Where beer is brewed, Nothing is wrong,
Where beer is drunk, Life is good!

happy hairy spiders,
boiling in bile.
put 'em in a sandwich.
eat 'em with a smile.

belch in the bathroom,
puke in the halls.
eat mouldy onions and
breathe down the walls!

"BLECH" by B. KOOL 1967

Well now that my poetic license has been established, here is where I choose to live here in cyberspace. I once lived in Athens in timeandspace and then in Athens in Geocities cyberspace, but Yahoo rendered me homeless in 2009 when they closed down Geocities where I'd lived since 1996! Viva Yola my new cyberspace home! Bugger off Yahoo, bloody quitters! This AIN'T just no one dimensional nuclear techno-geek who lives here by GAWD! You want educational? Eat hemlock you Philistines, see what THAT will teach you!

Enough of that drivel. Well, here I am. Been an amateur radio operator since 1978 (actually had a one year Novice ticket back in 1964, but it ran out) and am QRV from 160M through 3456 GHz now that all my steel trees have finally sprouted and grown antennas! I love VHF, UHF and SHF but I'm also crazy about 160 .... go figure. Must be the difficulty hihi! I love to discuss the philosophical aspects of killer contesting with anyone who cares. In 1997 I changed my callsign from KA2DRH to K2DRH, something I'd wanted to do for years. That way I can still use the phonetics Kiss Two Dirty Rotten Hams. My XYL, Fran is N2KMA (Not Two Kiss My Ankle). I'm an Extra and Fran is a General.

In the fall of 1997 I moved from Athens, Alabama (EM64kt) (how a NYC boy wound up there is a saga all in itself) to Albany, IL (EN41vr) right on the Mississippi River. Started working on the towers in the spring of 98. I'm a retired Nuclear Instrumentation Systems Engineer from both Exelon (formerly ComEd) and TVA. Maybe I'll do some consulting ... maybe not.

Right now I'm QRV (most of the time hihi) on 6, 2, 222, 432, 902/3, 1296, 2304 and 3456 MHz with 50'of Rohn 45 rotating on top of 80' of Rohn 55. Antennas are 2x50' boom 11el m2 6M2.5WL, 2x36' boom m2 2M18XXX, 2x 34' boom 7wl 222 and 2X 32' boom 70CM13WL, 2x47 el 902 mHz, 2x55el 1296 mHz loop yagis. 2x76 el 2304 and 2x112 el 3456 loopers are on the same horizontal bar as the 902/3 and 1296 antennas. The 150' Rohn 45 HF tower has been taken down and 160' of rotating base 55G tower put back up. The new tower has a 4 bay 6M array of 8X7el with 1/2 wave spacing of the two antennas in each bay. The bottom bay is at 1wl above ground, and the bays have 1.5wl between them at 20, 50, 80 and 110 feet. The 4 bays are selectable in any combination. In June of 2014 finally got a few halfway serious HF antennas up at the top; a big KLM tribander and a HyGain shorty 40.

My first love in Ham Radio is VHF/UHF contesting. In just over 10 years I've won 50 contests so far as a Single OP, low power for the ARRL and high power for the CQWW VHF (there IS no low power category). I finally got 6 bands of antennas (with a single 6M) wired up and working on 30' of rotating 45G on top of the 80 foot tower during the summer of 2000 and won overall single op low power in the Sept 2000 VHF contest, then did it again in January 2001. Set new division and category records too! I won SOLP again in Sept 2002 and then took second place in Sept 2003, 2004 and 2005 but first again in 2006 and 2007 then dropped to second in 2008 but came back in 2009 only to drop to second again in 2010. In 2011 back on top after totally dusting the competition, but was sad that Ed K1TR got tossed off a mountain in NH and couldn't give me a run for the money (or trounce me like he usually does from that location). Added another win in 2012 but got my tail dusted again by Ed in 2013, 2014 and 2015 who regained his lofty perch. Took back top spot in 2016.

