21 MAR 08

(That's Tom, below right)

First licensed as WD4MPN in Alabama in 1977, subsequent wanderings carried me through school and work to places like Colorado, North Carolina, Virginia, and, Texas.  After all of that, I migrated back to northeast Alabama in 2007.  Almost all of my operations have been a mix of VHF/UHF FM/packet/weak signal modes, and HF using CW, SSB and various TTY/data modes both from fixed locations, mobile, and manpack portable.  I have never tried TV or EME...yet.

My nomadic (some would say vagrant) existence has limited the complexity of my antenna installations to various wire and vertical antennas on the HF bands.  I'm currently using a simple coax-fed 75m dipole.  Other than the antennas, I've managed to amass some pretty good stuff over the years.  For example, note the left- and right-handed Bencher paddles, above (from the Houston iteration of the shack).  They're used for multiplexing CW contacts.  

A Yaesu FT-817 and Icom IC-703 have rekindled an interest in 'true' portable, low-power HF operations using an LDG Electronics Z-11 QRP autotuner, a homebrew 6 through 20m dipole...and some string. 

Some of my other recent interests are  D-Star on VHF and UHF, and the PC soundcard modes (PSK31, MFSK16, etc.) for HF 'keyboard' communication.  That's DigiPan, an old PSK31 program on the screen.  After several months of experimentation, I've come to believe that nobody actually works anyone on these modes.  I believe that all of the exchanges are generated by the software using some rudimentary artificial intelligence routine that can't spell very well.  (You know, with all the emphasis on syntax in writing computer code, you'd think programmers would know how to spell.  Well, they don't.  Geologists aren't usually great spellers either, but we've got an excuse.  Most of us never learned to read. But I digress....)

Anyhoo, here's the obligatory rundown on the gear:

At the house here in Fort Payne I make do with an Icom IC-756PRO for HF CW and 'phone.  An Icom  IC-2820H is currently used for VHF/UHF FM and D-Star 'phone in the shack.  Antennas include a big Comet dual-band vertical for VHF/UHF and the afore-mentioned dipole for HF.

The mobile gear includes an Icom IC-7000 for HF+6m (occasionally swapped with the HF-only IC-703), and Icom IC-207, ID-800, and another 2820H in the vehicles.  GPS by Garmin, of course.  Mobile antennas are by and large Larsen dual band mag mounts, with patch antennas for GPS.

Computing stuff changes periodically, but at the moment includes a Gateway 2.6 gHz tower and a Dell 1.6 gHz laptop.  Landline-based broadband Internet access is years away out here, so I'm currently using a satellite circuit to stay connected.

More witty narrative and photos:

Well, that's about it.  If you can think of anything I left out, let me know.

Back to Tom's main page