www.RogerWendell.com
Roger J. Wendell
Defending 3.8 Billion Years of Organic EvolutionSM
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WBØJNR
First licensed in 1970, Amateur Extra class license since 1982...
(I also hold a General Radio Telephone License)

WBØJNR Station, Argonaut 505 and Vibroplex - May, 1974 My Amateur
Radio Station

 
The photo at left is from my 1974 shack when I was a teenager. In includes a Ten Tec Argonaut (model 505), Multi Elmac AF-68, a Vibroplex, a relative signal strength meter (upper left), a large 12 volt car battery, and a bunch of other stuff I'm not able to identify at this time! On my QRP page I have a few photos of small projects I was working on in early 1975...

 

 

YouTube Logo Click Here for the YouTube video of my station!

Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my tribute to Morse telegraphy!

My Shack:

My current shack, by past standards, is relatively modest except for the two computers (one is across the room out of view). One computer is a Unix box and the other is a Windows machine. Nevertheless, I don't use the computers for any kind of control or logging (yet) as I like to keep things really simple with low power QRP gear, basic antennas, and paper logs. Of course my gear and the shack's configuration is always changing but what you see here was pretty much the theme going well into the 2nd decade of the 2nd millenium!

(Click on any "thumbnail" image for a larger view)

Clean Desk
Clean Desk...
Messy Desk
Messy Desk...
Elcraft K1 and Kenwood TR-751A
K1 and TR-751A
Clean Desk
K1 and TR-751A
Kenwood R600 General Coverage Receiver
Kenwood R600
My Messy Winter Desk - 12-30-2006
Messy Winter Desk...

R. A. Kent Iambic Paddle
R. A. Kent
My keyer of choice remains AEA's MorseMachine - I still have the original one although I understand they may be up to version three by now (mid 2000s)... Anyway, I've always loved clean, crisp code and avoid using straight keys and springloaded devices as a result. For now I'm using an R. A. Kent Iambic paddle that's a very solid, "weighty" device that suits me well. Again, I don't use the computer or any other device for copying code - that's something I still enjoy doing for myself!

 

My Antenna - Doublet, Zepp, Double Zepp, or Dipole?

As these pictures will illustrate, I occassionally experiment with my antenna by changing its length, feedline, balun, and other parts and hardware. The main theme, for me, is simple wire antennas! Although I've used all kinds of beams, yagis, rhombics (when I was a Coast Guard radioman), dishes and other directional antennas my choice at home is wire. The reason is because wire (until the heafty price increases for copper around 2007 or so) is inexpensive, easy to work with, and doesn't seem to ever bother my neighbors.

So, you can see from these photos I've been mostly playing around with dipoles, "Doublets," and "Zepps" (Zepp is short for Zeppelin and is any resonant antenna end-fed by ladder line. A Double Zepp is a center-fed 1/2 wavelength antenna. The double extended Zepp is a dipole type Antenna consisting of two collinear 0.64 wave length elements fed in phase - providing 3 db gain over a dipole on the band it's designed for...)

The wire I've been using, for the "dipole" part of my antenna is 10 gauge stranded copper that's been cut, usually, to around 88 feet (26.8 metres) or sometimes to quarter wave-length (on each side) for the 40 meter band. In the past I fed the antenna with 300 Ohm twin-lead ("ladder line") that was attached to an LDG Electronics 4:1 Balun. The Balun immediately "plugs-in" to the BNC connector on the backside of my K1 transciever via some PL-259/SO-239/BNC connector adapters. Although a balun ("Balun" stands for balanced-unbalanced matching transformer) is easy to build I purchased this one becuase the price was right at the time. However, I'm not sure what improvement it provided as I've made contacts all over the northern hemisphere using just one Watt on 20 and 40 meters CW.

I think the easiest, and most successful antenna for me has been the 88 foot doublet fed with 450 Ohm ladder line strait out of my antenna tuner. That configuration has provided the broadest spectrum of coverage across most of the bands and has been easy to maintain because both the feed line and dipole lend themselves to quick soldering and other repairs. Either way, I'll continue to experiment with various wire combinations as I live on a very steep residential lot with a couple hundred metres of Conglomerate (rock consisting of individual clasts within a finer-grained matrix that have become cemented together...) blocking my view of the horizon in a couple of directions...

