Mount Airy, MD
QCWA # 26786
Many folks mistake this vehicle for an unmarked police car; that's good!! I operate NBFM on VHF/UHF while mobile and lately from the shack using the 746PRO on 2M.
Look for this vehicle at HAMVENTION 2010!
Why I Like Ham Radio
To talk with people from differert walks of life and different backgrounds. I enjoy it if the other ham is willing to chat for a few minutes about something that I may learn, something new!
.A QSL card is sent for every QSO (except multiple QSOs on the same band)
.Some QSLs are sent DIRECT; all others to BURO or to QSL mgr.
.Please send me your QSL card! My grandkids get excited when Papa Ted gets QSL cards!!
How I Got Into Ham Radio
First licensed in 1968 as WN2HBU thanks to Guy Coleman (W6SCC) and to John Hollenbeck (W6QHI/SV0WA; now SK) from the 2140 Comms Squadron, attached to the 7206 Support Group, located at Hellinikon AFB just outside Athens, Greece. Was granted SV0WNN through the US Embassy under the SOFA in place at that time (Status Of Forces Agreement). Built my own shack out of cinder blocks at our home in Glyfada and operated an EICO 723 CW kit transmitter together with an Allied A-2515 receiver into Inverted-Vee bazookas and a Hy-Gain 12AVQ; boy those were the days! Later I built a Heathkit HW-100 and operated on SSB, sometimes using the homebrew 30L-1 linear John gave me before he returned to the USA in Dec 1969. Spent whatever money I made working at the barber shop at the Officer's Club at the Congo Palace Hotel in Glyfada, at the base barber shop and at the foodland bagging groceries on weekends, on ham radio and postage stamps!
My Endeavors Prior to Ham Radio
In 1961 I built a crystal radio set made by the Lionel Toy company. That did it!
Pirate AM Radio in Greece
In 1966 I built a crude AM radio station using a Heathkit signal generator feeding a 3-tube homebrew amplifier I built. Audio was from a cheap crystal mike or from a turntable, fed through the "External Input" of the signal generator. I would get on the air after school and play songs (45 RPM vinyl records). Word got out in highschool of this clandestine radio station that people used to come up to me in school or on the street with requests to play songs. Most often, I did not have the record so I would ask the requestor to supply that as well. The radio range was about 4 blocks which in Greece was under a kilometer but it was enough. My wonderfull career as Kasey Kasem came to a turntable-needle-screetching halt when a Greek police car, equipped with a radio direction finder, parked outside my home waiting for me one day as I got off the public bus from school. After a short, one-way conversation with my Dad, I tore everything down that evening. To this day, I have no clue how I got all this stuff to work. I mean all I did was slap it together ("Plug and Play"?)
The Outdacity of the Red Flashing Beacon
The crude double-dipole, completely unbalanced, with an unknown but weird radiation pattern antenna I used was simply 4 wires eminating from a wooden pole a place on top of the house in Glyfada; the house is still there but unoccupied. My Dad carried the pole, which was placed in an old flowerpot of his, filled with concrete, up a ladder with me pushing from underneath, hoping that he keep his grip on the pole and the ladder would not collapse. I had painted the pole in a checkerboard red and white pattern (aviation safety hazard pattern) and had placed a red light from a bicycle on top, mimicking the USAF AFRS 1000 foot, 1000W AM flame thrower active tower 3 miles away. It was told to me many times and I actually believe I heard this myself that people riding the public bus would look and wonder out loud what that flashing light was when the bus would make the stop near our house. That was in 1962-1966.
Why Become a Pirate AM'er?
For those not familiar with living in Greece at that time, broadcasting was owned and operated by the Greek Government, it was not free an open as it is today. The played 15 minutes (!) of modern music, the rest of the programming was classic music, radio shows and news. So, all of us youngsters who wanted to hear the Beatles and the Monkeys devised this method. We meant no harm to anyone and we never interfered with the normal broadcasting stations.
Ham Radio Takes a Back Seat While in College
Upon returning to the USA in May 1970 my friend Mark Marco and I set up my HW-100 at the basement of the engineering building (Weed Hall) at Hofstra University on Long Island, NY. You could actually see the 2-element 20-15-10 Gotham quad from Post Avenue and Hempstread Turnpike! Unfortunately, my rig was stolen along with other lab equipment the last day of class in 1973.
The Ham Radio Flame is Still Burning Low Through My Early Work Life
Because of the theft incident, I let my callsign lapse so in 1975 I retook the Novice exam and got WN2ZKE; still did not get on the air, even though I bought a "consolation" HW-100 from a ham in Raleigh, North Carolina. In the early 1980s I upgraded to Advanced but was only active on 2 meters, all this due to work and family commitments. In the early 90's with the help of John Traikos (SV1GE) and my wife, we put up a 3 element Telrex beam antenna using a 10-meter high fixed aluminum tower John made as a kit, one of the first ALLMAST tower designs. My father sent me 5 boxes of angle braces through the post office and then put the 15 2-meter long corner braces on Olympic Airways to Baltimore; all I did is to buy the bolts! I was on the air occassionally. I also operated from France in 1992-1993 using KA3EGV/F and from Greece using KA3EGV/SV (1998).
Resolution : Get Involved More with Ham Radio as During my Youth
I have been more active on HF since 2005 and recently with the addition of an ICOM 746PRO to the family of HW-100/SB-201, Drake TX4B/R4B, Swan 500 Cygnet, Collins KWM-2A, ICOM IC-740/IC-R70 and the old Eico 723/Allied A-2515 pair which followed me from Greece a few years back (Dad had carefully stored all my stuff in the attic in Greece after I left in 1970). During my youth all I wanted to do is to get on the air but now as an aging baby boomer, the pleasure is more in the planning and building phases.
The tower in the picture is an Aluma Super Heavy duty collapsible with a 12-foot aluminum mast holding a Mosley PRO-67C, a 4-el Cushcraft 2M beam and an MFJ discone. Son Hernando and grandson Teddy helped me put it up. I did have an ALLMAST 16-meter collapsible aluminum tower until Jan 2006 when a severe snow squall with over 100MPH winds broke one of the Phillistran guy wires and caused the tower to bend in half (I've upgraded from the 2,000 lb break-strength to the 6,000 lb break-strength Phillistran on the new tower). Another old 10-meter fixed tower, also made by John Traikos, is still around (to my right on the saw horses) and will go up in the Spring of 2010; we'll keep you posted! The antenna to my left is a Cushcraft AP-8A with buried radials, 3 per band; Teddy measured these and help me install them when he was 4! This is the fall-back antenna in the event of problems with the towered antennas.
Lately I've been using the IC-746PRO but plan to re-wire the shack so any of the above mentioned rigs can be called into service, with any antenna. Can't wait to try the digital modes with this new rig; I've only tried RTTY a long time ago. Also, 6 Meters. All this to be completed Spring/Summer '10.
Stay tuned and remember "What goes around, comes around!"
May 17, 2015