W6IDS, an RMS "At The Crossroads To America"

Well, truth be told, "Crossroads To America" used to be the state license plate slogan.

Richmond, IN is where Peggy and I have "planted our roots" for the duration. We moved here from Colorado Springs in November, 1995 after 1 1/2 years living in the shadow of Cheyenne Mountain. We had moved to Colorado Springs from California where we each had lived in various parts of the state for over 25 years. Richmond sits on the IN/OH border, about 35 miles West of Dayton. OH. It's a small town but very cosmopolitan! We actually have a White Castle here and "sliders" galore.

I've been licensed 60-plus years having started at 9 years of age as a Novice in IL with a Heathkit AT-1 transmitter and AR-3 receiver.

Ham Radio has been an exciting hobby for me. While stationed at Naval Air
Station Kodiak, AK in 1964 I had the privilege of operating at KL7AWR in an old control tower with a room full of Collins S-line equipment. This was my first hands on experience with Collins. While at Kodiak, Alaska was hit with the April '64 Good Friday earthquake, overwhelming the island and totally disrupting all communications and power. I found myself in the unique position and privilege of working with CWO Henry S. Pickerill (KL7EKS) at his home station for a solid week 24/7 as we provided nearly all of the emergency radio communications in or out of the island. After a week of nearly round-the-clock operation, we were both numbed by the whole thing, an experience I have not forgotten.

I even had a chance to operate Navy MARS in between sorties in Viet Nam from 1965 - 1967. That was during the time of an operation that was called "Rolling Thunder." I carried on with Navy MARS after getting out of the Navy for more than 11 years in California, in the then Region FIVE.

Ham Radio can accompany you in the strangest places. I had the opportunity to "winter-over" at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station for ITT in 1979 - 1980. I was Communications Coordinator at Pole Station for that Winter-Over period. Operating KC4AAA gave me a once-in-a-life-time experience of seeing what it was like to operate as a DX station while being deluged by pileups. It was incredible. During my W/O tour, I put the Navy MARS operation back on line with NNN0NWB and ran health and welfare RTTY traffic and phone patches. Sadly, I don't believe they're doing that any more - <grin> it's been a while. Pole station has become quite modern now.

I like to operate SSB, PSK, RTTY on most of the HF bands, and had been using PACTOR I on 20 meters using an PK-232MBX for every day ops with the Pactor_Packet group. I also like to copy Digi-picture file transfers using EasyPAL.

I prefer a Quad antenna but am using a 6 element LPDA by Tennadyne on HF. I use a four element homebrew Quad antenna on Two meters and a homebrew three element Quad antenna on Six meters. Dipoles on 80 and 40 round out the antenna farm, although I'm now looking at putting up a FAN dipole too for the
80-40-20 meter bands.

I have a Drake "B" Twin ensemble which are accompanied by a Drake MN-4 Tuner. My pride and joy is the Collins KWM-2A transceiver with its CC-2 carrying case and a 312B-4 station console to round out the Collins family. Not a lot of vintage equipment but enough and they're fun to operate. I use them with the LPDA.

My RMS operation is scanning 7061.500 and 7097.000 CF with the IC-746 into the 40 meter dipole. Presently, a PacComm PTC-II is providing Pactor I and II. I had inquired about upgrading it to PIII but SCS Farallon determined that it would be much too complex a venture. So, I'm now planning to obtain a used PTC II that has a PIII license. I want the one that has that little text view window like my PacComm. I like that feature.

My system is PUBLIC and open to all, I began with a full BPQ32 system but have put that aside due to lack of legitimate message forwarding activity. Well, of course, there's the matter of frequency use, etc but that's for another outlet <GRIN>. I converted to the RMS Hybrid and sticking with it. I still have lots to learn.

I’ll encourage anyone with even Pactor I capability to take advantage of the Winlink system and put it to use for daily messaging. Use of Winlink, IMHO, does not have to be totally focused on emergency related or public assistance communications. I've learned that it can be a practical value-added station asset for Ham operation. It's an incredible resource. Pactor and Winmor are nifty tools to employ in daily Ham communications.

I have mobile operation too, in a ‘05 Chevy Silverado with a Kenwood TS-120 into a Wolfe Coil w/SS whip and an older Radio Shack HTC-214 into a Hustler Collinear as it stands now. The intent is to have the mobile available for public service as relates to Winlink in some fashion but that's over time.

Besides Ham Radio, I also enjoy flying radio-controlled helicopters. I have an old Schluter Champion helicopter which uses a .060 engine and runs on nitro-methane, alcohol and cod-liver oil. I don't fly it now because I am going to change to electric motors. I want to put electric motors into the two fiberglass bodies that I have - a Bell Long Ranger and a Bell 222 which has the needed parts to convert it to the Air Wolf configuration. My current plan is to mount the heli mechanics into the Bell Ranger body and put effort into the Bell 222 to finish it out as a static model with as much detail that I can handle......unless I can find a way to purchase a mechanics setup from Graupner-Heim to install inside it as well. Both the bodies are around 4 1/2 feet long each.

Then too, is my new interest in drones. You know, those critters recently discussed on 60 Minutes?? <GRIN>. You can make them yourself. With GPS, I wonder if I could FINALLY link my locale with some other part of Indiana on VHF when the drone is at altitude? Hmmmmm. . . . .

Well, enough of this first attempt at blogging. Now to see if I can upload pictures.