All Out of Ham

With my wife in continued pain and suffering from her back surgery and not moving at a rapid pace, the last thing I should be thinking about is amateur radio. I already passed on the RTTY Roundup last weekend and will end up missing NAQP CW this weekend. In reality, it probably won’t be until April or May that I have a fully functioning shack. Priorities being what they are, my wife comes first along with her rehabilitation.

That hasn’t stopped me from stealing a corner of the garage in our new place so I can use it as my shack. The raised floor is now in place and I am hanging faux wood paneling (again). I like the look and and feel of it, reminds me of my dad’s shack (N6SV) down in Poway, CA. Although I just found out today I have 2 dead 110v outlets and the closest 220v outlet is on the other side of the door that leads in the laundry room. Not sure I will be running my Alpha 76PA when all is said and done.

I did come across a helluva deal today from K6EQR, who made mention in a reflector e-mail to the NCCC that another ham was selling a 55′ crank, tilt over tower in Folsom for $300! I did not hesitate to jump on the e-mail and make an inquiry. While I am not so sure about setting up at this house a tilt over, crank up tower fits the bill for me. The tower was raised in 2006 and had a 3el SteppIR on it. This would be perfect for my 5 band hex beam and maybe even the 6-meter beam I have.

Still much work must be done in order to get back on the air. It’s been very rough the last 18 months for me and ham radio as time has not allowed me much opportunity to get on the air. I have achieved a few awards, some personal, some from contesting. Hopefully I can beat my April/May deadline and be back on the air. Now to check with the city to see if I can erect something like this tower in my backyard.

HMO – Highly Motivated Operator?

While I would like to consider myself an “HMO” (highly motivated operator) when it comes to a full time effort during a contest weekend, the truth is my operating time is dictated by factors I don’t have much control over; work schedule/days off, family responsibilities and limited hardware. Still with these factors I do the best I can, depending on what contest is scheduled will determine my level of commitment.

I was fortunate enough to sit with W6OAT, Rusty as the March meeting and he made mention of a NCCC member who might have a station available to use during contests. His name is John, W6JZH and he lives about 7 miles down the road in the neighboring Pittsburg.

While I probably shouldn’t know of him, I make it a point to go out of my way driving home to view his tower and antennas. I still recall the first day I saw his tower rising above a somewhat residential/industrial type area. I was rather amazed and excited, but at the time did not know of him.

With a quick e-mail to Rusty, he called and spoke to John the other day, made mention of me and the desire to operator from a station other than mine. So now John is waiting in anticipation of my phone call. I think this sort of networking in great! While I just got the e-mail this morning I plan on giving John a call and hopefully end up meeting him and touring his station at his convince. Who knows I might have a “real tower” to use in the next contest.

Speaking of tower, I am chasing the possibility of purchasing a crank-up tower (Tri-EX H-471) for $600 that has never been used and requires a few minor pieces. Not sure this will actually happen, but the wife was not as disagreeable as I thought she would be. I anticipated her answer to my inquiry, but it might be a possibility. Now the last hurdle would be replacing the 20? mast with a 20? (nested) tower. I will continue to explore the idea.