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KA2DEW USA flag USA

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Greetings de Tadd, KA2DEW


I live in Raleigh NC and work in Research Triangle Park, NC -- also called RTP.

I operate packet radio, FM and SSB on VHF, UHF, a little CW.  I ragchew on HF SSB though infrequently.

I am in the process of building and promoting the construction of a wide area "terrestrial" Amateur Radio packet network.  I created and maintain a web page on the subject: TARPN.NET

On HF I mostly use a Yeasu FTdx-3000 I bought in August 2013. It transmits at 100 watts. For HF antennas I have:

  • Alpha-Delta store bought Fan (parallel) dipole for 10 through 80
    I often listen on 28.450 or 29.6FM, 40m SSB
  • resonant length horizontal/flat40m dipole at between 6' and 15' (terrain is uneven)

The rest of my home station has

  • IC1210 for 23cm/1290Mhz FM,
  • IC448 for 440FM
  • Alinco DR235 for 220FM
  • IC2200 2mFM
  • Alinco DR06T for 6FM
  • TS742 for 6mFM, 2mFM, 70cm/440FM,
  • Icom IC910 on 2mSSB, 70cmSSB, 23cmSSB
  • Lafayette HA-460 8w AM on 50.4Mhz crystal controlled
  • packet radio with a pair of Vertex FTL1011 6m rigs, a pair of Kenwood TK762H 2m rigs, Kenwood TM401B 440, Kenwood TM3530.

I use three tri-band VHF/UHF verticals, 6m omni horizontal Squalo antenna and four fixed VHF/UHF yagis which cannot be rotated.   

My mobile station is

  • FT-8900R on 6m, 2m, 440Mhz FM
  • Alinco DR235 for 220Mhz FM

I'm a member of the Raleigh Amateur Radio Society and can be found on their 444.525 repeater.  I serve as the RARS new ham meeting MC and Elmer coordinator.  I'm also a member of NC Orange County Radio Amateurs and am often found on their 442.15Mhz FM repeater.  I'm an infrequent member of Johnson-county Amateur Radio Society and Franklin ARC.   I listen to 50.4am, 53.45, 146.52, 224.16, 444.525, and 145.45 when I'm in my shack.   I am recently involved with a 53.63 repeater and will probably switch over to that instead of 53.45 when it is up in the air.  

I've been a member of WMWS (charter member), SCARC, Far-Out ARC, NARC, NEDA (co-founder), NEPRA, NAPRA (past president), AMSAT, TAPR, the Whopping Foghole VHF Society and have been a participant with the Mt. Greylock Expeditionary Force.

Since being issued KA2DEW in 1979 I've lived

  • several months in Nassau Bay Tx;
  • half a year in Albany NY (though I was back frequently over a couple of decades);
  • 1 year in Seattle metro area;
  • 2 years in several towns across the i-80 corridor of NJ west of NYmetro;
  • 3 years in several towns in PA from Allentown to Philladelpha metro;
  • 3.5 years in Potsdam NY;
  • 4 years in NYCmetro;
  • 5 years in Orlando FL;
  • 11 years in several towns in southern NH;
  • for the last 10 years in Raleigh NC.

My previous interests have included satellite operation, 2m SSB, mobile HF, FM repeater control systems, and packet radio. I helped found a club called the North East Digital Association (NEDA). NEDA grew to over 1500 members. I wrote and edited the NEDA newsletter for five years including being responsible for the publication of several (all) editions of a 150 page book under the NEDA name. I also served as board member, tech committee chair, wrote the club's Constitution, performed mapmaking for the first several years of the club and did public speaking for the club.

Before I was licensed I had an Allied AX109 short wave receiver and a Hallicrafters S108 receiver. I was licensed with KA2DEW as a Novice call in early 1979 by the Morris Radio Club in Morris Plains NJ though I was already a member of the Sussex County ARC and had been introduced to the hobby by WB2BYW and K2BPP. Immediately after passing the novice I purchased a fully assembled Heathkit SB104A which I was teased by for the 2+months until KA2DEW arrived in the mail from the FCC.  For my first few months as a ham I operated 75m CW.

In summer 1979 my parents moved to Houston Texas for a year. I went to college in fall of 79 at Clarkson in Potsdam NY. During winter break in Houston I passed Technician at the Houston Field Office of the FCC. Immediately after that I traided my SB104A for a Drake 6 channel FM radio and an Icom IS202S SSB radio. My hope was to receive one of the AMSAT satellites and perhaps talk back to it. Instead, I found out about weak signal VHF work and that was very interesting. I bought a crystal controlled Heathkit DX60B to go with my AX109 to keep me on HF.

For the first couple of years in the hobby I was very active on 2mSSB with a 3-watt IC202S as a college student and while driving around NY, VT, MA, CT and NJ. In 1981 I left school to go work at a startup company doing graphics cards first for PR1ME minicomputers. They later did cards for Sun Unix workstations. I started doing FM operation in Albany NY.

