Evans Coat-of-Arms

Amateur Radio

Tom's Wish  List

Ham Shack


  After 34 years of shortwave listening, years of collecting QSL cards from many of the stations I listened to, watching the slow and steady decline of shortwave radio transmissions beamed to North America, and seeing the final printing of The Passport to World Band Radio book, I decided it was time to stop delaying my ambition of becoming licensed amateur radio operator.

In May of 2010, I finally decided to get my amateur radio license. With the test for the Technician class license undergoing its usual 4-year change at the end of June in 2010, and having already purchased the training guide, I had a real incentive to get licensed before the end of June.
  I realized this ambition on June 19th when I joined the ARRL, and took and passed the entry-level Technician class amateur license exam. Shortly thereafter, I received my new FCC amateur radio license. With this in hand, I purchased my first radio, a Yaesu FT-60R HT, and joined the Lakeland Amateur Radio Club.  

Yaesu FT-60R Radio
  This gave me the ability to make voice transmissions on amateur VHF frequencies (50 MHz / 6m) and above. While this provided me the ability to make contacts locally, mostly through the local repeaters, I really wanted to do DX work, making contacts over long distances and to other countries. For this, I would need at least a General class license...

In an effort to start making long distance contacts, a month later on July 17th, I took and passed the mid-level General class amateur license exam, and earned the privilege of being able to transmit using voice on all of the lower amateur HF bands from 1.8 MHz (160m) to 30 MHz (10m). Of course, now I needed a radio capable of transmitting on those frequencies. After using an ICOM IC-R75 radio for shortwave listening for so many years, I was partial to, and wanted to buy an ICOM base transceiver. I considered the ICOM IC-718, but I felt that I would soon outgrow it and need a more full-featured radio to do real dx work. After some lengthy deliberation, I finally decided to to pull the trigger on a Yaesu FT-950 base transceiver.

Yaesu FT-950 Radio
  Living in a deed-restricted community, I didn't have many viable choices for antennas.  I put up an Alpha-Delta DX-EE 4-band dipole under the eave of the house. Due to the close proximity to the ground and the house, this ended up providing only very short range communications since most of the transmitted energy was directed nearly straight up into the sky. Since I would need approval from the home owner's association to erect any type of real antenna, I went about the process of seeking permission. Fortunately, and after adding some reasonably tall magnolia trees in the back yard to hide an antenna, I was granted permission to install a vertical antenna. I chose the Butternut HF9V antenna, and installed it with 36 ground radials at 28 ft. each. This would provide reasonably good transmit capability on all of the HF bands except for 60m and 160m.

The next step will be to get the final level of amateur licensing, the Extra class license. Given enough time to study, the goal will be to get this by the end o fthe year. This will give me the privilege of transmitting using all modes on all of the amateur radio bands.

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Lakeland, FL