My Sorry Story: I blew out my left knee while coaching volleyball at Culver High Fall 2000. After the surgery, I was laying around in the recliner, semi-immobilized and tired of cheap (but entertaining) science fiction novels, and started messing around on the internet looking for a better shortwave radio (the old JVC from college finally gave up the ghost). While browsing, I bumped into a number of ham radio sites. I had the time, so I decided to just go ahead and study for the thing that I'd held in the back of my mind since Cub Scouts: a ham radio license.
I got the two books on ham radio that are in the Madras, Oregon Library. I brought a little radio and electronics knowledge to the table (one of my grandfathers was a ham, W7GER sk. Also, as a kid, if it was electrical and could be taken apart, I usually did just that!). One book -- Harry Helms' "All About Ham Radio" -- really filled me in and helped me to pass my Tech and General tests. I passed the 5 wpm Morse test about four weeks later. Hell, I'm dyslexic, so if I can do it, you can, too! Here's how I got the code down (software INCLUDED). And yes, K7CCC is a vanity call. Click here to see its history; e-mail me if you really need a detailed explanation of why I chose this call.
Gear and Modes
Here's my trusty ol' ICOM IC-751, which is used mainly for digital (I'm pro-Hellschreiber and I operate!) and SSB voice. An old Hitachi laptop drives a HamComm modem or a homebrew soundcard interface. I'll also use this radio for the five 60-meter channels and a little AM,. No menus - just knobs and buttons and switches! A Dentron Super Tuner takes care of the lousy 30 feet of wire I have strung up around the eaves of the duplex.
Ah, the Swan Cygnet! My first HF radio! I picked this up for $85 and worked all kinds of DX on a pitiful longwire antenna. It's got everything you need: AF gain, RF gain, mic gain, and a Pi Network. It'll put out 150 watts PEP 3,500 kc to 29.7 Mc and the audio is surprizingly pretty darn good. Inject some carrier, and it's a passible AM rig, too. Plus, I can actually understand the circuits and the components are big and easy to handle. I still use it for late-night 40 and 80 meter net check-ins. As my friend Stu says, "It's an honest radio."
This is the ICOM IC-706MkII. I sold my Johnson Ranger and Knight-Kit T-60 to get it, as I've become pretty fond of 6 meters lately. Although, it's hard to play with "the big boys" on 6 when you only have a dipole... I'm not too thrilled with the nested menus, but I got used to it. Works "fine business," as they say.
Other gear: A Kenwood TH-F6A tri-band HT for 2m, 1.25m and 70cm FM, a tank of a Radio Shack HTX-202 2m HT, an Azden 2000 does 2m packet, and on HF there's a QRP IC-703 and a Swan 200-SS. Gear I have Used but No Longer Own: Knight-Kit T-60, Radio Shack HTX-10 (surprisingly good!), Kenwood TS-520S, Knight-Kit T-150, Swan 350, Johnson Ranger (bought from Riley Hollingsworth!)
My E-mail . . . plus! . . . 10 Great Amateur Radio Links Click here to send me an e-mail!
1) eHam.net -- One of the most informative, most civil, most timely amateur radio places on the internet. A wealth of resources, including user product reviews, news bulletins, forums, chats, advice, etc. I'm here every morning, along with that first cup of Joe.
2) KU4AY's Antenna Page -- An outstanding antenna page, with a stack of links to take you to a number of very good sites. Among them are a number of pages that feature low-cost wire antennas for many bands. If nothing else, check out WB1GFH's $4 Special antenna - his homepages are a riot, too!
3) The AM Window -- A one-stop-shop for the ham radio AMer, packed with information and links.
4) Open Amateur Repeater Database -- ArtSci Publishing updates this DB daily. Travelling? You need to stop here first! Covers U.S. and Canadian repeaters 10 meters through 70 cm.
5) Worldwide HamCall Callsign Server -- Buck has callsign information on close to 1.7 million hams all over the world.
6) eQSL.cc -- Let's face it, this is the future of QSL cards. An excellent system, outstanding security and very educational.
7) Grid Square Conversion -- If you know the latitude and longitude of a place, this AMSAT site will convert it to a grid square for you. If all you have is an address, MapBlast can give you the lat/long.
8) Knight Kit Bulletin Board -- Discussion of all kinds of Knight Kit equipment, not just amateur radio rigs. Also, a link to Bryan's main Knight and general ham pages.
9) The Wayback Machine -- A very concise - yet complete - history of ham radio in the United States. The series covers spark-gap communication, the Titanic disaster, the Blue Card campaign, Maj. Armstrong, VHF and propogation experiments, licensing and calls, and a lot of other stuff. VERY good for 1900-1960 timeframe. This link takes you to the TOC of 33 episodes!.
10) AC6V's Massive Links Pages -- More freakin' links than you can shake a stick at! If it ain't here or directly above, it aint.
By trade, I'm a writer. What that means is that I'd be a starving, panhandling poet if I didn't have a real job, which is mercifully supplied by The Dalles Chronicle: I'm the sports editor of our little daily here. I used to play the guitar in rock bands in Portland, and I pulled the plug on a 10-year career coaching high school volleyball in Oregon and Washington in 2001. I'm big into vintage 8-bit computers -- especially Commodore and Apple -- and for 21st century operation, I prefer an Apple iMac. I like pizza, beer, silent movies, music and books with soul. But then, all this, and more (!), can be found on my main homepages: HERE.
Greg the Bunny was one of the funniest shows on TV. He was *WAY* better in his Independent Film Channel days, before he got "networked" by FOX. Check out his 'unoffical' website HERE:
Advice and Disclaimer: Best viewed at 800x600, but that's your call . . . A HUGE thanks to QSL.NET for hosting these pages: Awesome! . . . Neither His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, nor the estates of Charles Schultz or Charles Chaplin, have given permission for the use of the opening images above. But I don't really think they'd mind, considering the context and all. Should that not be the case, send me an e-mail and I'll change the images.