K6MKF - A Ham's History
Back in late 1968 I got my Novice ticket in Poughkeepsie, NY,
thanks in large part to my first Elmer, Dan Sullivan, WB2PED. Dan was a member
of the Poughkeepsie Amateur Radio Club (PARC) and helped a lot of us wannabe
hams to get licensed. He administered my Novice exam and after what seemed
forever, I got my ticket and call - WN2JLQ. Here I am as WN2JLQ in my ham shack
in Poughkeepsie. You can see the old Hammarlund SP-600-JX rack mount receiver. The
power supply weighed a ton and was on the floor behind me. The transmitter to my
right is a crystal controlled Eico 720 with a home-brew antenna tuner. My antenna was
a long-wire run out through the bathroom window. From the old picture I can make
out a Heathkit SWR meter ( which I still have) and a Q-Multiplier. The key was an old Lafayette Radio (Hi-Mounds)
model in a black plastic case with a clear plastic top. Just a little peanut whistle
rig, but I worked Scotland from New York, largely because the SP-600-JX was such a great
I operated for a while, but never upgraded to General. I was working for IBM at
the time and work went nuts, so the WN2JLQ ticket expired after two years. Somehow
during this period, PARC elected me President. There doesn't seem to be a link to the PARC website anymore. It was a good club.
Poughkeepsie Amateur Radio Club
The early 1980's found me back in my hometown of Hagerstown, MD. My interest in
ham radio again awakened and I sought out the local ham club - the Antietam Radio
Association. Through the club I met Bill Drager, K3UMV, who was to
become my second Elmer. Bill helped me re-license as a Novice and then helped me
to upgrade to General. Here's a picture of me as KA3FJD up one of my two 40-foot
towers installing two 8-element beams in a phased array on 2 meters. I had an 80 meter
dipole between this and the back tower, and ran a Signal One RX-7 through a home-brew
tuner. I drove the 2 meter beams with an FT-107 H/T through an amplifier and worked
virtually every repeater within 200 miles. I even worked a lot of 2 meter RTTY using
this rig and an old Western Electric Model 15 teletype. What a rattle-trap that was!
Bill Drager, K3UMV, was a great elmer, and he was my first Novice and General contact as KA3FJD.
I think it was in 1983 that I was elected President of the Antietam Radio Assoication, but
moved to Washington, D.C. before I could complete my term. Here's the link to the ARA website:
Antietam Radio Association
Hagerstown has an interesting connection to Hiram Percy Maxim, W1AW, Co-founder and for many
years President of the ARRL and well-known to amateurs as "the old man". HPM married the daughter
of Maryland's Gov. Hamilton, and when HPM died, he was buried in the Hamilton family plot in the Rose
Hill cemetery on the south side of Hagerstown, MD.
I have been fortunate enough to have acquired Hiram Percy Maxim's signature, which he signed
and dated just about 5 months before his death in February, 1936. This sits in a frame at my
operating position and is my personal link back to the beginnings of our hobby.
Just before moving to Washington, D.C. I upgraded to Advanced and was granted the
call KD3AN. I held this call while I lived in Washington. While I lived in
D.C., I was a member of the Montgomery County (MD) Amateur Radio Club.
Here's the link to the Montgomery County Amateur Radio Club website:
Montgomery Amateur Radio Club
When I moved to California. I operated as KD3AN from Boulder Creek,
CA for a while.
After 11 years in California I finally decided to cut my last ham radio ties to the East coast.
Thanks to the FCC's Vanity Callsign program I now am K6MKF. Here is my indoor shack - no more basements or garages!
The rigs are an ICOM IC-756PRO2 and a Kenwood TS-850SAT pumping the RF into
a Butternut HF6V vertical on the roof or a Force 12 C3SS ("Buster") up
at 44 feet.
Sue got me a RigBlaster Plus interface and I have been
working a lot of 10M, 15M and 20M PSK31 and RTTY.
Now I am a member of the Las Cumbres Amateur Radio Club. Here's the link to the LCARC website:
More Ham Radio Links - There's a lot of good stuff here ...
The American Radio Relay League
Radio Society of Great Britain
Amateur Radio Newsline
QRZ.COM - A Great Ham Site
eBay Prices Realized for Ham Gear!!
Ham Radio Online
3905 Century Club - Now Celebrating 25 Years in Operation