My name is Val Phoenix. I am a second generation ham. My father, George Phoenix W2BLA, was licensed way back during the WWII years. First a professional musician, he turned to electronics when the bottom fell out of the Big Band era.
I, on the other hand, first became licensed as a Novice (WN2QZS) in 8th or 9th grade, and then upgraded to Technician (WB2QZS - this call has since been reissued) in the '70s. I forgot to renew my license and so dropped out of ham radio for many years, but eventually retook the test for Tech Plus, then General, Advanced, and Extra.
I have a BA in Anthropolgy and an MS in TESOL (Applied Linguistics), both from the State University of New York at Albany. My day job is teaching the English Language to international students at the English Language Institute, University of Houston-Downtown. I'm also a musician, a flamenco guitarist, but that's another story. Click here if you are interested in flamenco.
I still have my father's original station equipment. A Heathkit AT-1 CW Transmitter, AC-1 Antenna coupler, and AR-2 General Coverage Receiver. I did a lot of 2 meter AM phone as a teenager Novice and Technician using the Heathkit "Twoer." I also bought the "Sixer" but before I was finished building it, VHF changed over to FM and those rigs were dinosaurs. Several years ago, I acquired a Heathkit HW 104 SSB/CW transceiver (1975 vintage). This is a rig I'd like to use, but the final amp transistors are shot. Repairing it is not high on the priority list when the transistors are now $50 apiece and there are 4 of them. That's more than I paid for the whole radio!
Present gear now includes the SG 2000 Multi-Mission HF Transceiver. As the name implies, it was not designed for ham radio, but for commercial and military uses. It does quite well in the ham bands for me, however, since I have no interest in contests or chasing DX. I don't need all of the ham-oriented bells and whistles that other hams find useful. The SG 2000 puts out 150 watts and feeds into the SG 230 Antenna Smartuner, which then feeds a 65 foot long wire. This rig was intended to be used by a friend of mine as the unit of choice on his 42 foot yacht. Before it was installed, he sold the yacht, and donated the SG 2000 and Smartuner to my shack. A great hand-me-down, indeed, for my needs. In fact, almost everything in the shack is recycled.
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