Cedric E. 'Gene' Pearson
QCWA # 37039
I was "bitten by the short wave radio bug" as an 11 year old. My first radio was the Allied Radio Company's Knight Kit "Space Spanner" (a regenerative detector followed by two stages of AF amplification) which I built with the help of K4ATG in 1957/58. I sent my logging reports to the SWL column editor of Popular Electronics and to the Universal Radio DX Club and the Newark News Radio Club, SWL clubs to which I belonged in 1959-63. I continued as a listener graduating to better and better receivers over the decades culminating with two Collins designed R-390A general coverage military units which I realigned and restored in the late 80s and early 90s and a Japan Radio Company NRD-525 acquired in 1987.
While I had always found listening for difficult-to-hear SWBC stations and foreign amateurs very satisfying, I eventually wanted to become a ham. Specifically, I wanted to become a QRP CW ham using simple antennas. But I also wanted to become proficient enough in solid state analog circuit theory and construction techiques that I could design and homebrew my own simple transmitter and receiver from scratch (not from kits). So finally in 1990 I began studying for the FCC exams and increasing my CW skill. After passing the General class theory and CW exams in the summer of 1991, I just couldn't wait any longer to get on the air and make my first contacts. Designing and homebrewing my own simple station would have to wait! So I began operating on 27 August 1991 as N8PCX with a $30 Ramsey QRP-20 crystal controlled CW transmitter kit (400 mW out on 14,060 +/- 2 kHz), the JRC receiver mentioned earlier, and a 20 meter half wave, center fed dipole up 25 feet. With that setup I worked all 50 states in 8 months and 9 days for WAS and 22 DXCC entities before adding the 40 meter Ramsey QRP transmitter kit and a 40 meter dipole in August 1992.
In April 1993 I purchased a used Ten Tec Argonaut 509 at the Dayton Hamvention flea market - my first VFO rig. I upgraded to Extra Class in September 1993 and received my present call sign. I soon added 30 meters with the MFJ-9030 QRP CW transceiver. In November 1994 I put up my best antenna to date: a vertical rectangular LOOP (60' vertical and 86' horizontal) for one full wave length on 80 meters and with its lower horizontal side 20' up. In November 1995 I received the IARU's WAC. About that time I "graduated" from the straight key to a "bug." In 1996 I added the Index Labs QRP+ transceiver to the shack (my first rig with a digital frequency readout) and my first electronic keyer. In 1997 I received CQ magazine's USA County Award for 500 counties, endorsed for QRP and CW. In 2001, almost exactly 10 years after my first QSO, I received the ARRL's DXCC (CW) award. Based on the same QSL cards, I received the QRP-ARCI's DXCC-QRP (CW) award.
In the autumn of 2002 my employer, St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, gave me a Ten Tec Argonaut V in celebration of 20 years as its Rector. With that rig I made my first phone QSO, a little over 10 years after going on the air. On 1 January 2005 I retired from full time ministry, and we moved 6 miles from the previous QTH with its large vertical loop into a neighborhood with restrictions against visible antennas. At the same time I purchased an IC-746PRO, my first and only 100 watt transceiver. In July of 2011 I replaced the Ten Tec Argonaut V with the Elecraft K3 which has a noticeably more selective receiver.
In August 2014 I became 100% solar powered for QRP work. The system consists of a 100 watt monocrystalline silicon solar panel in the backyard, a Morningstar ProStar 15M charge controller and a PM-1 Sears Platinum Marine Deep Cycle battery (100 Ah).
In November 2014 I achieved my goal of reaching 150 confirmed DXCC entities while using 5 watts or less, CW, and simple wire antennas on my end.
The big challenge since moving to this HOA neighborhood in 2004 with its CC&R has been erecting "stealth" antennas. Actually, as I have "pushed the envelope" by erecting more and more visible antennas, the neighbors have been quite tolerant and haven't complained to the Home Owners Association -- yet! My current antenna is a 32 ft. ground mounted Marconi with sixty-four 32 ft. radials. An SG-237 remote automatic coupler located at the base of the vertical allows me to work all bands from 40 through 10 meters.
73 es gud DX,
Gene Pearson AA8MI
ARRL Life Member; Fists #0914; QRP-ARCI #7522; MI-QRP #0911; G-QRP #6479; NAQCC #5703; SKCC #8424T.
April 07, 2016