CW, or 20-75 watts for digital modes, into a MyAntennas end-fed halfwave 8010 antenna. I’m amazed at the contacts I’ve been able to make with 100 watts or less into wire antennas. If I need additional power, I also have an Elecraft KPA-500 amp, but I use it very rarely. I recently started focusing on 6 meters, using the IC-7610 with a M2 6M HO Loop antenna, tuned for the low end of the band for digital modes. It’s mounted above my roof. It’s not ideal, but it’s a start and has worked well during several 6 meter openings. I am primarily operating FT8 on 50.313, but also interested in other modes.

IC-7610 with a busy waterfall on 20 meters
Diamond X500A antenna for 2M/70cm and M2 HO Loop for 6M. The apex of the roof is about 30 feet above ground level.
You can’t really see it, but far end of this end-fed halfwave antenna is in the top of the oak tree at the back of the yard.
If you look closely you’ll see the far end of the antenna wire to the left of the tall tree in the middle. There’s also a pretty rainbow!

I recently built a go-box with an Icom IC-7300. For portable operations I use Alpha Antenna HD-FMJ 6-80m, Wolf River Coils Take It Along, and Chameleon EMCOMM III portable antennas for HF.. 

Go-Box with IC-7300, MFJ-939I tuner, MFJ power supply, and speaker in a 4U rack case
IC-7300 Go-Box set up for tailgate portable operation
Alpha Antenna HD-FMJ set up for portable operation

For VHF and UHF, I primarily use an Icom IC-9700. I have started using FT8 on 2m, but with a vertical antenna I have limited capability for weak signal VHF.

I also have a Yaesu FT-991A, which also serves as a backup HF/VHF/UHF rig. I use Kenwood THD-74AYaesu FT3DR, and Anytone AT-D878UVII Plus handheld transceivers. I use openSPOT 3 and ZumSpot MMDVMs for DMR, D-Star and Fusion. I also use the VHF/UHF radios to participate in local 2m nets. In my truck, I have a Kenwood TM-D710G.

I recently added the IC-9700 to the shack.
FT3DR, TH-D74, and AT-D878UV handheld transceivers

I also have an Icom IC-705 that I have started using for QRP and portable operations.

IC-705 operating outdoors
IC-705 operating indoors
A closer look at the FT3DR. I use it with the ZumSpot MMDVM to talk on YSF reflectors
The Kenwood TM-D710G in my truck

One of my favorite activities is working HF digital modes, especially to hunt DX, and I’m been active from 160m to 6m using FT8, FT4, JT65, JT9, PSK31/63/125 and RTTY. For FT8 and FT4, I use and highly recommend WSJT-X and JTAlert. I also use HamSpots and PSKReporter for spotting. For PSK and RTTY, I use Ham Radio Deluxe or fldigi. I use a program called NMEATime2 with a GlobalSat BU-353-S4 USB GPS Receiver to synchronize my PC clock to the time from GPS satellites. 

I am new to CW, having completed the CWops CW Academy Level 1 course in 2018. To send CW, I use UR5CDX CT599  and Magnakeyer paddles, with a K1EL WKUSB WinKeyer. I also use MRP40 to help me copy those lightning fast senders (and by lightning fast, I mean anything sent over about 15 wpm).

UR5CDX CT599 paddle. (I need a new callsign plate!)

I occasionally experiment with WSPR using ZachTek WSPR Desktop Transmitters and a SOTABEAMS WSPRlite.  Both are cool little gadgets that transmit up to a 200mw WSPR signal as a way to check antenna performance. I let them run occaisionally on HF bands 80m to 6m to check propagation and see how well my antennas are working. If you see my callsign on WSPR, please send me an email to let me know. I like to experiment with SDR and Raspberry Pi computers for various radio applications. If you’re interested in using the Raspberry Pi for ham radio, I highly recommend videos by KM4ACK on YouTube.

I have participated casually in a few contests, to include ARRL DX, ARRL VHF, Field Day, CQ WW DX and WPX, and a variety of QSO parties. I’m looking forward to more contests and QSO parties, and can hopefully improve my scores. 

I thoroughly enjoy DXing, and like to chase awards. I have been fortunate enough to complete 5BDXCC and 5BWAS with several endorsements. I still need Hawaii for WAS on 160m. It may be a while before I reach that goal. If it was easy it wouldn’t be as fun or rewarding! I also completed VUCC for 50 MHz. I would like to thank the many hams around the world who confirmed our QSOs so I could apply for the awards.

VUCC Award as of May 2020. 2020 was a good Es season, and I confirmed over 300 grids.
6m grids worked as of 05-05-2022

My future goals include improving my antennas, especially for 160m and 6m. I would also like to do more portable operations, and activate some rare counties for the Georgia QSO Party.

Page last updated: 05-05-2022

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