I am an Extra class amateur radio operator in Kearney, Nebraska.
Originally licensed in 2018, I wasn't particularly active in radio until I moved to Kearney about a year later. I got my General and Extra upgrades about a year after that, in late 2020. My primary HF antenna is my home-built Off-Center Fed Dipole, good from 80m up to around 10m. I enjoy digital modes, phone, and I'm working on learning morse code! 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!
You can learn more about me and what I get up to outside of amateur radio, and see my other projects at my personal website!
I live in Kearney, Nebraska, a community of about 30,000 people, located along the Platte River in Buffalo County. I moved here after getting married in 2019, so I'm relatively new to the community, but my wife is a Kearney native. Originally, I grew up about an hour away in Aurora, just east of Grand Island.
I am an active member of the Midway Amateur Radio Club (W0KY) here in Kearney. I manage the club's web presence and also help manage the local D-STAR repeater and gateway (KD0PBW). I am also an ARRL accredited VE, ARES member and certified Skywarn Spotter. In addition to MARC, I am also active in the Amateur Radio Association of Nebraska (W0WWV) based out of Hastings, as well as other amateur activities in the tri-cities region.
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I am currently a ham with a very limited budget. This makes tricky a lot of the time, but it also results in me having to be thrifty and find affordable ways to get new equipment, often making it myself! 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 a heater and window AC unit, so I can keep the temperature fairly comfortable year round!
All of my HF operations from the shack occur on an ICOM IC-7100. This rig is technically a mobile rig, but is perfect for my setup right now, since it doesn't take up as much space. An added bonus is that it is also capable of VHF/UHF, which comes in handy for digital operations on those bands. I use an MFJ 986 Differential T tuner between the radio and my primary antenna. This tuner is capable of running full legal limit power, but right now I do not run an amplifier, just the 100 watts from the IC-7100. For local nets and repeater rag chews on 2m, I have an IC-2100 on the bench as well. This is all powered by an MFJ 4230MV MightyLite 30A power supply, which while not the frilliest model available, is very adequate for my setup.
A laptop acts as my station computer, resting off to the side, and connecting to an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. It also connects via USB to the IC-7100 for digital control of the rig. 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 would like to switch to linux full time for radio, but unfortunately two of my key softwares rely on .NET framework. I use Win4ICOM Suite for rig control, and Log4OM 2 as my primary logging program, as well as for a few other handy functions. I also have a slew of other ham radio software installed on it for various digital modes, radio programming, antenna design/analysis, etc.
My VHF/UHF antenna consists of a home-built quarter-wave ground plane trimmed for 2m, and it also works well on 70cm! This is the third one I have made, the first two eventually succumbing to the weather. This time around, I home-brewed a sort of "weather-boot" to help with this, and so far it has worked well! For HF operations, I built an off-center fed dipole for 80m, putting it at roughly 133' long and fed around 33%/66%. My lot is not particularly large, so finding space to stretch the wire out straight has been a challenge. Right now, the legs are at about 90° right now, which is better than how I previously had it. Both of these antennas are mounted on a 10' mast and tripod mounted to the garage roof, putting the feedpoints somewhere a bit over 20' up. The feedlines snake down the mast, along the roof, and over the gutter. A drop loop is formed before the feed back into the shack through a passthrough hole in the wall.
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. The main unit is under the drivers seat, the head unit is mounted for easy viewing on the dash, and the handmike comes up next to the drivers seat for easy reach. For portable, I pack up the IC-7100, and I bring my MFJ 941E in case I need a tuner, or just for its cross-needle SWR meter. I primarily use a Wolf River Coils SB-1000 TIA, with some modifications. I also have a KM4ACK EFHW as an alternative option.
Coming soon. A bit about my story and how I wound up in ham radio!
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All of the utilities on this website are proudly provided to the amateur radio community free of charge! However, there are costs (servers, etc) involved for me to keep it going.
If you have found them useful, and would like to show your appreciation and help with costs, you can throw a few dollars into the hat below!