After a half century in ham radio, my interest today has grown toward forging the future of the Amateur Radio Service through modernization of our HF communication systems and methods. I believe in the importance of hams embracing new technologies, especially in HF. Miniaturization, mobility and portability, interoperability, interconnectivity, as well as digitization of signals and selective calling systems are playing a big part in our future. HF is an extremely valuable resource at the core of ham radio.
I learned morse code at the age of 8 and built my first AM radio on a breadboard kit at 11, from a box of transistors and parts. After rewinding that radio's ferrite coil with hookup wire, in an attempt to tune in the marine radio band, I mysteriously picked up some hams talking on 80 meters AM instead! That piqued my interest, and I've been working in electronics and radio ever since.
Initially working for telecom networks and radio stations, my knowledge of electronics and science increased. But, what I really wanted to do, was to create products and invent new things. Eventually, I went into RF Engineering in Silicon Valley: designing pagers, cellphones, satellite gear, antennas, MRI machines, medical equipment, ionizing radiation metrology, telecom equipment, and flat panel displays.
Living in the age of great electronic advancements, I have been fortunate to experience a career which has spanned a huge technology range: waveguide, vacuum, transistors, germanium, silicon, gallium arsenide, selenium, alumina and ceramic substrates, laser, optical, superconductors, MEMS, MMICs, and integrated circuits.
But, as a corporate exec these days, I don't get as much time to do design engineering as I would like to. Ham radio provides an outlet for that spark of electronic creativity. HF still brings back that twinkle to my eyes that has kept my enthusiasm strong since childhood.
Working as an RF Designer, some of the more interesting projects involved designing antennas from concept to production for industrial and consumer products. Over the course of 50 years, I developed over a hundred antenna systems, feed systems, diplexers and duplexers for specific requirements, from LF (Low Frequency) to HF (High Frequency), VHF-UHF, and Microwave up to around 10 GHz.
For ham radio, I often use many different antennas. If you talked with me on HF recently, I probably worked you on my primary base station antenna, which is currently a BBTD (Broadband Butterfly Terminated Dipole antenna), of my own design.
About the BBTD Antenna. The BBTD (Broadband Butterfly Terminated Dipole) project has an SWR design goal of less than 2:1 from 1.8 MHz to 60 MHz. As built in 2016, the measured SWR is less than 1.5:1 over most of the design spectrum, easily fulfilling the requirements. It covers 160 meters through 6 meters continuously with no gaps. Fed with 50 ohm coax, a tuner is not needed. The radiation efficiency is about +2dB better than a conventional T2FD (Terminated 2-wire Folded Dipole) antenna. The radiation pattern is similar to a dipole of the same approximate dimensions. With good NVIS and regional performance below 9MHz, it also does fairly well with DX at 10MHz and above. My primary use of this BBTD antenna is for ALE Automatic Link Establishment, in which the instantaneous low SWR is important for rapid HF scanning response and selective calling. I also use the BBTD Antenna for SSB voice, CW, and a plethora of digital modes.
Micom 2R Ruggedized HF Transceiver
Bonnie Crystal KQ6XA | KQ6XA/BM Bike Mobile on HF SSB 18 MHz | KQ6XA/PM Death Valley
Bonnie Crystal KQ6XA on ALE HF SSB | Presenting paper on ALE for EMCOMM at GAREC | Antenna testing metrics
My first breadboard electronic kit, with european transistors, capacitors, and diodes, spring-loaded contacts in a pegboard configuration.
Ham Radio Interests
HF Interoperability Communications - Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) -International Frequency Coordination and Bandplanning - HF Portable - / Bicycle Mobile - / Pedestrian Mobile - RF and Radio Design - Antenna Design - Cave Radio - HF Digital/Analog Communications - HF Networking - HF Selcall
Operating Pedestrian Mobile HF on an island in San Francisco Bay with fellow HFpacker Ken WB6MLC/PM
Founder of: HFpack Organization for HF Portable
Founded in 2000. About 10,000 members worldwide.
The first HFpack Pedestrian Mobile Event at Dayton in 2003