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N8CD USA flag USA

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I was originally licensed at age 12 in 1979 as KA8HJN. I discovered ham radio via a curiosity about Morse code. My first rig was a new Heathkit HW-8 I got for Christmas while I was 12 years old, and I built it with a soldering gun. When I upgraded, I changed my call to N8CID, and when the vanity call program came out I dropped the "I" to become N8CD.

My ham activities have come and gone through phases of life, and have included repeater building, direction finding, 2m & 70cm ragchewing, QRP, portable, packet, various satellites (I loved AO-10 until it finally died), HF CW, SSB, and PSK, and more.

I upload to LoTW and eQSL at least every couple of weeks. I also like to send and receive QSL cards for anyone that is interested.

These days I use either a Yaesu FTDX-1200 or an Icom IC-7000 with an Ameritron AL-811H amp into a 43 foot ground mounted vertical HF (see pics below), and run SSB, some JT65-HF and PSK31, and a little CW. The microphone is a dynamic element from an old Radio Shack / Realistic stage microphone stuffed into a really cool Kent microphone body. That's fed through a PreSonus Tube PREv2 preamp where the 12AX7 warms up the audio a little before putting it into the FTDX-1200. There's also a Heil Proset HC5 that is used sometimes.

I'm mobile on 6m, 2m, 70cm with an FT-8900, a Yaesu FTM-400, and an Icom ID-880H in the car (I run 2 out of the 3 and trade them in and out of the car) for FM, Yaesu Fusion, and DStar.  Portable I use an ID-31A for DStar and an FT1D for Fusion and FM. I'm doing a little dabbling with DMR also, with a Connect Systems CS700, and am on the wait list for the CS7000 multi-mode digital portable that is forthcoming.

An Linux PC runs FL-Digi, JT65-HF with Wine, and CQRLog for the ham radio duties. I don't have anything against Windows, but open source software and Linux seem to fit into the spirit of ham radio better than Windows. I use it wherever I can in the hobby. I'm currently using Linux Mint 17.1, but switch around to other distros when one catches my eye.

I've been in the IT field most of my career, and currently work in the IT security field.

I look forward to seeing you on the bands!

 

Here's a couple pictures of the shack. All the antennas run in through the board on the wall, which has well grounded lightning protection and grounding antenna switches on every run.

Here's the shack as of March 2015

   

My HF antenna for 160m-6m is an LDG S9v43 , which is their 43' vertical antenna. There are 16 radials (yes, I know that's not enough) in the ground about an inch under the surface ranging from 150 feet to 30 feet in length, and a couple of 150' long radials about 3 feet off the ground following the fence to improve 160m performance.

 

I made a matching network based on the excellent plans from AD5X, which allows the antenna to tune nicely on 80m and 160m. The matching network is switched in and out of the circuit remotely using relays and a switch in the shack. The antenna is fed with about 100 feet of LMR400 direct burial cable through a 4:1 unun from Balun Designs.

 

The setup works surprisingly well, especially on 20 and 40 meters, and being slim and green it blends into the landscape fairly well.

 

 

How well does the matching network work on 80m and 160m?  See the graphs below (made withOUT a tuner!)

The network brings the antenna well within the range to use with most rig auto-tuners across all of 80 and 160.

There's also a short (about 25 feet) free standing tower that holds a few other antennas

 

Here's a recent project I put together - a CW memory keyer using an Arduino Nano board and plans and software from K3NG. His project is fantastic! I built it into an old Heathkit HD-1410 keyer case to give it a vintage look. I'm (obviously) not a metal worker, but in the end it turned out pretty good.

 

 

 

Be sure to check out the small club we have in the area which runs a low profile DStart repeater and an APRS node.  More info is here: http://ke8abm.club/

 

7476803 Last modified: 2016-07-31 13:30:44, 7013 bytes

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