I won SOLP in January for 6 straight years 2001 to 2006 setting new national category records in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2006. On my 7th attempt in 2007 my antenna rotor gearbox self destructed and despite numerous trips up the tower to replace it during the contest on Saturday night in 5 degree cold and snow I couldn't save it, and had to drop out. In 2008 I was able to come back and take it again for the 7th time, then an 8th time in 2009. In 2010 and 2011 I dropped to second, both times by very narrow margins to different very well equipped stations in PA. In 2012 I came back up on top again only to crash and burn in 2013 in the worst windstorm I've ever seen in January. The line noise was so bad and conditions were so poor that it kept participation way down and the score really suffered. 2014 put me back on top again by a narrow margin with (you guessed it) one of my PA rivals nipping at my heels. Won it again in 2016 and my 2017 claimed score looks really good so far.

I took second place in June of 2001 and then set new category and division records in the August 2001 UHF contest, but got put into the Hudson division by mistake! (Hey a 2 call in Albany ... go figure ...). I sat out the 2002 UHF, won it again in 2003 and 2004 setting another new division and category record, then again in 2005 and 2006, dropped to second place in 2007 but back on top again with new high score record in 2008 thanks to NLRS rovermania. Won it again in 2009 but took second place in 2010 when NLRS Rovermaina was a dud, the California pack rovers were circling the SOLP winner and my station was messed up after a lighting hit took out most of my microwave stuff right after the June Test. I pieced it back together with a lot of compromises and QRPp on 3456 so I'm not that unhappy with the 2010 result. Won again in 2011 this time with the highest overall score of any station in any operating class. First time a low power station has ever beaten out the SO high power, rovers and multis. In 2012 the station was working but there was nobody around to work. Participation was WAY down and all the rovers seemed like they stayed home. I did the worst I ever did in a UHF contest and still managed to be in the top 10. In 2013 and 2014 I was back on top again with the highest overall scores of any Single OP class. Won again in 2015 for the last time .. the UHF contest was suddenly cancled by the ARRL in 2016. The leaders of the Mt. Airy VHF Radio Club, the Northern Lights Radio Society and the Pacific Northwest VHF Society joined many individuals coast to coast (notably Wayne N6NB who spearheaded the effort) to take over sponsorship of the UHF Contest and hold it on its traditional date, the first weekend in August. Pleased to say that this allowed me to win possibly for the last time. In 2017 the ARRL has taken back the date for a restructured 222 and up distance contest that has no national winner and its still unknown if the group sponsorship of the old contest format will continue.

Took 2nd place SOAB HP in the 2000 CQWW VHF , 1st place in 2001 (using only low power bricks!), was sidelined in 2002 but came back to win again in 2003 and set a new all time SOAB record with the highest single op score in the world. Won it again in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 for 10 in a row. It was really nice to get my 2012 plaque at the Dayton Hamvention Weak Signal Banquet in 2013. Broke my old record with over 700K in 2006 when the 6M Es was just INSANE. 17 hours of 60+ Qs per hour! Worked 1428 6M QSOs in 288 grids to go right to the top of the "1000 QSO club" (all VHF contests, and that includes multiops)! Still the QSO record for the CQWW but has subsequently been surpassed during the June ARRL (by a dedicated 6M only op during a longer contest). In 2013 the propagation gods were not kind and favored the NE. After years of trying K1TEO (the top SOHP contester in the ARRL VHF contests for many years) broke my winning streak so I had to settle for second. I took the top spot back again in 2014 and 2015 but then K1TEO edged me out again with more 2M QSOs and grids in 2016.

2002 was definitely not my favorite year. Sustained 50mph winds with gusts to 80mph in March broke my (then single) 50' boom 6M beam into two 25's. Guess I finally built it big enough hihi. Then a lightning strike a few days before the June 2002 Contest took out a component in my motor controller that caused the top to keep rotating in one direction until all the coax wrapped up and destroyed itself. Put me out of the competition, but I was back on the air with 6 and 2M for the CQ VHF in July only to get called into work about 2 hours into the contest (some trivial thing about not being able to scan the control rod positions or some such nonsense)!

