My first ham radio license was a Novice license in 1962, and the call was KN4NZL. I actually passed the General Class test before my Novice license came in the mail, and my first QSO was via my General call-sign, K4NZL. I upgraded to Extra Class in the late 1970’s while living in Houston, Texas. K4BB came along in the 1990’s as a vanity call that has my initials.
Most of the succeeding years were not spent comfortably working DX, checking into nets, or attending ham radio club meetings. Like many, many others I was busy raising a family, and pursuing a career. I would always tell people that I would get into ham radio when I was old. One day when I was in my late forties, I woke up and figured out that it was time. I was old.
Life in the ham radio world is good. Technology in ham radios has been such that you could almost not go wrong with relatively modern radio on the market. I bought an ICOM IC-735 in the mid-1980’s.
I started working CW on 20 meters using a G5RV antenna up about 35 feet. In almost no time at all, I had DXCC mixed, plus DXCC CW awards. The ICOM is a great radio, and a good used one would be a great first radio for any new ham.
My current main radio is a Kenwood TS-2000 that I have had for about ten years. I have to say that it is a very good radio, and because of the performance and operating features, it is difficult to see even the new generation SDR radios as clear improvements.
Antennas include a Cushcraft 3A tri-bander; Cushcraft R-6000 Vertical; and Alpha-Delta DX-CC 80-10 meter parallel dipole in inverted VEE configuration.
My HF/VHF/UHF mobile radio is yet another ICOM. The IC-7100 is one of the coolest radios on the market. I use Hamstick mobile antennas, but operate VHF FM most of the time when mobile.
The IC-7100 features a remote control head with touch screen. To change bands, just touch the megaHertz figures, find the desired band on the screen, and you are there. Boom! It’s that quick. The IC-7100 does not have an antenna tuner. I bought the LDG IT-100 automatic tuner. It was designed to specifically work with ICOM radios. It works very well, and costs a LOT less than the equivalent ICOM unit.
The reason I don’t need a tuner for mobile use is that I use a separate Hamstick antenna per band, and each one is optimized for that band.
OPERATING AND PERSONAL INFORMATION:
First Year Licensed: 1962 (KN4NZL Novice: K4NZL General) 54 Years in Ham Radio
North Fulton Amateur Radio League: Past President
Favorite Mode: CW
Member: NFARL, ARRL, FISTS, QCWA