WB5NHL Station

I started as an SWL in the early sixties with a Hallicrafters S-120 receiver

With this receiver and a long wire antenna, I learned there was quite an exciting world of foreign broadcast.

I have been a ham since I was 16 years old. My first station was like many in the mid-sixties; a Hammarlund HQ-110C and a Heathkit DX-60B. As a novice licensee, the transmitter was crystal controlled; a requirement for novices back then. When I got my General license I added a Knight VFO to the transmitter.

This was my only station until I graduated college and served in the Army. While stationed at Ft. Huachuca I upgraded to a Yaesu FT-101B. This remained my primary rig until just recently. While at Ft. Huachuca I experimented with many different antennas. I left the service and lived in Dallas TX. for several years. It was at this time that I really had a “shack”. At this location I operated from a separate building in the backyard and setup a 70 ft tower with Mosley TA-33jr.

With a change in employment and a growing family I left Dallas and entered a long period of very limited ham activity. The recent growth in PSK31 along with becoming an “empty nester” has prompted my renewed interest in hamming.

While living in Exton, PA my station was in an antenna restricted townhouse community. Thus, it took some creativity to become an active ham again. While I wasn’t be able to compete with “big guns” of 700 watts driving a 75 ft tribander, with some research and creativity a townhouse can accommodate ham activities. I have provided several pages on this site to document my experiences and alternatives for indoor attic antennas in an antenna-restricted community.

Moving permanently to Aiken, SC has once again provided an opportunity for outdoor antennas.

Below you see my current station and hex beam antenna.

The station consists of a Flex Radio 6600 transceiver (on far right) and an Elecraft KPA-500 linear amplifier (right) with Elecraft KAT-500 autotuner. I have retired (& sold) my Kenwood TS-570D transceiver. The amplifier is a no-tune solid state unit providing 500 watts on all bands, 160m thru 6m. On the shelf (above the right most monitor) is a Radioddity DB-25-D DMR radio. On the far left is my GoBox (in use everyday) that includes an Icom IC-7100 for HF and DSTAR, an Alinco DR-635T VHF/UHF transceiver and a Uniden BCD536HP scanner. Sitting on the Go Box is my Hamshack Hotline phone, #5555. My antennas consist of a K4KIO hex beam  at 30 ft for 20-6 meters. With large trees on my suburban lot I now have good supports for a wire antenna. I use an all band off-center fed dipole for 30, 40 and 80 meters. The coax feed is routed through the attic. For operations on 160 meter top band I use an inverted-L at 50ft with a K2AV folded counterpoise.

In early 2014 I started investigating ways of improving my low band receive capability on a 1/2 acre house lot. I looked carefully at a K9AV loop but finally decided on a Shared Apex Loop (SAL-20) in the corner of the lot. Though expensive, this antenna is an absolute wonder and highly recommend for low noise receiving on 160, 80 & 40 meter bands.

The station computer is a Dell 5090 tower machine that serves very well for Flex radio SMARTSDR, digital modes and logging duties. The station is connected full time to the internet via Atlantic Broadband cable modem. I use N3FJP AClog for logging

The upper left monitor The upper left monitor is dedicated to Hamclock ,a powered by a headless Raspberry Pi clone (Le Potato) An excellent program from Elwood Downey, WB0OEW

I recently have gotten interested in DSTAR operation. For mobile operation I use an ICOM ID-5100 dual band transceiver. In the shack I have a ICOM IC-7100 HF/VHF/UHF transceiver in the GoBox. Portable operation is via an ICOM ID-51 HT. I am a backup administrator for the Aiken and Beech Island DSTAR repeaters, KR4AIK and KM4LOD respectively.

I also have a Raspberry Pi operating (headless) as an APRS digipeater using my old ICOM IC-2100H 2 meter transceiver. Paired with my Radioddity DB25-D a second Raspberry Pi operates as a DMR Access Point with a DVMega daughter board for Brandmeister access. Operation is at 443.900 Mhz. I also have the DB25-D programmed for the SCEMD PRN repeaters used for SC emergency communications. My DMR HT’ is Anytone D878UV.

My current contest achievements include:

  • 2012 CQ WW 160 Meter SSB Contest – 1st place SC Single Op Low Power
  • 2013 ARRL 10 Meter SSB DX Contest – 1st place SC Single Op Low Power
  • 2014 ARRL 10 Meter SSB DX Contest – 1st Place SC Single Op Low Power
  • 2014 CQ WW 160 Meter SSB Contest – 1st place SC Single Op Low Power
  • 2014 CQ WW SSB Contest – 3rd place US Single Op 40 Meters High Power Assisted, 4th NA
  • 2015 CQ WW 160 Meter SSB Contest – 1st place SC Single Op Low Power
  • 2015 ARRL 10 Meter SSB DX Contest – 2nd Place SC, 3rd Place Roanoke Single Op Low Power
  • 2016 CQ WW 160 Meter SSB Contest – 1st Place SC Single Op Low Power
  • 2016 ARRL 160 Meter Contest – 3rd Place SC Single Op Low Power
  • 2017 CQ WW 160 Meter SSB Contest – 2nd Place SC Single Op Low Power
  • 2018 CQ WW 160 Meter SSB Contest – 4th Place Roanoke Single Op Low Power
  • 2022 NAQP SSB Contest – 2nd Place SC Single Op Low Power
  • 2022 ARRL RTTY Roundup Contest – 2nd Place SC, 4th Place Roanoke Single Op Low Power

My DXCC record (current) is 317 countries confirmed (mixed). I have 5BDXCC #8899 and 100+ countries on 30M, 17M and 12M. I have 288 countries confirmed (DXCC #3,210) in digital modes. On 160M, I have 46 states, and 45 countries confirmed.