lake travis, tx

Youtube Channel

I have a YouTube channel where I post stuff that is interesting to me. I can't say anyone else would be interested, but check it out if you like.

Six Meters

My favorite band is six meters. I operated six meters back in the mid-1970's from Huntsville, AL using my dad's station which was a Lafayette HA-460 transceiver then later a Utica 650 transceiver with some sort of large 6 or 7 element beam up about 40 feet. I can't remember what kind of antenna it was.

We operated AM only, no sideband or cw. My dad even ran the HA-460 mobile for a while with a squalo antenna mounted to the back bumper of the station wagon where it rode 2 or 3 feet up above the car.

There was a lot of local six meter activity in Huntsville back in those days. A net was held twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays and there would be 30 or 40 check ins from all over North Alabama. My dad and I would have ragchew sessions on Sunday afternoons with several local guys. Operating six was a lot of fun back then, even though it was all low power AM.

I got back on six meters in October 2013, after being off the band for about 35 years. I'm not sure what took me so long to get back on the band but I put a 2 element beam on the tower and it's up about 45 feet. I use a Ten Tec OMNI VII and an Elecraft KPA 500 amplifier when needed.

I've been keeping some records since I got back on six meters and I've put them in the table below. Confirmed means confirmed with a paper QSL card. I get more confirmations through paper QSL cards than I do through the ARRL Logbook of the World.

Some of the contacts listed in the table are from 2003 or so when I used my Tennadyne T6 on six meters and managed to snag some stations. I don't think the T6 is really meant to work on six meters but the internal tuner on the radio did allow the antenna to be used. My confirmed Hawaii contact occurred during that time so I guess it worked well enough.

My SMIRK number is 6974.

May 27, 2016
Total QSOs
States Worked/
Grid Squares Worked/
DXCC Entities
SMIRK Members
142/377 36/36 164/123 10 71/47

Station Description

Ten Tec OMNI VII Ten Tec OMNI VII transceiver

N4PY Control Panel

N4PY Control Panel

HDSDR main display

HDSDR Display

The station as of January 2016

Station photo January 2016 - click photo for larger image

Ten Tec Eagle
Ten Tec Eagle

On July 30, 2015 UPS delivered a new Ten Tec Eagle transceiver. Ten Tec had run a sale on them at a price I couldn't turn down.

I like it a lot. The radio came equipped with the internal tuner, noise blanker, CW filter, and hand microphone.

I added the 6 khz AM filter.

Primary Station

My main station transceiver is a Ten Tec OMNI VII which I operate using the N4PY control software.

The combination of the N4PY software, the Omni VII, and the Model 302 remote tuning encoder works really well. Every button on the remote encoder except the 'E' button can be set through the software to perform a different function.

If you choose which functions you want to perform through the buttons you can almost operate the radio without having to take your hand off of the encoder.

My computer has four 9-pin serial ports. The radio, the KPA500 amplifier, and the serial relay board are plugged into three of the ports. The N4PY software talks to all three devices so that the amplifier automatically changes bands when the radio changes bands. The proper antenna for each band is automatically selected through the serial relay board which is wired into the Ameritron RCS-8V antenna switch.

The logging software reads the frequency and mode from the Omni VII when I make a new log entry so that I don't have to remember to do it.

The N4PY software talks to the HDSDR software that controls the SDRPlay software defined receiver. The SDR provides a second receiver and panadapter up through six meters for the Omni VII. When the radio is tuned the SDR follows and when a signal is mouse-clicked in the SDR panadapter display the Omni VII is tuned to that frequency.

Up until recently the SDR that I used to provide the panadapter display for the OMNI VII was the Softrock Ensemble II. But I swapped out the Ensemble II for an SDRPlay because:

  • The SDRPlay covers six meters. 30mhz was the highest frequency coverage for my version of the Ensemble II.
  • The SDRPlay doesn't require a connection to the sound card. The only connections are the USB and antenna jacks. The radio is powered from the USB connector.
  • The panadapter display can cover up to 8mhz. The Ensemble II panadapter range was dictated by the sound card which in my case is 192khz. This is fine for most ham bands but not quite enough for the shortwave broadcast band. It's nice to expand the coverage to 500 or 600khz to take in a whole band.

The station equipment is:

  • Ten Tec OMNI VII transceiver (main)
  • Ten Tec Eagle transceiver
  • Yaesu FT-817ND transceiver (portable/QRP)
  • Telepost Inc. LP-100A watt meter
  • Ameritron RCS-8V remote antenna switch
  • SignaLink USB digital interface
  • Begali Magnetic Professional dual paddle connected to the Eagle
  • Hy-gain Ham IV rotator and controller
  • Elecraft KPA500 amplifier
  • LDG AT-1000ProII antenna tuner
  • SDRPlay software defined receiver
  • Rohn 25G tower, about 40 feet tall
  • Tennadyne T6 log periodic antenna for 20 through 10 meters
  • Diamond A502HB 2 element beam for six meters
  • Dipole antennas for 30 and 40 meters
  • Diamond X-50 ground plane antenna for 144/440 mhz
and other sundry items like power supplies, microphones, speakers, etc.

I have a YouTube channel with a few videos that demonstrate several different features of the N4PY software controlling the Omni VII:

Early Ham Years

I got my Novice license in 1971 and call sign WN4UPI. I kept my Novice license for the entire 2-year term then upgraded to Technician class, then General class. My dad was always trading stuff so I had several different radios as a Novice but my favorites were the Heathkit DX-60 transmitter and the RME-6900 receiver.

I made something over 600 contacts as a Novice, which was an average of about 5 or 6 QSO's per week. I'm sure sometimes I operated more each week and sometimes less.

Professional Career

IBM 370 Model 138, around 1980

IBM 370 Model 138, around 1980 at General Computer Services in Huntsville, AL

Professionally I have worked in the computer software industry since 1975, almost exclusively in the IBM mainframe world. I started on an IBM 360 Model 50, then a 370 Model 138, 3031, 3033, and so on up to the current generation of mainframes. I've worked as a computer operator, CICS systems programmer, production support manager, applications programmer, and various other things.

I've worked for a bank, an insurance company, and a couple of contract companies but for most of my career I have worked for software companies.

Currently I do software development and support for SAS (formerly SAS Institute). When I started at SAS in 1996 I provided technical support for the SYSTEM 2000 Database Management Software but now I do development and support for SAS Fraud Management.

I don't do it any more but I used to write software for my own use. I wrote a packet radio terminal program (remember packet radio?) for the Atari 800 and I wrote a control program for my Ten Tec RX-320 receiver that ran on Palm OS PDAs. My favorite programming language is REXX which started out as a scripting language for VM/CMS. Now it runs under z/OS as well as DOS, Windows, Linux, and I think even on Apple computers.

The extent of my software coding for personal use these days limited to writing small SAS programs to produce various reports from the Logic 9 software log database. I also write utility software on the mainframe for my own use using ISPF, REXX, COBOL, and SAS and sometimes a little assembler language code where needed.