Introduction

KEØTCF

Howdy, KEØTCF here.

I have just recently passed my General and Amateur Extra exams in late 2020. My primary HF antenna is my home-built Off-Center Fed Dipole, good from 80m up to around 10m. I am a new dad, so my radio time is limited, but I hope to try out as many things in radio as I possibly can! I enjoy digital modes, phone, and I'm working on learning CW! My goal with this hobby is to try to sample as much of it as I can, trying as many things as possible before settling so that I know what all is out there!

The Radio Amateur's Code
The Radio Amateur is
  • CONSIDERATE...He/[She] never knowingly operates in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.
  • LOYAL...He/[She] offers loyalty, encouragement and support to other amateurs, local clubs, the IARU Radio Society in his/[her] country, through which Amateur Radio in his/[her] country is represented nationally and internationally.
  • PROGRESSIVE...He/[She] keeps his/[her] station up to date. It is well-built and efficient. His/[Her] operating practice is above reproach.
  • FRIENDLY...He/[She] operates slowly and patiently when requested; offers friendly advice and counsel to beginners; kind assistance, cooperation and consideration for the interests of others. These are the marks of the amateur spirit.
  • BALANCED...Radio is a hobby, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school or community.
  • PATRIOTIC...His/[Her] station and skills are always ready for service to country and community.
- adapted from the original Amateur's Code, written by Paul M. Segal, W9EEA, in 1928

The Shack

Being a relatively new ham with tight budget, my setup is rather meager. My shack lives in a detached garage, which is my workshop for all my hobbies. It houses my 3D printer, and my general electronics/computer workbench. My ham shack lives in the back along one wall where all my gear is set up. The garage is insulated and drywalled, and has an electric heater and window AC unit, so I can keep the temperature fairly comfortable year round!

Shack
Rigs

All of my HF operations from the shack occur on an ICOM IC-7100. This is powered by an MFJ 4230MV MightyLite 30A power supply. I also use an MFJ 941E tuner between the radio and my primary antenna. More on the antennas below! The IC-7100 is also capable of VHF/UHF, but doesn't get used for that most of the time. Generally, for local VHF nets and occasional contacts off I-80, I use an IC-2100.

Computer

A spare laptop acts as my station computer, resting off to the side, and connecting to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. It also connects via USB to the IC-7100. Most of the time, I use Windows 10, but the laptop is configured to dual-boot with Andy's Ham Radio Linux, from KB1OIQ, which I also use sometimes. I use Win4ICOM Suite for rig control, and Log4OM 2 as my primary logging program, as well as for a few other handy functions. It also has a slew of other ham radio software installed on it for various digital modes, radio programming, and antenna design/analysis.

Antennas

My VHF/UHF antenna consists of a home-built quarter-wave ground plane trimmed for 2m, and it also works well on 70cm! My HF antenna is an off-center fed dipole antenna, roughly 133' long, and fed around 33%/66%. The feedpoint sits about 21' up on my "mast" outside the shack. The house had a very sturdy basketball hoop in back which doesn't get used, so I used a 21' length of steel gas pipeline and hose-clamped it to the basketball hoop pole, which is heavy steel tubing, bolted to a concrete foundation. I am also working on a tilt-down mechanism for this setup to make maintenance easier. At the top of the steel pipe, the last few feet are covered with plastic PVC pipe, and topped with a short section of smaller PVC attached at 90°, and a T attached to that. In the middle of the horizontal segment, a pulley is mounted, and the feedpoint of the OCFD is lifted up to hang just below that. My VHF/UHF antenna sits on top of the T joint on the end, and it's feedline comes out the bottom and runs down from there. Both feedlines follow the mast down to around 7', then cross the gap between the mast and the garage, and enter the shack through a passthrough hole in the wall. The feedlines are supported across this horizontal gap by paracord twisted around them to hold them together, and tensioned on both ends to take the weight off the coax.

Mobile

For mobile operations, I have a modest setup in my 2015 Ford Escape. I have a 38.5" Nagoya whip on an articulated NMO mount, attached to the left side of the rear hatch. This runs to the front of the vehicle to an ICOM ID-800H dual-band transceiver mounted on the drivers side dashboard, and powered directly off the battery via wiring routed through the firewall. I am also getting ready to start doing POTA once the weather gets nice again, so I have a (modified) Wolf River Coils SB1000 TIA antenna, and for the time being, I use the IC-7100 for mobile HF when needed, but I eventually hope to have a dedicated HF transceiver for mobile.

Background

Coming soon. A bit about my story and how I wound up in ham radio!