Robert M. 'Bob' Sarnecki
QCWA # 36997
I am a 53-year-old father of three, living in Phoenix, Arizona. I have worked for 20+ years in the information technology industry, specializing in healthcare IT.
I was originally licensed on December 22, 1975 as WN3BAL, back in Baltimore, MD. I passed my general in 1976 thanks to Lew Smith, W3EAS (SK), and became WB3BAL. Learning how to operate and my love of CW came from countless hours with Charlie Davis, WA3UTC. I kept hamming off and on for several years, eventually becoming N3FIU before allowing my license to expire in 1997. I "came out of retirement" in 2009, passing my Technician and General exams in March, 2009, and reaquired my N3FIU call sign. I became W7BAL in early 2010 (a tribute to my BALtimore roots and original callsign), and I passed my Extra exam in April, 2010 (thanks to the Thunderbird Amateur Radio Club). I obtained my current call in October, 2010. Just recently received my VE credentials; ham radio will grow as long as we encourage others.
I enjoy many aspects of amateur radio, including digital modes (CW, RTTY, PSK31 & JT-65), contesting, DX-ing, QRP and antenna experimentation. On January 5, 2013, I confirmed my 100th DXCC country, and joined the DXCC ranks as #57558; I am over 200 countries now, and working on the next 100! I also like computers, reading (science fiction), digital photography, shooting (handguns and rifles), desert hiking and hot air ballooning. Arizona is a great state for enjoying the outdoors! I am currently the Chief Information Officer at a local hospital, where I am working on various healthcare-related technologies. We recently completed the implementation of two electronic health record.
I am also learning how to operate the mobile communications vehicle (nicknamed "the Toad") for Mohave County, Arizona. Arizona has 4 of these vehicles (my truck is "Toad 1") located in the 4 "corners" of the state, as well as a vehicle dedicated for the govenor's use and located in Phoenix (affectionately called "the Bullfrog"). The trucks are wired for communications (including a telescoping tower) and have the ability to create multiple repeater combinations on the fly. This allows fire, police, transportation, national park rangers and hams from different counties (or even states) to talk with one another during an incident. Not "strictly ham", but good radio fun, nonetheless!
ABOUT MY STATION: Originally, my station was in a 2-bedroom townhouse -- A Yaesu FT-2000D with an Alpha-Delta 20-15-10 dipole hidden in the attic. If you live in an antenna-restricted community, take heart -- I was able to get my Worked All States running barefoot & using only an attic antenna! When I moved to Kingman, AZ, I was in a nice rental home on a golf course without CC&Rs -- As long as it's reasonably attractive, I could finally experiment with directional antennas! My choice: A K4KIO Hex Beam:
Would love to have a full-size beam on a 100-ft tower (or more!), but the Hex Beam did quite well; it's supported by a Rohn telescoping mast, and the whole thing is not easily seen from the street. Great design, Leo (K4KIO)! The first two Hex Beam pictures are after some much-needed renovations on the antenna; better guy wires, slightly taller mast (30'), etc.
In December, 2014, I moved to a new QTH, located near 100 acres of AZ State Land that backs up to the 2.8 million acre Tonto National Forest in Phoenix, AZ. My property is only an acre, but my backyard is desert, and I have some great views and a great place to grow an antenna farm. Hoping to get the K4KIO back on the air again soon; in the meantime, I have a G5RV (oriented North/South) that is holding it's own. Stay tuned!
When I'm "playing radio" at home In the Radio Room, I usually run either a Yaesu FT-2000D or a FlexRadio FLEX-5000A into an Alpha 87A amplifier. An Ameritron ALS-600 amplifier sits as a backup, though I hope to put it to use for a dedicated RTTY station running through a vintage FT-102. When the urge to go QRP hits, I switch to an Elecraft K-1 running 5 watts or "run simple" with a Yaesu FT-840. I also use a homebrew Intel i5-based desktop (Windows 7 64-bit, 8 GB RAM &3 TB of storage) for rig control & tuning, digital modes and logging (Ham Radio Deluxe 6).
Recently, I wrapped up a project to run a Kenwood TS-480 SAT through a RemoteRig unit. Using an iambic keyer, laptop running Ham Radio Deluxe and a SignaLink USB external sound card, I am able to run multiple modes, including SSB, CW, RTTY, PSK31, etc. I can connect to my home desktop using LogMeIn, and rotate the Hex Beam. I have more remote projects planned, but right now, I have enjoyed running my rig from about a dozen different QTHs using my iPhone's access point!
After years of cramming my station into small desks, computer hutches, etc., I finally got a nice desk and built some shelves that allow for some expansion. Night-time illumination for the radios is provided by two LED piano lamps. Updated pictures are coming soon; this was my station back in Kingman, AZ.
PROJECTS UNDERWAY: Since the move, my top priority project is to reassemble my station and get the HexBeam antenna back up -- quickly!
73 and Good DX!
February 28, 2016