Summer 2013 Update: The family has moved. Since I've been away at college the ham radio station has been taken down. The tower and antenna that I refurbished was donated to the Burley Radio Club. The club was responsible in getting me the tower and antenna for free in the first place, so I felt that it would be appropriate that they get it back for free, in hope that one of their members might find a use for it. I'm guessing there won't be any significant operating in the near future for me, but hopefully life as an apartment dweller will offer some opportunities to get on HF. I've been barely active on VHF in the Spokane, WA area. Occasionally chatting on a local repeater once in a while. Other than that, fellow hams might think I was a silent key, because I sure haven't been on the air very much. I hope that will chance before too long.
Amateur radio station N7TFP is located in Gig Harbor, Washington. Gig Harbor is about 30 air-miles south-west of Seattle. Gig Harbor is a small, but rapidly growing fishing community with a strong sense of Norwegian heritage. The station is located on the Eastern shore of Gig Harbor Bay.
We have two HF antennas at our station. The first is a 160-meter half-wave dipole. It is at an elevation of about 45 feet (fairly low for practical purposes). The center of the antenna is supported by what is left of an old tree. This "mega-stump" is about 45 feet tall and should serve as a very solid tower for at least the next five years.
We also have a 30 foot tower which supports a 10/15/20 meter Hy-Gain TH6-DX Thunderbird. This tri-bander is fairly large and does a respectable job even though it is only at the 30 foot level. Our biggest advantage is the nearby salt water. We have a clear, low-angle shot at the South Pacific. Signals come in strong from New Zeland, and Australia.
The station has a basic set of equipment, but all the equipment is setup and interconnected in a way that provides maximum flexibility. We are on all bands from 160m-70cm. We have the ability to operate all modes on the HF bands. The primary HF radio is a Yaesu FT-950. The primary VHF/UHF radio is a Yaesu FT-8800. An FT-2800M and an FT-60R conclude the radio list at this station.
Onboard Cessna Skyhawk N9653H is an FT-7800. This radio is specially wired into the aircraft's intercom system and field-approved by the FAA for use on board the aircraft for amateur operations. Performance on board the aircraft is outstanding and 2 meter contacts have ranged from local to international contacts of over 600 miles, simplex.
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My first ham radio shack
After the improvements made in 2008
Building the new shack that I use now
The current shack in 2010
FT-101ZD - My first HF radio
The FT-950 - My current main HF radio
AT2K Antenna Tuner
Putting up the TH6DX Thunderbird (Summer 2010)
The antenna is finally secured and tuned.
The station rack as of January 2012