The first shack, located at my father's house, included a YAESU FT-DX-401 transceiver, a Heathkit SB-200 linear amplifier and a 3 element triband yagi at 12 meter high, plus dipoles on 40/80 meters. No VHF rig at the time. This setup was used to work my first 200+ countries and so earn DXCC and WAS. I still have the Yaesu rig, adn it works like new after all these years. It was built in 1973.
In 1991 (after XYL "authorization"), my "back to the air" station was based on a second hand Kenwood TS-440S, the old Heathkit SB-200 linear and the 3 element tribander on a 20 meter self supporting tower with dipoles for 40 and 80m. On VHF/UHF for DX spotting, I had (and still do) a Kenwood pair of tweens,TS-631A/TS-731A and a Comet vertical antenna. Shortly after setting the new station, the Kenwood TS-440S was replaced by a YAESU FT-1000D (1992).
The old Heathkit linear was replaced by a younger (but not much) DRAKE L-4B, bought from a ham who NEVER used it since he bought it new in 1978, and added some support equipment like a MFJ-989C antenna tuner, a Kantronics Kam Plus TNC for digital modes, and a home assembled PC which is constantly updated up to its current configuration based on a Pentium IV - 1 GHz - 256 Mb RAM.
In 1992, right in time to finish
my 5BDXCC, the antenna system turned into three self supporting
towers, home-brewed monobanders, with 5 el. on 10m., 4 el. on 15,
4el. on 20m., a brazilian made 4 elements 40m yagi. on a
10m. boom, 80m. dipole, and a Cushcraft A3WS for the WARC bands.
After a very pleasant time
working DX stations on the WARC bands, 1993 brought me the 12 and
17m endorsements for the 5BDXCC.
While waiting to reach the "100" level on those bands, I had some activity on the 6m band, using an ICOM IC-726 loaned by ZP5ZR-Gary (SK), my elmer on 50Mhz, with a home-brewed 5 el. yagi, based on the Cushcraft A50-5S design.
Later, the Icom was replaced by a YAESU FT-680R, which was previously own by ZP6CW, a top six meter operator and now is my monitoring and second option rig on the "magic band". As many as 75 entities (countries) were worked with this 6m setup before the solar cycle declined to an almost absolute silence.
Some SSTV and a lot
of RTTY have been the main activities until 1998 when the 6m band
recovered much of its charm. Several homebrewed antennas were
used during those years until the last project which was the then current system.
A Ten-Tec 1208 6m band transverter was added to the YAESU FT-1000D, and later a MIRAGE A1015G amplifier (1999). The transverter is a very nice and "CHEAP" piece of equipment for not so modern radios, without 6m as most of the newer rigs, and in combination with the FT-1000D resources, this was a very hard to beat setup.
By now, after very good propagation days on 50 Mhz - 6m band during 1999 thru 2001, and a hard battle trying to get all cards on hand, 6m DXCC was completed and cards mailed to the ARRL which returned the award as a new year gift, besides turning my 7BDXCC into his bigger brother 8BDXCC (6-10-12-15-17-20-40-80).
|The operating position with all equipment||The SIX meters setup||The VHF-UHF and packet setup||The HF power area and rotor controllers||The cables behind scene (messy ?)|
Antenna system was based on a mixture of comercial and homebrewed monoband yagis, designed with Brian Beezley, K6STI's YO software.
Most of homebrewed antennas have been built with the valuable help of Laca (ZP5CGL), a fine Dxer and very good friend, who gave me a lot of ideas and actual help at his metal-works facilities during these years. He also built two of my towers. (click on picture to see a bigger one)
|TOWER 1: self
standing 20 meters of height, seen before 2m yagi
|TOWER 2: self
standing 12 meters of height|
|TOWER 3: self
standing 8 meters of height, on a second floor balcony|
As many others, I had my
"close-encounter" with a wind storm on April-96, which
left my antenna system "needing some maintenance".
Fortunately, only the steel pipe and the 40m. yagi boom resulted damaged. Antennas the day after.
BACK TO THE AIR (2012)
After a six year "vacation" off the air, due to a mix of health problems (caused by my diabetes type II) and excesive workload, in mid 2012 I went back-to.-the.air, with some minor changes. The YAESU FT-1000D which has served me for exactly 20 years without a single glitch, was replaced by a KENWOOD TS-590. Some fellows don't understand this decision, but it's quite simple from my point of view. Besides being an old rig with the risk of getting spares, and being surpassed by modern DSP technologies, my main interests on ham radio since many years ago, have been RTTY and JT65HF, and with the TS-590 it's incredibly easy to hookup, set and use all digital modes and CW, which I'm working quite regularly now, in my attempt to complete the hundred countries and get the 30 meters endorsement for my current 8 bands DXCC. That simple.
As for the antennas, I added a 2 elements (coil loaded) yagi for 30 meters. The long boom (35 foot) 6 meters yagi was replaced with a slightly smaller 6 elements 7 m boom, which is an optimzed design (by myself with MMANA) or the Cushcraft A50-6S I had sometime ago, with a DK7ZB 28 ohms feeding system. The Cushcraft A3WS for 12-17m have been replaces with a dual interlaced monobanders yagi, a desing of my own with MMANA, with a 6 meters boom, 3 elements on 12 plus 3 elements on17 meters, with a direct 50 ohms feeding open sleeve system. It has a remarkable efficiency.
Towers are the same, with the exception of my third tower which was dismantled when a small neighboring building was built, and the tower was too close to "the border".. The secondary six meter antenna on it was put aside and expects better days on the magic band. See pictures below.
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