I have several working amateur stations, although I only have space for a subset to be operational at any given time. Some of my more common configurations are described here.

HF Vintage Stations

My favorite station setups are vintage. If you hear me on the air, I am probably on one of these, or a similar configuration. Equipment does rotate in and out depending on what I have had on the workbench and what I'm most interested in on any given day. All of my HF stations (generally) use the same tuner and antenna setup, so it's described only once in the first entry.

Central Electronics 200V with Drake 2-B

This is the most recently completed total station configuration. It consists of a Central Electronics 200V transmitter, a Drake 2-B receiver and 2-BQ Q multiplier, and a Johnson Matchbox feeding an 80 meter full wave loop with twinned coax shielded balanced line feeder. This is a period station dating from the early 1960s.

CE 200V/Drake 2-B Station

These two radios are both 80/40/20/15/10 meter capable, with the capability for one extra “X” band in the transmitter and five auxiliary bands in the receiver. The X band in my particular CE 200V is 2.5-3.58 MHz, which is not an amateur band. There is a 10 MHz band crystal in the 2-B, providing both WWV and the 30 meter amateur band. The CE 200V has 200 W input finals for about 100 W SSB output, and the Drake 2-B is sensitive to less than 1 microvolt on all bands.

The CE 200V is a particularly interesting radio, and I will try to write up more on it later. In the meantime, the CE Multiphase web site may be of some interest.

Drake TR-4

My next go-to station is a complete Drake TR-4 with the RV-4 remote VFO/speaker and W-4 external wattmeter. This station represents a configuration several years newer than the CE 200V/Drake 2-B station. It offers somewhat more convenient operation, as the transceive functionality of the TR-4 obviates the requirement of zero-beating the transmitter and receiver to work a remote station. It puts out about 150 W or more SSB, and is nearly as sensitive as the Drake 2-B. Like the previous station, it is capable of only the 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meter amateur bands.

Teletype Model 28

I have a Teletype corporation Model 28 KSR and some associated equipment for using digital modes with vintage equipment. At the moment it is receive-only, but I hope to have it on the air shortly.

HF Modern Stations

There are some things for which vintage stations just aren't suited — like narrow digital modes with low tolerance for drift — and there are times that one might want to use a station that fits in a moderately sized suitcase. For that, there are “modern” stations. I qualify modern because some of these would be considered vintage to certain hams! If it's solid state, it goes in this category.

Kenwood TS-850S

I inherited this station from my great uncle Wally (Wallace H. Maw, N3KJM, SK), who was an active ham for many years. It provides complete coverage from a few hundred kHz to 30 MHz, with transmit capability on all of the amateur bands excepting 60 meters. The unit I have includes the internal autotuner. If you hear me on a digital mode such as PSK31, there's a good chance this is the station I am using.

This station is on an 80 meter off-center fed dipole, coax fed with a 4:1 current balun. The center is at about 25', and both antenna and balun are homebrew.

SoftRock v6.3

Some years ago I built one of Tony Parks' SoftRock v6.3 transceivers. It is not currently on the air as I have not completed the rest of the station I intend to couple it with (switchable filter banks and a 50 W amplifier), but it sits at my operating position and there's always the chance I'll turn it on.

VHF and above

I seldom operate above 2 meters, but I can often be found on that band. I have a full service BBS that is up 24/7, as well as both base and mobile phone rigs.


My packet BBS is described in more detail here. There is essentially no packet traffic in this area, so it may not remain up indefinitely.

Fixed Operation

For fixed operation on VHF and above, I use a Drake UV-3 mobile radio with 2 m, 220 MHz, and 440 MHz modules. It drives a copper pipe J-pole mounted at about 10 feet. I can often be found on the W9AMR repeater on 146.640 MHz in South Bend, IN.

Mobile Operation

If you hear me mobile, I am almost certainly using a Yaesu FT-7800R mounted in my '05 2-door Jeep TJ Unlimited. It has a 5/8 wave 2 meter and 440 MHz dual-band antenna mounted by the passenger side taillight, with a correspondingly non-ideal pattern. I often monitor 146.520 MHz when traveling, and the previously mentioned W9AMR repeater around town.