In 1982 I moved back to home in NJ and partnered in an FM repeater project with KA2EIA (now KZ1X). The repeater would go at the Catfish Fire Tower in north west New Jersey at 800' above average terrain and 1600' above sea level. It was within mobile range of Allentown, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Trenton, Newark, 160 miles of interstate 80. While it was not really reachable in the respective downtowns, it could be worked on all sides of both NYC and Philladelphia. It could be worked on Interstate highways at peaks in the Albany metro area, Binghamton, and 50% of NJ. The only rub with the repeater is that it was very hard to visit. Our service trips involved walking a couple of miles to and from the site on the steep hill. One time we dragged the duplexer up the hill in the snow on a toboggan.

I built my own microprocessor repeater controller for the 145.39 Catfish Repeater in 1982. The CPU is a Z80. The computer, a kit by John Bell Engineering, was in a cast box with feed-through caps because we believed the 5v high current 1Mhz signals on the address bus to the 1K RAM and 8K EPROM would cause noise on the receiver.

With the participation of the group up in Albany we linked the 145.39 Catifsh repeater with Albany area machine, WA2WNI. I built another dozen controllers over the next several years.

I was employed in NJ working at a small company doing digital and analog radio over CATV lines. We had SSB telephones and 38kbaud packet radio in 1983. W2CCE and WB2FAC were the founders. For five years I did firmware for radio transceivers and packet networking. This was a great experience.

I was one of the founders of the West Morris Wireless Society in 1982 in Morris County New Jersey. Sometime around then I bought a Tentec Argosy 50W SSB and CW rig. I used this radio mobile with a Hustler antenna system, and on 75m CW from home. I started going to the Dayton Hamvention in 1982 driving each year with ever increasing numbers of radios and antennas. I ended up going 13 years in a row.

I moved to eastern PA in 1983 following my job when our small company was purchased. I sold the TenTec Argosy and bought a UV3 144-220-440 rig. In the 80s i was involved in many repeater projects, spending most of many days on towers. The longest duration I think was about 5 hours at about 160' on a 180' tower in Sellersville PA working on a mostly home-made 6m antenna. I did repeater controllers and some antenna work. My passion was FM linking and digital control. Just about the time TAPR came out with their TNC, a couple of local hams got me into packet radio and packet linking. I became loosely involved with RATS in NJ and MAPRC in Washington DC area while i lived in PA. My equipment was used as one step in an early Washington DC to Boston packet link. I also owned a 440 repeater on 443.45 on a tower in Sellersville PA.

 

Here is a photo of my workbench in 1985. On the bench upper shelf are a Drake UV-3 144/220/440 tri-bander, and a Midland 13-509 220 rig. To the right is an Apple 2e computer. A year later I had sold the Apple 2e and replaced it with a no-name PC clone and purchased a Kenwood UHF all-mode mobile, and a Kenwood TS711 2m SSB rig which I still have.

In 1986 I moved to Nashua, New Hampshire. I continued to do packet radio, FM, repeaters, and 2mSSB.

During this time I discovered Macintosh computers, Unix and HF. I bought an IC900. N0NDO and I put up a 1200Mhz repeater. The IC900 had 144, 220, 440, 1270Mhz. I worked for two different companies during the 4 years I was in Nashua, Nova Biomedical and Termiflex.

 

This is me @28yrs with the 1987 Acura Integra. The car had monoband antennas for 6m, 2m, 220, 440 and a ball mount I used with a Hustler antenna system. When this pic was taken I had a CB antenna in the ball, having sold the Argosy and having not yet acquired the TS690.

In 1987 I concocted a scheme by which packet radio, using existing off-the-shelf equipment, could increase its capacity by a huge amount (night and day) and could be constructed and installed by uninitiated hams. Before this process, and in most of the world, packet radio networks only worked until several people tried using that at the same time.  As soon as the network saw the second data stream, they'd collapse with retries and disconnections.  My scheme was theoretically much faster while using the same technology, just somewhat more of it.  I documented the process and got a dozen stations on-the air using the new technique. It was very successful while costing around 3x what most packet radio nodes cost at the time. My previous contacts with repeater operators and VHF contestors were great to work with on this new endevour. Along with the initial participants in the system I was one of the founders of the North East Digital Association (NEDA) in 1989. I served as newsletter editor for about 5 years at NEDA, another 2 years at NAPRA, publishing about 500 pages of unique printed material. The new scheme worked so much better that the NEDA organization exploded in membership, influence, and range.  NEDA ran a huge packet radio network using VHF & UHF point-to-point links with over 100 repeater sites and fully covering 6 states NY, VT, NH, MA, CT, RI, plus significant coverage in 4 provinces PEI, NB, PQ, ON, and 3 more states NJ, PA, ME. Each network node site had multiple UHF/220 links and a 2m user port radio.

