N1AL's ham radio home page

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House with tower that is bent in the middle and damaged beam antenna
This is my antenna farm after a big windstorm in April 2004. The satellite
antennas in the foreground were not damaged at that time, but they got
crumpled when a big tree limb fell on them in another storm in 2008.

My Amateur Radio Curriculum Vitae

I've been involved in ham radio since I got my Novice license when I was in high school in 1968. I quickly upgraded to Advanced (in those days there was a waiting period before you could apply for the Extra) and became active in the CW traffic nets. I made BPL (Brass Pounders' League) several times and was the manager of the Eastern Area Slow Net for several years.

I attended Wesleyan University (Connecticut) from 1968-1972, graduating with a physics major. After that, I attended night school at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Hartford Graduate Center to get my Masters degree in engineering. I needed a day job to support myself, and the ARRL was just a few miles away in Newington, so I worked there as a W1AW operator while attending grad school from 1972 to 1976.

My first job out of school was designing amateur and marine radio equipment for R. L. Drake Company in Ohio. While I certainly did not play a big part in the glory days of Drake's ham radio history, I did do several designs while I was there, including the 220 MHz band module of the UV-3 tri-band FM transceiver, portions of the MRT-55 marine VHF radio, the MN-2700 high-power antenna tuner, and the L-75 kilowatt amplifier. In 1979 I moved to California to join Hewlett Packard company where I remained (even after they changed the name to Agilent Technologies) until I retired in 2005.

Over the years I have written many articles and other publications in the amateur radio field, and have received the QST "cover plaque" award three times. I am the author of several chapters of the ARRL Handbook: Modulation (2010 edition) DSP and Software Radio Design (2010) and Test Equipment and Measurements (2012). I also designed the electronics board for the sun sensor module in the AMSAT AO-40 satellite. I am a past President, Repeater Chairman, Secretary, Board member, and long-time newsletter editor of SCRA, the local ham radio club. I have earned DXCC (CW and mixed-mode), Bicentennial WAS, 40 WPM code proficiency and BPL, and I hold ARRL TA and TC appointments.

These days I have equipment to operate all bands from 1.8 to 2400 MHz (except the 33 cm band), but my antenna farm is a little disengaged at the moment (see photo above) so currently I'm limited to a wire dipole. Now that I'm retired, perhaps I can get more active in ham radio again.

My latest project is the Elecraft P3. This is a "panadapter", which is a type of special-purpose spectrum analyzer that connects to the IF output connector that is available on some receivers so that the operator can see all the signals on the band at one time. I both designed the electronics and wrote the firmware. The architecture is a software-defined radio (SDR) in which all the signal processing is done digitally (DSP).

Web articles by N1AL:
Homebrew remote coax antenna switch
Digital modulation modes with spreadsheet
Ultra-lightweight Morse code keyer paddle
Fan controller for MFJ-4125 power supply
The Elecraft K3 HF transceiver

List of published articles

Links

Organizations local to Santa Rosa, California
Sonoma County ACS - Auxiliary Communications Service (RACES)
SCRA - Sonoma County Radio Amateurs, Inc.
REDXA - Redwood Empire DX Association
VOMARC - Valley of the Moon Amateur Radio Club
ACARS - Adams Co. ARS (My old hometown club in Gettysburg, PA)
HSC Electronics Supply in Rohnert Park - lots of good experimenter stuff


Other ham radio organizations
ARRL - American Radio Relay League
AMSAT - Amateur Satellite Corporation
NCDXF - Northern California DX Foundation
NCCC - Northern California Contest Club
NorCal QRP Club (Lots of cool construction projects)
AC6V and eHam.net are excellent sources of ham info
QRZ.com - For looking up callsigns, etc.
FCC's site for the Amateur Radio Service


Ham equipment manufacturers
US manufacturers
Elecraft - Maker of the K3, my HF transceiver
Ten-Tec - Maker of the Orion, a competitor to the K3
MFJ - MFJ-4125 is the 12V power supply I use for the K3
Radio Shack - I have the HTX-202 HT and HTX-252 mobile
Japanese manufacturers
The "big three": ICOM, Yaesu, Kenwood
Alinco - Good VHF/UHF radios
Ham equipment distributors
Ham Radio Outlet - They have a store in Oakland
Amateur Electronic Supply - Another big distributor
Texas Towers - They sell equipment as well as towers
Universal Radio


Parts distributors
Digi-Key started long ago with a Morse "digital keyer" kit
Mouser - Digi-Key and Mouser are the biggest
Parts information
Octopart - Search engine for electronic parts
Download data sheets

Last update August 11, 2011