With My lovely wife, Marian, K5KKT
Joseph A. 'Joe' Locascio
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
QCWA # 37128
I was originally licensed in the mid-50's while in high school in a small farming community in SouthEast Louisiana. I've been continuously licensed, active since with the exception of two years while in graduate school in Salt Lake City in the late 60's. I was in the Air Force for over 20 years, ending up out here in Southern California... I retired and stayed here in the same house. I was also /KH6 in the early 70's (doing my Viet Nam tour THERE (in KH6) while serving under the Senior McCain - Admiral John McCain) at Hqs CINCPAC. Following my retirement from the AF, I worked here in So CA and finally retired for good. I am FULLY retired...and I am EXCEEDINGLY delighted to be fully retired....If you wnat to know anything further and what I am not sayng here... just inquire with an email to me....
I mostly enjoy HF (mainly 20 & 40M) and have amassed Top of the Honor Roll (ARRL DXCC #1 HR) having worked and confirmed ALL countries (some call them 'entities' - whatever)!! MIXED and SSB. I still do work CW, especially for new countries; but, enjoy ragchewing on SSB.
I used to be an AVID HF Contester; but, since my first wife died in '99, I can't seem to get the drive back; plus, my station is not in proper shape to really continue that old, fun aspect of HF. Part of the reason is a plumbing problem that threw my shack into complete disarray... a SLAB LEAK that caused EVERYTHING to come OUT of the shack.. Of course.. that has lead to 'rearrangement of everything.. and I'm in 'the process' of completing that daunting task now. I also still keep a PAPER Log, even for contesting. I've just never wanted to go to the computer logging that most do nowadays. Their choice; and mine!
I also have, or at least HAD, an interest in Weak Signal 2M & 70CM (CW & SSB) operations.
My station has evolved to the SDR (software defined radio) without the aid of any 'roofing' filters. I started out with the FLEX-5000A that has a second Receiver and the VHF & UHF modules added. It (FLEX 5000A) now has now been replaced with the new FLEX 6700 with SmartSDR - WOW what a fabulous Radio. I like the Radio SO well, I suppress my DISDAIN for the PC and the incidious MicroSoft OS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. My backup radio used to be aYaesu FT-1000D a real tried and true Radio; but still NOT THE Radio the Flex IS!! Bottom line is that because of the FLEX 6700, I sold the FT-1000D (sigh!!! it was just gathering dust here).
My primary Amplifier is now an Expert 2K FA (Solid-State) Amp that covers 1.8 - 54MHz (Love the INSTANT ON) and replaces an Alpha 87A; My (other) back up Amp is a sick ACOM 2000A that needs a bit of attention to correct a fault. My current Antenna, shown in the picture above, is a SteppIR DB-42 Dream Beam and it IS quite an antenna, covering 3.45MHz - 55MHz (80M - 6M) in ONE, single antenna system on a 42' boom that weighs in at ~250#. It has 8 el on 6M; 5el 10M - 20M; 3el on 30 & 40M; and a single element on 60 & 75/80M. I even used it's predecessor (DB-36) on 160M while using my ATR-30 Antenna Tuner with surprisingly good results; I'll have to try the DB-42 to see if it will work there too.
Antennas for VHF & UHF are a pair of M2 2M9 stacked, and an 18 el cross-yagi for 70CM; plus a tri-band vertical for 2M, 220MHz band, & 70CM. I recently had a Rotor 'issue' and when I took it out to troubleshoot, the bolts to hold the mast in place were not tight enough. The Antennas spun around at least twice and (obviously) damaged the coax to the upper VHF/UHF antennas. I've not been able to (properly) diagnose and repair them as yet.. It's on my list; but, not very high in priority here. Enter the Steppir/SARK 110 for assistance in troubleshooting when I get around to it....
The antennas are fixed/affixed on/to a 24' Chome/Molly Mast inserted into a US Tower HDX-589 (motorized with remote control capability) which has been up since 1990; there is ~21' sticking out of the top of the Tower for affixing antennas. The DB-42 is nearly at the top of the Tower for relatively easy access.
Previous antenna systems included a KT-34XA, KLM 3el 40M, WARC Band Dipole, and a Create CD78 (56' loaded rotating dipole for 75/80M) which I used here for near ly 20 years. I took them all down, assembled and put up the SteppIR DB-36, which was up for nearly 3 years before taking IT down and replacing it with the DB-42 in Dec '11.
The DB-36 worked flawlessly for me for those years on all bands from 80M - 10M; I don't remember ever using it on 6 though. But, then the DB-42 came along and I had to have it. Plus one of my good friends just HAD to HAVE my DB-36 which facilitated the switch to the DB-42. It has been an interesting few years, feeling somewhat of a pioneer with the NEW SteppIR. While the DB-42 was NOT a prototype, it was not yet a clear production item (to me) either. Putting it together and getting it working (as advertised) was fun at times, working out various details of assembly, erection, & operation.... some of the time was 'head-scratching' to determine why it was not working properly.