 

In 1989 I went back to college in Potsdam NY for 3 semesters. I sold the IC900 and paid for all 3 semesters room and board for the cost. I passed General at a VE session run by the Clarkson radio club K2CC.

In 1990 I started working with N0NDO on a startup company. N0NDO bought me a TS690 as compensation because our company wouldn't be making payroll for a while and I was starting as a college student. I moved to Lynnwood Washington near Seattle. I operated the TS690 HF rig mobile on the way out. Mobile SSB HF was a blast. The company was to make a RAID subsystem for Unix and MSDOS computers. We didn't get really far before the economy disappeared out from under us. While living in Lynnwood I took a road trip back to Boston for a NEDA meeting, N1TLT's wedding (I was the BM) and down to NC to visit KZ1X in his new digs. I got involved with NAPRA (Northwest Amateur Packet Radio Association) and served as an officer and newsletter editor for that club. That group also did packet radio networking. I was awarded an Advanced class license. I actually passed the Morse code for Extra at this point but missed on the written test. I drove cross country 2.5 round trips in 1991. I also drove from home in Lynnwood WA out to Montana and Idaho several times working on ham radio projects.  I met many great and interesting W7 and VE7 hams in the process.  

In 1991 I moved to Hackensack, NJ, driving with HF of course, coninuing to work with NEDA and NAPRA on packet radio network. I took a firmware engineering job with Eventide working for Richard WA2IKL. The NEDA network was now in Maine, NH, VT, NY, PQ, ON, PA and NJ. For about 2 years I lived in a rented 2-room condo in Hackensack NJ. This was the bedroom and my hamshack. At some point along here I passed the written for Extra but not until after my Morse Code cert expired. I never did pass the code again.

This pic is from Hackensack. The orange cat is Cornelius. Someplace on the bench is the Kenwood TS711 with TNC and a Mac II Si computer with 19" monitor.

After moving into the condo and since my commute was only going to be a few miles to Little Ferry NJ, I sold the TS690. No HF for me for a little while.

In 1992 I met Nancy on a blind date set up by WB8PUF. We married 8 months later at a very ham wedding where most attendees were hams, and moved to Mahopac NY with Nancy's (now our) 7 yr old daughter. Nancy earned her ham license, KB2TNR. She was issued her tech license one year to the day after our first date. NEDA was now fully penetrating NY City and NJ thanks the the efforts of many excellent hams.  

We moved to Amherst, NH and bought a house in 1994. I had a 6m 5/8 wave vertical, a pair of 2m yagis, a 440 yagi, 2m vertical and eventually one HF dipole on 40m. I worked for Eventide until 1999, telecommuting for four years, and then started with Adaptec in Nashua, working on RAID subsystems used by HP and Dell. We lived in the same house in Amherst NH for about 7 years.WA2UNN (now SK) lent me an Icom IC730 to get me back on HF. I used it a few times on 40m but really didn't give HF much time. I was very busy with packet radio and the family.

Back to NEDA. (See above) The club grew to 1500 members at its peak. We had shared network hardware with TCP/IP, Dx Clusters, packet BBSs, and live round-table chat services. Up until 1998 we were still growing rapidly.

 

By 2002 the club was losing members and network stability rapidly due to the prevalence of DSL and Cable modems. People either dropped out because they no longer needed packet radio to give them last-mile digital connection, or they started short circuiting around lost node sites with high speed Internet connections, destroying any impetus to get the broken sites back on-line. I really started hating merging Internet with ham radio. We closed the club and that really destroyed my interest in the hobby. It took a while for me to get back on the air.

 

I ran my own Internet Web and email server from 1996 through 2008 thanks to N0NDO who now ran an ISP in Seattle.

This is our computer and radio desk in 2000. Nancy and I shared a desk at this point. At this time the HF Icom isn't in use. There are three 2m radios, one 6m radio, and a triband 2m/220/440 in this picture along with three Macs and one MSWIndowsNT4 computer. The antenna in the window is for GPS to run the Eventide totally accurate clock I was working on.

There was also a 2m Icom 45watt FM radio on the refrigerator in the kitchen.

After NEDA closed its doors in 2002 I moved to Florida, now with a 4 and 14 yr old. I was still working for Adaptec. With the demise of packet radio and NEDA I lost interest in radio for a while and did not set up a station at the Florida house. I was on the air once in a while and showed up at a flea market a year for most of that time but was not a member of any clubs and did not participate in any ham radio projects.

I was laid off from Adaptec as the company disintigrated. I started working for RadarFind in in 2005 and in 2006 became director of Firmware Engineering. In 2007 the family moved to Raleigh.

