Thomas M. 'Tom' Kelly
QCWA # 36989
on the playground of
Gage Jr High School
when I first was licensed
I began amateur radio because of my best friend Gordon Ishibashi (WB6TUO). Gordon and I had just graduated from Gage Jr. High School (1965) in Huntington Park, Calif., a subburb of Los Angeles. Gordon had found a Ham near where he lived, who was going to help him and a mutual friend, obtain a "Ham" license. It then became my goal to find one and get a license too. After all, I did not want to be left out! Some weeks before, while delivering news papers, I had noticed a house with a lot of "big" antennas. Through this Ham, I met Walt Pittman (W6DFO), who became my first "ELMER". Walt was a homebrewer's homebrewer. I spent hours every day, after school, in his shack watching him solder and home-brew every model of Swan transceiver that was ever produced, linear amplifiers and my pride and joy, a homebrew Collins 75A4 receiver. Within a month, I had passed my novice exam (WN6RDB). Three months later, I skipped school and took the bus to the FCC office in downtown Los Angeles and passed the General exam and was issued the callsign (WB6RDB). While in college in Nacogdoches, Texas, I had the second callsign of (WA5TUL).
Photos - My first transmitter, 40 Meters - 5 watts Output
I built my first transmitter (pictured above) and receiver from several old Black and White TV sets that people were throwing out as color television was just becoming affordable. All I could operate was 40 CW. My antenna was a homebrew 40 meter vertical, made of scrap aluminum, roof mounted with 4 radials. I was nicknamed "Ham" by my fellow classmates in high school. I spent nearly every afternoon, after school, on the air. I received my Extra class license in 1976, receiving my present call, AB6Z in 1978.
I have enjoyed my hobby for over 50 years now, all the while, meeting many wonderful and interesting hams. My focus has changed over time. Interests have included T-Hunting, VHF/UHF Repeater design/construction/linking, Antenna Design, Packet Radio, Software Design, Packet/Internet Gateway and my latest passion, DXing via CW!
Several Hams have been a major influence in my life and career. I can not thank them enough for the positive influence they have had on me. They are: W6DFO (Walt Pittman SK), W6MA (Dr. Bill Doud), K6FR (Tony Notario), N6RJ (Jim Rafferty SK), K6BWA (Dr. Joe Schulman), WB6TUO (Gordon - still my best friend), W6ZR (Ray Turner) and most of all W5YNH (Tom Kelly SK), my Dad! I never knew he had been a ham until after I had obtained a license. He let me develop the interest and do it all on my own. Counting my Dad, we now have had four generations of hams in the family. My oldest son, Thom is W0TMK. Thom lives with me and runs our family business, KELLY FIREARMS AND AMMO. My wife, Sonia runs our other family Business, GIFTS4HAMS.COM. My Grandson, Lyric is KF5WIZ. My brother, Tim is KF5WIY and my best buddy, Jeff is KQ5UA. Other close friends include Don KI7ZZ, Rick NQ4I, Victor N8OO and Ned K1GU.
Clubs/Organizations: ARRL and 599 DX Association
Awards: ARRL - DXCC (Mixed, Phone, CW), WAS, RCC CQ - WAZ, WPX EQSL - EDX, EDX100 (CW&SSB) & EPFX300
Three station positions: Left to Right, SX-99/Homebrew XMTR, Elecraft K-3/Alpha 87A, TenTec Omni VI/AL-811H, TS-2000/Henry 3K
.Antenna Tuners : MFJ-998 Autotuner, TenTec 253 Autotuner
.Digital Interface :SignalLink USB, HRD DM780, Digital Rotator
1.Colinear Dipole Array at 100 ft. (40,30,20,17,10M)
2.End-fed Terminated Vee at 30 ft. (80/160M)
3.10 element LPDA at 55 ft. (10-30M)
4.Vertical Groundplane (80M)
.Pan Display: Homebrew SDR HF/VHF receiver (also used as outboard - 2nd recordable receiver)
.Remoted Station (RemoteHams.com) TS-2000 with Colinear & LPDA (AB6Z Remote Systems)
February 18, 2016