I took it all down in June of 2003 and rebuilt everything, this time with two guy rings, 50' of rotating tower and a second 6M antenna. Bigger, higher, better! It was a lot of work but it was worth it.

I took #1 SOLP in June of 2003 for the first time, and again in 2004 and 2005 (despite being off the air for several prime time hours due to a main power and subsequent generator failure!). Set a new SOLP category record of 522K (1st score over a half million) with a 4th consecutive win in June 2006. With 98.6% accuracy! Conditions for 2007 weren't nearly as good, but I won for a fifth time and then again in 2008 for the 6th time, in 2009 for the 7th time and again in 2010 for the eighth time in a row. In 2011 the Es propagation gods were unkind to EN41 and just couldn't swing any better than 3rd. But I was glad to see N0LL, a long time VHFer come out on top with a killer 6M total that just wasn't to be had at my QTH. But I made it back on top again in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. I wrote the QST article for the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 June contests and plan to do it again in 2017, so now I have a retirement job!

Lost my bottom 6M antenna in another bad windstorm during December of 2004 when the boom to mast plate ripped out in over 8 hours of 50 MPH sustained winds with 75 MPH gusts and it hung from the truss. Maybe the scariest tower climb of my life lashing that down in the wind so it didn't cut loose and damage anything else (like the house!) It folded up in a triangle and I had to cut it and take it down in three pieces in the bitter cold to get ready for Jan 2005 with a single 6M antenna. Its back up now, better and stronger than ever. In May 2006 had to rebuild the rotor motor and the gearbox in June of 2007 and both again in 2009 (didn't get it right). Its starting to show its age again and the past several VHF contests have necessited a trip up the tower at some point to get it rotating again despite ebuilding the motor again in the summer of 2016.

The VHF stuff needs constant maintenance. Installed heavier booms and boom to mast plates on both 6M monsters that won't break so easily. I had to redo the 2M beams with heavier booms after one broke in July 2004 ... rebuild the station after the lightning strike in 2010 ... repair the bottom 6M driven and the bottom 222 ... replace coax and power dividers ... preamp failures … it just never seems to end! All my HF antennas were stored in the third bay of my garage until June of 2014. I had only a 75M and 40M inverted Vs up, mainly to work the Illinois QSO party in October and get some points for the GRVARS Club who held the club title from 2003 until 2010 (managed a top 10 finish in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 with only low wire inverted Vs). Havent been able to play since then because the dates conflict with the time we usually go Key West every year.

In March 2014 I had the chance to be a W1AW portable operator at K0XG in Iowa for the ARRL Centennial QSO Party. Made over 3000 Qs and loved it so much it motived me to get some HF aluminum up in the air for the first Illinois week in June. Put up the Shorty 40 and the tribander as well as a low 4el 10M about two weeks before the event (and only a few days before June VHF). Made over 3650 QSOs during the first IL week (with a little help from a few GRVARS members K0XG, WA9LT, K9AKS). I was also lucky enough to make another 1050 at K9CT’s on Field day as W1AW/9 on 15 SSB driving Craig’s 7/7/7 stack with a KW and a half. In December had another chance at doing both IL and Iowa again. My station logged over 7300 QSOs (about 6000 myself and the rest with help of the same folks plus the addition of KD0RNP), then went to IA and personally logged another 5000 from K0XG and N0NI.

There is a great bunch of Hams up here in the Quad Cities (Rock Island & Moline IL, Davenport & Bettendorf IA) so I've joined The Society of Midwest Contesters _W9SMC-, The Green River Valley ARS -K9WM- and the Clinton Amateur Radio Club -W0CS- (in IA, just across the Mississippi River bridge).

My second hobby is Beer. Mostly drinking it ... but I'd love to get into homebrew. This was once high on my list of priorities, but there is too other stuff to be done and N2KMA isn't very fond of the smell of beer wort cooking.

Enough for now .... 73 de Bob2 EN41vr.

Links to other sites on the Web

American Radio Relay League
K0XG Rotating Tower Equipment
Green River Valley Amateur Radio Service
Society of Midwest Contesters



© 1996 k2drh at arrl.net

Make a Free Website with Yola.