James D. 'Jimmy' Russ
Lakeland, FL

QCWA # 37825
Chapter 107

SKCC # 21218
FISTS # 19737
Southcars # 12521
Ecars # 40080
AB4KA - James D. 'Jimmy' Russ
First Call: KC4BUE Other Call(s): KM4DM

My love of radio started in 1982 during the summer between my junior and senior years in high school when my father gave me a Hallicrafters S53A that he had. I spent many happy hours listening to stations like HCJB, Radio Canada International, Voice of America and the BBC. I still have my logbook that I kept and a stack of qsl cards I received. Up until a couple of years ago I still had that old Hallicrafters, but it stopped working along the way and for some reason (like a big dummy) I got rid of it as it was just taking up space, sad.

A few years later, during the summer of 1987 I decided I wanted to get my ham ticket. I picked up a copy of "The Radio Amateur's Handbook" (still got it), a Nye-Viking "Master Key" (still got it), a US Army Signal Corps Morse Code Training Set AN/GSC - T1A (awesome but long gone), and most importantly the Gordon West 21 Day Novice set. On August 29, 1987 I trekked over to the Melbourne, Florida hamfest and took my novice exam and a few weeks later I was KC4BUE! Not being satisfied with being a novice, over the next few months I kept studying and went right up the ladder passing my Technician, General, Advanced (becoming KM4DM) and Extra (becoming AB4KA, which I remain today) exams. If I remember correctly it took me about 8 months to climb that ladder.

For the next few years I was quite active, even becoming a Volunteer Examiner through W5YI and giving exams with the East Pasco Amateur Radio Society in Dade City, Florida. Around 1992 other interests started taking my time, and after getting married and moving into a place with (as I saw it) nowhere to set up a station or antenna, AB4KA shut down and a couple of years later I sold off all of my equipment.

The good news is I was smart enough to keep my license renewed and up to date as I knew I'd be active again one day. I just didn't think it would take 18 years! After life taking many twists and turns, I wanted to be a ham again. In September of 2017 I bought a dual-band HT and joined the ARRL (I was always a member when I was active) and started listening around and reading up. Little did I know how much ham radio had changed! A few months later I traded for some HF gear, and in May of 2018 AB4KA was officially back on the air, and I'm having as much fun as I ever did. I am also extremely thankful for a (new) wife who doesn't mind me playing radio, and a landlord who doesn't care if I string antennas up in the yard.

I enjoy working traffic nets and special event stations, and on rare occasions I'll chase a little DX. I also enjoy the 3905 Century Club nets. Way back when I acheived Worked All States and Worked All Continents and my goal is to acheive those again this year. While I'm not a "serious" contester, I enjoy working contests if for no other reason than to give an additional contact to those who are in it for the score.

I'm currently running an Icom IC-718 on HF, and I've also got an Icom IC-2730A dual band mobile rig in my truck. My biggest challenge at this point is my antennas. My antenna is a 102' doublet in an inverted vee configuration fed with ladder line and so far it's working pretty well, considering the center is only up about 25'. I haven't delved into the digital modes yet, I suppose I'm just old-school and I like CW, SSB and good ol' analog FM. I'm also old-school in that I keep a paper logbook, and I enjoy sending and receiving QSL cards. I've tried LOTW and e-qsl and honestly they just leave me cold. I'll stick with a nice paper card coming the the mail. I'm working on getting my CW chops back (the ability to work CW is definitely a perishable skill). I recently obtained my ARRL Certificate of Code Proficiency for 10 wpm (gotta start somewhere hihi) and it proudly hangs on my wall.

I am a firm believer of membership in Amateur Radio clubs and organizations. I am a member of the ARRL, the QCWA, the Lakeland Amateur Radio Club, Disney Emergency Amateur Radio Service, SKCC, FISTS, Southcars and Ecars. As much as I love the "on the air" comeraderie of ham radio, I believe the face-to-face aspect of ham radio via local clubs is equally important. I'm also a firm believer that every licensed amateur should be a member of the ARRL, because, among other reasons, they are the only ones fighting for us with the government.

I used to really enjoy being a VE and giving exams, and I've now obtained my VE credentials once again and look forward to helping out my club with that when my work schedule allows. Another of my goals is to get my Worked All States and Worked All Continents awards. I had them both back in the day, but sadly all of my awards, logs and qsl cards disappeared over the years, and the ARRL couldn't find the record of me having them as I wasn't sure when I got them other than the year. So I'll just do it again!

Thanks for visiting my "virtual" station, and stop by anytime! 73 and hope to meet you on the airwaves.

AB4KA - James D. 'Jimmy' Russ

AB4KA - James D. 'Jimmy' Russ

AB4KA - James D. 'Jimmy' Russ
My humble shack in it's current configuration...

AB4KA - James D. 'Jimmy' Russ

AB4KA - James D. 'Jimmy' Russ

AB4KA - James D. 'Jimmy' Russ

June 16, 2020