I went to work for North American Aviation on the Apollo Project in the mid-60’s, we were raising a family, and ham radio had to take a back seat to other interests. We were in and out of it, periodically, over the next 40 years. I retired in 2000 and hadn’t really kept up with what was going on in radio. Grace received a flyer for the Austin SummerFest that year and we decided to go, just for fun. The first person I met going into SummerFest was Gary Schmidt, W5ZL (SK), who I had known from my Busacker days. Gary was selling some gear and I left the hamfest with a Kenwood TS-440 and other goodies. Back on the air again!
Shortly thereafter, Gary introduced me to Gerald Youngblood, CEO of FlexRadio. I ended up buying an SDR-1000 and started writing code for Flex on a volunteer basis. That association (and friendship) has continued on to the present. Our station is now exclusively software defined radio, currently a Flex 6700, and I continued to write and maintain code for Flex until I decided to "retire" in 2016 but still work the FlexRadio booth at numerous hamfests. Our station is on the second floor of our home, one room dedicated to radio. The photos on the accompanying pages tell the rest of the story.
Our current shack consists of a FlexRadio Flex-6700 transceiver driving an Ameritron AL-80B amplifier. We also have a FlexRadio Maestro console for remote operation. Antenna switching is done with an Ameritron QSK-5 T/R switch and an Ameritron five position coax switch for antenna selection. Other accessories include a Kenwood SM-220 CRT monitor and a Power Master digital watt/SWR meter.
Our antennas are atop a U.S. Towers TMM-541SS 41 foot crank-up with motor drive. For HF we use a dipole on 75 meters and a Tennadyne T-8 log periodic for 20 through 10 meters. The VHF/UHF is a Tennadyne T-28 which covers 50 to 1300 MHz. The motor drive for the tower was homebrewed from plans in the ARRL Antenna Manual. It is a nice thing to
have given the springtime thunderstorm activity we often see here in Central Texas. The tower cranks down to 12 1/2 feet, and folds over which makes it easy to do antenna/rotor maintenance.
Neither Grace nor myself are extremely active anymore. I am on 75 meters almost every morning, talking to the same bunch of "old" guys I've talked to for years, some of them I've known for over 50 years. I occasionally wander up to 20 meters to chase DX or put in an obligitory hour in a contest. I am active on six meters during the ARRL VHF contests or when the "magic" band opens up. More photos in the Gallery.