Benjamin I. 'Ben' Goldfarb
QCWA # 36095
Hello, all! Call me Ben. That's a lot better than anything else you might call me.
I'm back in the saddle again after a 47-year hiatus from ham radio. I was first licensed around 1960 through 1965. When I went away to attend university and the ham license came up for renewal, I was too cheap to pay the FCC's newly instituted renewal fee. Beer money was much more important. My original rig consisted of a Viking Challenger transmitter, a Heathkit AR-3 receiver (both were kits I built), a 40m dipole, and an Ameco 6m nuvistor converter. That was in Pittsburgh. My family moved to Florida in 1961, and I had to sell my rig. Once resituated, I set up the Shaq you see below (it ain't seven feet tall, but it's still a Shaq). My call signs back then were K3NJB(Pittsburgh, PA), WA4DMV (Hollywood, FL), and W3BDH (Penn State).
Fast-forward to 2013. I'm retired after a few successful careers and I'm looking for things to do. Along the way, my YL tells me she thinks I should build a Tesla coil. So, I start researching Tesla coils and I'm thinking, hey, if I'm dicking around with resonant circuits and doing electronic design anyhow, why not get back into ham radio. So, in February 2013, I passed the General exam, and in March 2013, I passed the Extra. After a brief stint as KK4OWC(now canceled), the FCC granted me my original call from when we moved to Florida: WA4DMV.
My present rig is an aging Yaesu FT-920 that I picked up from a prolific DXer in Sarasota who had dumped a cup of coffee into it after working 200+ countries with it. He had it fixed, but while he was getting it fixed, he bought a new FT-950 because he couldn't wait. DX was calling in his mind -- he couldn't bear to miss a possible contact with Ukkabukka Island So, I got a great deal on it. I cleaned it up some more, fixed a seized-up main tuning shaft, and now it works like a champ. It's pumping out a mighty 100 watts into a home-brew, half-assed G5RV inverted-vee whose apex is about six meters AGL. Yeah, I know -- competing with the 14 element 40m beams and legal limit amps will be difficult, but isn't that the fun of ham radio? Would you rather own the New York Yankees or the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Don't answer that!)
We all know that a big antenna is the key. I'd love to have some primo antennage; howsomever, I live in a community with the dreaded restrictions, so I have to take a stealth approach. Still, I've worked my share of DX with the little, low G5RV.
You won't find me doing much contesting. I value each QSO and I appreciate them all the more because I'm not the Big Dog with the biggest signal. I'm happy to chew the rag, do a quick DX QSO, or generally dick around. I'll be trying out digital modes soon -- all but RTTY are new to me since I was last a ham -- and I really want to get back into CW.
I also intend to become certified as a VE so I can give something back to the ham community and promote the hobby to aspirants.
My other, non-ham interests are hiking, kayaking, nature photography, writing, spectator sports (particularly, American football and ice hockey), cooking, guns, Tesla coils, and my YL, Jenny. I want to take my little Yaesu VX-6R HT in the kayak soon so I can claim maritime mobile.
73 and hope to talk soon,
Pictured: the indoor part of my 1963 ham station. What you see here is a Gonset G-50 six meter transceiver with an Astatic JT-30 microphone (cheap back then, but it seems to have regained favor with the amplified harmonica virtuosi today). I think the xcvr put out 50 watts on a good day into my five-element 6m yagi mounted on a guyed mast attached to our separate garage. You can see the ancient AR-22 antenna rotator control behind the mic. Finally, there is my keyboard -- the pride of Underwood.
March 22, 2013