My Ham Radio Journey

I was first introduced to radios by my dad, Glen Aycock, who was big into CB radio. I have fond memories of, my dad, and my brothers outside putting up or adjusting an antenna, always in the worst possible weather (snowing, or pending thunderstorms). In 1996, we decided to get our Ham licenses together and began studying for the test. At the time, the Technician Plus license class did not require passing the CW code test. We both passed the Technician Plus test and received sequential callsigns. My dad was KF6IDA and I was KF6IDB. We started by purchasing some handheld radios from Radio Shack and programming them for various local repeaters. We had a blast with those radios, and I still have mine for nostalgia. We eventually upgraded to better dual-band handhelds that were smaller, lighter, and had more functions. Several years later, the code requirement was removed, as well as two of the five license classes, at which point we were grandfathered and became Technicians (dropping the “plus”).

Later on, my dad moved further away, and we both somewhat fell out of the hobby for many years. In 2017, my interest in Ham Radio was rekindled. I discovered that my license had expired in November 2016 and time was quickly running out for me to renew it. My dad and I both renewed our licenses online and I started getting back into the hobby. In March of 2018, my dad and I both upgraded our licenses to General class and applied for vanity callsigns. I received my vanity call, N6LKA, and my dad received his, K5LGA. In December of 2018, I completed my final license upgrade to Extra class.

In October of 2018, I purchased an Icom IC-7300 with the AH-4 automatic antenna tuner from a friend, AD5MT. He helped me install a wire antenna just outside my apartment in a tree and introduced me to HF radio. In early 2019, I upgraded to the Icom IC-7610 and a Heil PR781G microphone. My wife and I have since purchased a house with a large backyard, ideal for a tower. At the moment, I still use the AH-4 antenna tuner with a long wire in an end-fed inverted V configuration going up approx 50 feet at the apex in some trees in my backyard. I have purchased a forty-foot ROHN 25 tower to install in the backyard, along with a HexBeam antenna for 20-6m, and an OCF Dipole antenna for 30-80m that I am in the process of installing. The IC-7300 was repurposed and installed in a portable setup for Field Day/Portable/EmComm (see pics). I also have an IC-705 for portable/QRP work with various portable antennas (Buddipole, mag loops, MPAS, etc.) for a much more portable and quicker setup. I plan to use the IC-705 for POTA.

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