 

450 Ohm Ladder Line from early 2008 to present: (interrupted during the summer of 2011 for a roof replacement!)

450 Ohm Ladder Line Antenna Construction - 04-20-2008
Construction
450 Ohm Ladder Line Antenna Ceramic Center Insulator - 04-20-2008
Ceramic insulator
450 Ohm Ladder Line Dipole Antenna - 04-20-2008
Dipole
450 Ohm Ladder Line Zepp Antenna - 04-20-2008
Doublet
450 Ohm Ladder Line Twisting in the Wind - 04-20-2008
Twisting in the wind...
Added this end-pulley in October, 2011
End-pulley

 

300 Ohm "twin-lead" from about 2002 through early 2008:

Wooden Junction - July 15, 2006
Wooden insulator!
Dipole and Ladder Line Connection - July 15, 2006
Close-up
Roger J. Wendell Dipole - July 15, 2006
Dipole
Looking up the ladder line - July 15, 2006
Looking up the Ladder Line
4:1 Balun - July 17, 2006
4:1 voltage Balun
Balun Toroid Coil - July 17, 2006
Balun Toroid

 

Dipole Discussion:

As you can see, a dipole is about the most difficult antenna to photograph because it's long, thin, and hard to see! The good news, as you can see from the above photos, is that dipoles are easy to make, install, and maintain. I've even used versions of this one to make contacts all over the hemisphere with and without the balun using just one Watt of output power! I also saved some time and money by making the connection between the twin-lead and dipole out of a piece of wood at one time! Other hams sometimes place the balun right at that central point (feeding it with coax) while other's use a "Ladder Grabber" or plastic pieces to join feed line and antenna. My "center piece" of choice (so to speak!) is a ceramic insulator but they're getting harder and harder to find if you happen to break one (or two or three...) All in all, the dipole/Doublet/Zepp works well, is inexpensive, easy to install, and a good choice in neighborhoods with antenna restrictions! - WBØJNR

Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my antenna page!

 

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Previous Shack(s):

Here are some pix from my station when we
lived near Cherry Creek Reservoir, southeast
of Denver, from 1980 to 2002:

Left Side of My Station In the middle is a Kenwood R-600 general coverage receiver (This was Kenwood's first digital model).  The Wooden Radio sitting on top of it is something I "won" in 1999.  The Colorado QRP Club awards the Wooden Radio to members who have experienced something humerous as it relates to radio...   Next to the wooden radio award is an AEA Morse Machine 3 sitting on the rotor control for my 15 element two meter beam. Everything you see in these photos was powered by solar (We're using Xcel Energy's WindSource until I can get the panels back up at the new house...).

 

Christmas Key and Vibroplex The Vibroplex (SN 68256) "drives" my solar powered AEA MorseMachine 3 electronic keyer. I enjoy the Vibroplex immensely but kept losing contact continuity over extended periods of use. Taking the contact points in to a jewler for gold plating seems to have solved the problem! The Morse Express 2001 "Christmas" key (SN 003) is a completely functional (and comfortable!) miniature hand key that offers all the adjustments and stability of larger models. Designed by N1FN, only 200 of these keys were manufactured, by hand, in Europe by Llaves Telegraficas Artesanas.

Right Side of My Station This is the right side of my shack.  That's a Kenwood TR-751A all mode two meter transciever (I've worked about 30 states on CW through Tropo, Meteors and E openings). Further to the right is an ICOM 735 ("Cranked Down" to 3 watts output), and an Oak Hills Research WM-1 wattmeter (It's half hidden but has a knob sticking out next to the base of my Low Pass Filter) and an American Optics microscope. Farthest right is an MFJ-941E Tunner for the 300 ohm ladder line that feeds the Zepp.

