K0LEE.com Sitemap

Other Hobbies

K0LEE Ham Background and Equipment

I've been a licensed ham radio operator since 1976.  My first call was WB3BUK which I got as a teenager.  I accidentally let it expire but was able to renew it during the grace period and got a new call in 1991, N3IWP.   I upgraded to from a Tech Plus to Advanced class in June 1998 and my new callsign became KI0NI.  In March 1999, I got a vanity call, K0LEE.  I figured this would make it easy to associate my name with my call.   On June 12, 1999, I passed the written and 20 wpm code test for the Extra class license.  I wanted to do this before they reduced the Extra code requirement to 5 wpm because I'm working on building up my bragging rights which are a negotiable asset in the world of ham radio.  I look forward to the days where I can be an old codger telling the newbies how in my day, we had to copy 20 wpm to get an Extra class license, not a measly 5 wpm, or worse, no Morse code at all.   :-)

I was not a very active ham during my early years and there were times where I tried to make up for lost time now.   I guess this is understandable since ham equipment can be expensive. I would not have wasted so much time in my early years had I realized that there are plenty of radios out there that are inexpensive and fully depreciated. You can generally find a lot of them at 'hamfests,' a sort of flea market dedicated to equipment only ham radio enthusiasts can appreciate. You can use one of these older radios for a year or two and then sell it for nearly what you paid when you're ready to upgrade.  

I spent much of my ham career limited to the VHF/UHF bands, working mostly on 2 meters.  My Elmer, Dave, W0LEV loaned me an MFJ 40M QRP rig and I used it to get my code speed up to 13 wpm.  Looking back at it, making my first contacts using a straight key on that QRP rig was some of the most fun I've had with ham radio.

Shortly after making some contacts on the borrowed QRP rig, I purchased my first HF rig, a used Kenwood TS-830S.  I had it for about a year and then sold it when I bought a Yaesu FT847.  This is an all-in-one rig which has an incredible array of features, most notably the ability to work on HF, 6M, 2M, and 440Mhz.  It's also got some neat satellite features.

I currently use a wire antenna called a G5RV suspended about 30' at its center and arranged like and 'Inverted V'. The G5RV I'm using is a wire antenna, 102' long center fed with 31' of twin lead with a 4:1 balun. The balun attaches to about 60' of coax. Some G5RV antennas use ladder line all the way to the antenna tuner. The ladder line is part of the antenna system so you can't run it near other conductors without regard for how they affect its radiating characteristics.  I am using an AT11 autotuner from LDG electronics that I built from a kit.  A G5RV needs a tuner because resonances of the antenna do not all end up in the middle of the amateur bands.  The SWR of the G5RV in most bands exceeds 3:1 so if you want to use a G5RV then you can't use autotuners that can only handle 3:1 SWR mismatches or less.  

The other equipment I have accumulated consists of the following:

Yaesu FT50 dual band (now belongs to my wife Terri, KC0GGC)
Yaesu FT51 dual band HT
Yaesu FT847
Yaesu FT100  all mode mobile w/ATAS100 antenna
Yaesu FT90 (in Terri's car)
Yaesu FT1500M (for APRS)


G5RV, Antron 99, Arrow dual-band 144/440 J-poles (3), Arrow 440 Mhz Yagi (2),  Arrow 144 Mhz Yagi, Arrow Satellite (2)  ( I must be one of Arrow's best customers)

Tigertronics BP2M modem
TAPR PIC-E mic encoder
Byonics TinyTrak encoders
PK232MBX/DSP Multimode controller
AT11 autotuner
MJF 949 Antenna Tuner
MFJ 259 SWR Analyzer

Return to Lee Devlin's Ham Page