With time and effort, it all finally came together VERY WELL. I can assure you that when the antenna is working... IT REALLY WORKS!!! I have had one other 'issue' with the DB42 that I still don't completely understand. My particular location is within 2 miles of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Channel; I am up about 1200' amsl and SELDOM experience Lightning; but, it appears that I DID experience some Lightning and damage a while back that caused my SteppIR controller - DBA 100 to become somewhat erratic. SteppIR Tech Support advised a 'firmware' update, so I sent the controller off for them to update. To my complete surprise, they reported that there was noticable damage to the controller - MOST probably caused by Lightning!!! After their repairs and update, I now have it back with full operation again. One other issue that related to the erratic behavior was the failure of the Astron 28V DC Power Supply that was used to power the SDA 100 Controller too. It FAILED, probably due to the Lightning too. Upon replacement, the Power Supply works just fine too. No further 'issues' for over a month now.. Guess we DO get an occasional Lightning strike here in Palos Verdes near the water too.
I must acknowledge the STERLING support and help from SteppIR; they have been just marvelous through each and every 'issue' and worked very closely to insure proper operation and all. KUDO's to SteppIR and their great support!! This especially includes the owner Mike, K7IR, Jim Strible, Bart, and Adam!!!!
Here (below) are two video's that portray some of the effort expended to assemble and (and main effort to) hoist the DB-42 onto the HDX-589 that acknowledges those select guys that helped me ever so much. Without them I would have had to use a crane. THIS way was a LOT more FUN. The first video is a Trailer that suggests what the second, ~15 minute video shows. The guys involved were Michael, K6MPB; Dale, KF6LIX; Ted, NX6C (camera man); Bob, W6HIP; Curtis, KI6KUK (also my plumber); Walt, K1DFO (accomplished County Hunter; and now on his THIRD round of getting them ALL); and Bob, AB6SY. I owe them a great deal of THANKS, as well as my lovely wife, Marian K5KKT who did the fabulous work on the videos.
Trailer: Joe vs the Antenna
THE 15 MINUTE VIDEO:
I also have an SUV with a Yaesu FT-900 HF Radio, plus a Metron MA-1000B that I can get to work SOMETIMES, into a (10M - 80M) HY-Q antenna. I also have an older Kenwood TM-742A tribander with 2M, 220MHz, & 70CM (for FM (only)) to complement mobile operations from 75M - 70CM (no 6M mobile equipment though). I now have expanded my (potential) mobile operation(s) to include a Yaesu FT-857D and ATAS-120 in my main vehicle - 2012 Volvo C70... The Radio seems to work without any interaction with the many computers in the '12 Volvo. How lucky is that???? I do have to work out some mechanical mounting issues of the ATAS-120 though; it's a bit too 'whobbly' for me.
While I am Trustee for W6AM, I have NO equipment, or QSL's from Don's operations. I also live about a mile from his old Rhombic Ranch, which was demolished/destroyed after he died in '85 and replaced with 83 homes - a development named 'Wallace Ranch'. Though Don previously had more Rhombic's on 125 Acres, he sold nearly 100 Acres in the '60's and was left with the remaining 24 Acres and the 9 FULL sized Rhombics (on 140' poles) here on the Palos Verdes Peninsula that made him argurably the biggest signal on HF. I heard him, many times, VERY loud in KH6, while I was stationded there for nearly 5 years in the early 70's). Shortly after Don't death, I founded the Don Wallace Radio Ranch Foundation and had dreams of erecting a suitable Museum on the site. I'm still with the Foundation as Chairman (again); but, realistically, no longer have the dream of a Museum on the site. We (the Foundation) have finally placed a very nice Bronze Plaque on a big Palos Verdes rock to commerate prior Radio operations from the site. See QST Sep '15; page 20. Notable members of the Foundation over the years included Barry Goldwater, K7UGA as our Honorary Chairman; John Alexander, K6SVL; and John Vanderlip (son of the primary developer of Palos Verdes) - all now deceased. Additional member of note was Dick Mills (ex-WA6LML) WA6AM (SK) - long time Secretary of the Don Wallace Museum (Foundation) and THE idea behind the plaque. We, the BOD of the Don Wallace Museum Foundation have recently gone through the process of closing down the Foundation - donating the remaining assets to other 501 (c) 3 entities, especially including nearl $30K each to the ARRL and NCDXF.
Marianis not all that active yet, even though she is (now fully) retired - as I am.... Now we can travel more and at various times - not tied to her work schedule, as well as while I still can! ....... I will be setting up a newly acquired ICOM IC-7300 and will allocate the Big IR Vertical for her to acquainted with 10M & 6M until she upgrades to at least General Class
July 11, 2016