 

Coast Guard Portable

Roger J. Wendell and his Tempo FMP 2 meter rig, homebrew ant and TenTec KR50 - May 1976
Age 20, Hawai'i, 1976
While I was in the Coast Guard I had plenty of access to Club Stations like KH6UL (O'ahu) and W6ZZM (Petaluma). However, like everyone else, I always loved having access to my own gear - even in the barracks as suggested by this photo from NMO. I believe that Tempo FMP was my first two meter rig. The antenna was a "homebrew" quarter-wave vertical with my own idea for a ground plane (it can be seen above my head if you look carefully). I used the TenTec KR50 for Ham Radio purposes but never on the job at NMO. Why? Even though I was the Coast Guard's fastest CW (Morse code) operator I was protesting the use of Vibroplex-type "bugs" throughout the service. So, since I refused to use or be tested with a "bug" (very few operators, if any, could send decent code with 'em anyway) I wasn't allowed to use a keyer (which made absolutely no sense at all but, hey, this was the government we're talking about - bureaucracies are the same the world over!)! So, this little incident proves I've always been a curmudgeon - even as a teenager!
 

 

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Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for QRP and amateur radio!
Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for the International Morse code alphabet and phonetics
Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here Wooden QSL cards!

 

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Gear I used to own:

Two Icom Handhelds On August 22, 2004 (After 24 years of ownership) I finally sold my two Icom Handhelds for a whopping $40 at the Denver Radio Club's JeffCo Hamfest! I think an Edge of Space guy bought 'em for Direction Finding practice. Anyway, I advertised these two units, along with wall chargers, drop-in charger, cigarette lighter adaptor, and extra batteries for a couple of months on the Internet with no takers. I guess sub-audible tones, memory, scan and other features are what's needed in a modern hand-held!

Rohn 25g At that same Jeffco Hamfest (above) I also parted with, sadly, three sections of Rohn 25g tower. I used that tower for almost 14 years at my southeast Aurora (Cherry Creek Reservoir) QTH but couldn't "swing" a beam around at our new house on Green Mountain. The three sections of tower (one was the "topper"), rotor mounting plate, and house mounting bracket went to Vince and another guy up in Berthod in a complex sale that totaled $100 (The complexity was from a variety of offers, most of which didn't want all five pieces). Not bad considering there was so much tower hardware on the market at that time!!

Beam and Zepp In some private sales, during the summer of 2004, I teafully parted with my 15 element Cuschcraft 215WB two meter beam ($60) and my Ham IV Rotator system ($235) since I couldn't get too much use out of 'em at my new Green Mountain home. Shown here, also, was the Zepp (cut for 40 meters) I used at my southeast Aurora (Cherry Creek Reservoir) QTH. The angle of the Zepp, in this photo, is distorted because of the position of the photographer (I'm standing on the roof). Directly above the 215WB Cushcraft is the base of a Ringo Ranger II. I still use that same Ringo but the three radial pieces have long since broken off. I have good two meter coverage, looking east, but nothing compared to that southeast Aurora QTH where my elevation was 5,700 feet and the radio "shadow" of the Rocky Mountains was still 30 miles to the west of me. Back then it was common for me to work Cheyenne, Pueblo, Limon, and numerous mountain towns using two meter simplex at 20 Watt soutput!!!

 

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Links:

  1. Antennas!
  2. ARRL - American Radio Relay League
  3. Art and Skill of Radio-Telepgraphy by NØHFF
  4. Coast Guard Club and Amateur Radio Net
  5. Coast Guard Radioman
  6. CQC - Colorado QRP Club
  7. CWCom Morse Code over the Internet
  8. Extra Class - A Lament...
  9. Hand Keys on display by OZ2CPU
  10. FISTS The International Morse Preservation Society
  11. K3WWP's Successful Procedures for CW QSO's
  12. K9DE Learning and Using Morse Code
  13. KGNU - I also "play" with some public broadcasting equpment too!
  1. Memorizing Morse code by Wolf at 1728 Software Systems
  2. Morse Code Company
  3. Morse code memories from telgraphers
  4. My Coast Guard page
  5. My Maritime page
  6. My Morse code page
  7. My Morse code alphabet and phonetics page
  8. N9BOR Loves Morse code!
  9. QRP and Amateur Radio
  10. Solar Flux and Terrestrial Activity
  11. Spark Gap info by John S. Belrose
  12. Spark Gap Recording from 1921 by VK7RO
  13. ZUT Coast Guard CW Operators Association

 

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