Meet the Team Liaison

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KE3TJ

I'm Eric, KE3TJ, VE Team Liaison with the ARRL/VEC for the Horseshoe Amateur Radio Club Examiners.  I've been a Volunteer Examiner since March 1997 and maintain VE credentials with the ARRL/VEC.  I formed this exam team in August 2000 to address the need to offer exam sessions on a regular, predictable schedule to amateurs in Blair and surrounding counties.

I became a "ham" in 1993 and currently hold an Extra Class license, having upgraded during "license restructuring" in April 2000.  I'm active with the Horseshoe Amateur Radio Club, and I'm a member of the ARRL, the National Association for Amateur Radio.

I'm active mainly on 2-meter FM.  For many years I served as one of the net control stations for the Horseshoe Amateur Radio Club's weekly Sunday Evening Net (7 p.m. local, W3QZF/R, 146.610 MHz, PL 123.0 Hz).  I'm primarily involved with public service activities.  I maintain an association with Blair County ARES/RACES, the emergency amateur communications service for the county.  About once a year I still fire up a portable packet station, although this is becoming more and more difficult with newer computers; they lack the "legacy" serial interfaces and the old packet controller lacks a modern high-speed interface.

Both my daughter, N3WMH, and I upgraded our VHF equipment to Kenwood TH-K2AT handheld 2-meter transceivers, among other Kenwood equipment, in 2004.  We used the venerable Radio Shack HTX-202's for 10 years (as did about half of the hams in the country at one time).  I'm also using a Kenwood TH-G71A dual band VHF/UHF transceiver.  

I built a custom portable VHF/UHF station for public service and emergency operations.  This station features a Kenwood TM-271A dual-band transceiver and an older TM-V7A dual band mobile transceiver.  The station is capable of operating simultaneous FM phone or digital modes on two frequencies while monitoring a third frequency.  A duplexer permits using separate band-specific antennas.  A small power distribution system allows power source flexibility.  It takes only seconds to configure using automotive (13.8-volt) power, a huge 55 Amp-hr 13.8-volt deep-cycle gel cell, a small 7.5 Amp-hr gel cell, or AC power via an Astron switching power supply.  All power connections and cables are standardized with Anderson PowerPole connectors.  The TM-271A 2-meter mobile used previously with this station has been retired.

I'm barely active on HF, due in part to limited free time and to antenna safety and EMI issues.  (My property is surrounded by power, phone, and cable TV lines on 3 sides, and not all of my neighbors say they enjoy hearing me on 40 meters over their telephones!)  I picked up a Kenwood TS-140S transceiver at a nearby hamfest in 1998, but it spent more time on the service bench than on the air for the next three years.  It's a nice radio now that it works, usually during Field Day.  I wanted to upgrade to a Kenwood TS-570S(G) ever since they were introduced, but I successfully delayed that expense until they were discontinued by the manufacturer!  Now I just keep track of the current beginner to intermediate level Kenwood HF/6-meter transceiver.  I use a GAP Challenger multi-band vertical antenna which I've modified for portability for Field Day.  Since 2004 my daughter and I have operated a 100% emergency powered station during Field Day.  Someday when I retire, I'd like to settle into some old-fashioned RTTY and PSK31 (and maybe some light contesting).  (That will be after I acquire and move onto mountaintop property!)

I once "enjoyed" building antennas, but I've gotten over that now.  I've built portable 2-meter ground-plane and portable 2-meter, 5-element Yagi antennas, both from scrap aluminum arrow shafts.  I've also built a pair of portable 2-meter log-periodic dipole arrays (they're fantastic), again with scrap aluminum arrow shafts.  I once fabricated a portable HF multiband dipole design, but I had little time for the extensive testing this project required.  Then I discovered an interesting flaw in my design.  Like I said, I think I've gotten over it.

What does occupy much of my time for now is the administration involved with the Volunteer Examiner team and promotion of Amateur Radio.  Other interests include amateur astronomy, database development and programming, and all aspects of the shooting sports.  I'm an active NRA-certified instructor in pistol, personal protection, metallic cartridge reloading, and shotgun shell reloading, and I'm NRA-certified as an Chief Range Safety Officer.

 

I invite your comments (and your interest in joining the team) via e-mail.