Hi, my name is Hank and I became a ham in 1985. I tested in December 1984 and waited impatiently for the ticket to arrive in the mail. The day it arrived was one of the happiest days in my life. I upgraded to Technician in 1987, and then to General in 2007.Finally, in February of 2012 I upgraded to Extra. I have kept my call throughout every upgrade.
I got into Amateur Radio through my Grandfather - W4GHA. He was the greatest Elmer I could have had and a huge inspiration for the track I have chosen to follow. His love for the hobby and respect for courtesy and doing things right has stuck with me to this very day. I started with SWL, then on to scanners, and finally CB Radio. It wasn't long afterwards that I started looking into becoming a Ham. With his assistance, I learned the theory, picked up the code, and got my ticket.
While stationed in Turkey with the USAF, I got my Turkish call - TA5ZC. I had a Drake TR-4C feeding a multiband dipole in the attic. In the years I was there, I made thousands of great contacts with that call sign, and made some good friends too. I also met some nice German hams and Hungarian hams while over there, and was fortunate enough to work Field Day on the Mediterranean Sea with the joint Turkish/Hungarian team of TA5KA.
After getting out of the USAF, life got in the way and I took about a 10 year break from Amateur Radio. When I became active again, my interest in HF had really grown. While I like many aspects of Amateur Radio, my passion is HF. I also believe in the emergency communications aspect of Amateur Radio. I am a member of the Seminole County ARES/RACES group here in Central Florida.
Today my home setup is a Yaesu FT-897D feeding a 29.5' dipole in the attic. I am tuning it with an LDG AT-897 tuner and have the MD-100A8X microphone. The antenna is far from optimal, but it's what I have to work with at the moment. For VHF/UHF, I have an Arrow dual-band J-Pole antenna in the attic. I also have a Yaesu FT-8800R that I am using as a cross-band repeater, and I will soon hook it up to EchoLink.
For HT use I have a Kenwood TH-G71A, a Yaesu VX-170, and a Wouxun KG-UVD1P. I use a Bearcat BC-895XLT, a Radio Shack Pro-164, and a Radio Shack Pro-2033 for scanning. For digital, I have an AEA PK-232MBX with all of the Timewave upgrades, and an Optoelectronics Optocom SDR receiver.
My mobile setup consists of a Yaesu FT-857D with an ATAS-120A antenna for HF and the MFJ-1432 for VHFUHF. I swapped the stock mic with the MH-59A, and it is a great addition. The MH-59A sounds great, and I like being able to control most of the rig with the mic instead of the front panels. I have worked numerous countries with my mobile station, and it has made my drive home in traffic rather enjoyable.
I am a member of the following organizations:
- Orlando Amateur Radio Club
- Lake Monroe Amateur Radio Society
- Seminole County ARES/RACES Group
- Treasure Coaster's Net