KG2S Shack

KG2S Happenings

The Spark

I got my start with Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) in 1978. I am pretty sure it is genetic, because my Dad, John Souva (KC2BWQ), was a radio operator in the US Navy. His interest in radios, antennas and knowing the Morse Code is what got me hooked. My Dad recently became a silent key, but I will always remember his motivation to push me to Ham Radio and learning the code. I truly miss my Dad and our discussions about his days of tuning radios and gigantic amplifiers on-board the ships he served. Dad - thanks for the spark!

Discovering Ham Radio

My Dad was likely tired of me ripping apart his AM tube radios and examining every component, so he introduced me to Mr. Ted Davis (WB2MNA) and the Griffiss AFB Ham Radio Club. During that same timeframe, I also met Mr. Dave Meyers (formerly WB2EXN, now N7LO) and he helped coach me through some of the Novice code requirements. Ted and Dave pushed me to enroll in a class at the Griffiss club during weekends. Ted even provided transportation from my hometown! After I passed the Novice exam and licensed as KA2AEW, these two operators were also responsible for getting me on the air and working my first CW QSO. Ted is now a silent key and I have lost track of Dave after he moved on to bigger and better things. Thanks to Ted and Dave, Ham Radio is my lifelong hobby.

Novice/General Bands

My early days of Ham Radio were restricted to the Novice CW bands. To get me started I worked at the local grocery store the entire summer and fall of 1978 to save enough for radio gear. After I had enough money, I purchased a brand-new Kenwood TS-520S, MFJ tuner, straight key, and assumed control my parent's 11-Meter beam (for use on 10-Meters). As luck would have it my Ham Radio journey started in the middle of Solar Cycle 21 and DX on the 10-Meter Band was plentiful. Thanks to all this great DX, it didn't take long for me to build up my code skills and I soon upgraded to General Class. Back in those days, Ham Radio exams were administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). I stayed active in Ham Radio through college and even started the SUNY College of Technology Amateur Radio Club in 1983. After graduation in 1984, I stayed active until I joined the United States Air Force 1985. Except for a couple of random contacts, I was mostly inactive until 1996.

Those moments of inactivity did have a few highlights. As an Aircraft Maintenance Officer stationed at Mountain Home AFB in Idaho, I had rare access to a rather unique transceiver. When the HF radio was reported inoperable in one of the jets, I volunteered to help one of the Comm/Nav NCOs with the troubleshooting. After removing and replacing the HF radio, we [obviously] needed to test it and naturally my skills on the amateur radio bands came into play. We made a SSB contact on 40-Meters from the cockpit of an F-111A. I never told the other operator our exact location.

License/Station Upgrades

In 1996, I bought a house in Camden NY (present QTH) and restarted my journey. After a couple of months in my new house, I purchased a used Kenwood TS-520S and erected a multiband dipole fed with ladder line. Next, I constructed a homebrew 10-Meter yagi and put it on a homebrew 30-foot mast. This antenna setup allowed me to work the world with this beam until the sun spots bottomed out. Somewhere in the middle of this timeframe, I decided that I wanted an Advanced Class License. With a little bit of studying, I was back in the game and upgraded. I also upgraded the license callsign to KG2GT.

After the license upgrade, I decided to upgrade the HF beam too. So, I put a Mosley tribander on the mast and used this configuration for a couple of years. For the next antenna change, I replaced the tribander and installed a Tennadyne T-6 Log Periodic on the mast. This configuration lasted until the mast itself snapped in half and the antenna landed on my garage roof. That was the end of the homebrew mast. As an interim solution, I erected a ground mounted vertical (Butternut HF6V) in the backyard. I also took the time to fix the wounded T-6, but I needed a new mounting solution for the antenna. At this point, I decided to get serious about my Ham Radio goals and support structures for my future antennas. It also ended my time as an Advanced Class licensee. My next goal was Amateur Extra. Back then, I had to pass the 20 WPM CW test. To get it done, I unplugged the microphone and spent three months in the CW bands working as many stations as I could find. When it was test time, the CW was a breeze and the technical part of the test was easy for me. When I received the upgrade, I also chose a vanity callsign. KG2S seemed like a good fit.

In 2002, I celebrated my new callsign and license privileges and put a US Tower TX-455 in the back yard. The tower project took quite a while to accomplish and the job included a backhoe, rebar cage, and a concrete truck delivering 4 1/2 yards of concrete into the ground. My initial antenna stack included the T-6 and a Cushcraft 13 element 2-Meter beam. Over the years, I have been adding and hanging numerous antennas on and off the tower. Learning never ends. And that is good!

KG2S Today

My current ham radio station here in Camden NY is modest, but it gets the job done. At the center of my Ham Shack is a Kenwood TS-590SG HF/6M transceiver. I also have an AL-80B HF 1KW amplifier. At the top of the tower, the antenna setup now includes the Tennadyne T-6 at 56 feet, a 40-Meter Cushcraft D-40 rotatable dipole at 62 feet, and a Cushcraft A505S 5 element 6-Meter yagi at 66 feet. The other antennas in my small antenna farm include a fan dipole for 160-Meters and 80-Meters. This antenna uses Balun Designs 1:1 balun and a homebrew coax wound RF choke (on a 4" PVC pipe) that allows me to use my RF amplifier on 160-Meters. The newest antenna is a homebrew 30-Meter Delta Loop. This loop sits between the tower and my giant White Pine tree. The Delta Loop is a homebrew antenna that uses a segment of RG-6 75-ohm coax for the matching section. I have modeled the Delta Loop with EZNEC and have shared the design here.

Links

Looking for some Ham Radio links? Here is a small list of links that I use from time-to-time. Feel free to drop me an email and tell me if any of the links are dead. Better yet - write me with some new links and I'll add them!

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