My employer, RadarFind, a startup company in Raleigh NC, did 900Mhz packet radio in hospitals to track mobile equipment. I was responsible for system design for the hardware/radio network and had three engineers reporting to me. We designed 2-way low power packet networks including a 5+ year life, battery powered, 200kbaud transceiver. In one building, one of our customers, we have 10,000 of the radios whose firmware I specified, prototyped, demonstrated and for which my group was responsible. That seemed to be the scratch for my radio-creativity itch, for a while.

After RadarFind was purchased by Teletracking, I stayed with the company. My job started becoming a bit more regular. I got back into ham radio in a big way in January 2013. Now I have several HF antennas up, a modern HF rig and mobile VHF/UHF equipment.

KA2DEW hamshack as of September2013

Pardon the mess.

The board in the foreground near the front end of the desk is the first PCB for the Remote Base project.

The D104 microphone is connected to the Kenwood TM742 on 6/2/70cm. The icom mike on the right is connected to the IC448 which is the upper right most radio. All of the rest of the radios in the photo have hand mikes including the Yeasu HF rig on the desk.

The biggest problem I have with this arrangement is that the Yeasu HF rig and tuner take up valuable work surface which I'm going to need soon for the Remote Base project (see below).

From Fall of 2013 to Spring 2014 my home-project was a packet radio controlled synthesized remote base system in partnership with W4RFQ and N6LUZ. We're hoping to make multiple copies and the idea is that a user would operate it much like a typical VHF FM transceiver. The control box will look something like the drawing on the right and is computer controlled with an MSP430 CPU on both ends of the link. The remote base radio itself is probably going to be an IC4AT for the first unit. I think we're going to make three complete systems. We might end up using Icom UX modules instead of the IC4AT later on. It should also be possible to use a stock mobile transceiver but that will come later.

Progress as of 10-25-2013: The packet link is working using hand-wired prototypes. 3 circuit boards (one needed per end) have arrived. These are not intended to beform-factor compatible with the chosen housings. Instead these are big enough that we can debug the system and are 2 layer to be easy to debug. The next PCB order may fit in the housings and may be 4-layer. Many of the parts are stuffed on one of the circuit boards. Board bring-up is in progress. 16Mhz oscillator is working. UART debug interface works. The buttons can now be scanned. The button LEDs are able to be lit appropriately. We're having a problem with the 7-segment LED displays. A bug was found and white-wired in the audio paths.

I now own 2 of the TenTec housings we'll use as well as enough Icom HTs and Midland 220 rigs to make 3 systems. We have two rotary encoders. All parts are in house to assemble one complete system.

As of May 2014 this project is on hold.  I am maintaining the dev environment and hardware prototypes but packet radio took over for a while. 

As of May 2014 I’ve been working on TARPN, web pages, scripts, testing, implementation.  See http://tarpn.net.

Since 2015 I've been going to Dayton/Xenia regularly. 

 

Many of my friends are using HTs in the car and this is just plain dangerous. HTs may be worse than talking on a cellphone because tuning and other adjustments need to take place. They also tend to get tangled on antenna wires, left home when a radio would be very handy to have, and are generally too weak to reliably work repeaters, much less simplex. Mobile rigs are just better.

8097984 Last modified: 2017-05-15 20:00:50, 22098 bytes

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QRZ Logbook Summary for - KA2DEW
Latest Contacts for KA2DEW at QRZ.com
dedateband mode grid Country op
KC9ROL 2016-12-06 10m SSB EN51ii United States Wallace D Duncan
KC2AAK 2016-05-11 40m SSB FN32et United States JOHN BREDENKO
K1EKF 2015-04-16 40m SSB EM83wm United States RICHARD A WEINSTEIN
KD4BAO 2014-10-23 80m SSB FM03gc United States ANTHONY J CARASEA
VE3SG 2014-10-22 80m SSB EN92qx Canada Paul W Ackert
KA4GLN 2014-07-10 2m FM FM05pv United States Carlton G Eaves
W9YOY 2014-07-06 10m SSB EN51xr United States Charles R Caswell
N5KDA 2014-06-19 6m SSB EM41hm United States GARY D NATIONS
W5DDJ 2014-03-24 10m SSB EL09pm United States David L Fiduccia
W4HZ 2014-03-23 160m SSB FM17dn United States JONATHAN D PAYNE, SR
NZ9N 2014-03-18 10m FM DM26ld United States Stephen J Garbinski
WA4MKZ 2014-02-10 70cm FM FM07ea United States JOHN W MUSHKO
KK4WCJ 2014-02-09 70cm FM FM06ed United States Aaron M Parker
N7HYF 2014-01-05 10m FM DN52pt United States ERIC B STRUNA
K6FIB 2014-01-05 10m FM CN84lv United States Christopher D Rumbaugh

Book Totals: 85 qso's   44 confirmed Get a free logbook at QRZ.COM

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