Dave Smith, W6DPS


Amateur Extra

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I got my first ham radio license, novice class WB7UHO, in 1977. I was using a Conar model 500 receiver and model 400 transmitter with 25 watts of CW plate input power. I used a 40 meter inverted-V that I put up to replace two of the guy wires on a tv antenna at 30 feet up. My license came in the mail in July of 1977, and I went to basic training (MCRD San Diego) in October of 1977. Between those times I worked two dozen countries and three dozen US states, and upgraded to General.

I upgraded to Extra just after they dropped the code requirement to 5 WPM. I enjoy HF from home and portable, mostly digital (PSK-31), and use VHF/UHF when mobile. One of my favorite annual events is Field Day, and generally operating from portable locations.

When my wife, Eilene W6EPS, got her license in 2002 she really did not like her sequential call sign (KG6NIG), so we got vanity calls with our initials. She mainly wanted to use a 2 meter HT while on Boy Scout outings. She was at base camp while I was hiking with our son's Boy Scout troop in the mountains near Idyllwild, and she could hear the leader at the front of the troop, and hear me at the back of the troop, but we couldn't hear each other, being around the mountain a bit. If she had her license she could have relayed messages, so she decided to take the plunge.

I have always liked to build some of my ham stuff, so I tend to spend as much time working on kits, and some homebrew gear of my own design, as I do operating. I have been writing brief articles on the stuff I build and putting them on my "Ham Projects" page.

Since I worked for Southern California Edison and retired after almost thirty years of service, I am a member of EARN, the Edison Amateur Radio Network, which is a club for SCE employees, retirees, and our families. EARN operates several repeaters, including linked 220 machines around southern California and a 440 machine on Santiago Peak.I frequently monitor the EARN 220 repeater on Ord Peak, about 25 miles from my house.

I am also a member of the Barstow Amateur Radio Club, and often monitor the 147.18 repeater.

The Raspberry Pi computer and Arduino microcontroller are my current toys. I will be adding project articles as I get things working. I do use the Raspberry Pi for nodes on my mesh network, but that is definitely not their only ham radio related use! More to come.

During testing of a balloon payload, I noticed I live in an APRS-free zone. I put up a fill in digi, but still don't get a reliable link to the APRS network. I will be adding an igate, probably based on a Raspberry Pi, in the near future to really fill in the gap.

Currently I have VHF and UHF antennas up, and a parallel dipole for 40 through 10 meters. Also a Broadband Hamnet node that I am experimenting with. Additional antennas, modes, and bands are in the works...

Model rocketry has been an interesting hobby since I was a boy scout, approximately 45 years ago. I have moved up to High Powered Rocketry, and launch with the Rocketry Organization of California (ROC). I get to as many monthly launches as I can. I am actively looking into use of APRS as a rocket tracker, along with ARDF techniques. As I get things working I will post articles on my Ham Project page.

Last updated 6/15/18