N4MW Specialized Communication Station Progression

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Nimbus At my request, NASA sent me a thick package on setting up a weather satellite receiving station for the Nimbus low orbiter weather satellite.  I retuned a Motorola Sensicon D receiver strip to 137.5 MHz and easily heard the satellite. I did not try to decode the facsimile image but did receive the equivalent from high frequency sources.  This was in about 1970.  I believe the descendents on Nimbus can still be heard today, although synchronous orbit satellites have become the standard.
MARS A large chunk of my early amateur radio experience was influenced by membership in Third Army MARS (Military Affiliate Radio System).  I will expand this onto a separate page later.
Fox Hunting In about 1972, the Mid-South Amateur Radio Association held a regular net transmitter hunts on 10 meters.  I participated both in the hunting and the hiding.   In 1990, I built the club a small signal source on 146.52 MHz, which generated an AFSK morse identified signal used for practicing direction finding techniques and for close in hunting.
Teletype (RTTY) My RTTY involvement began with a model 15 machine and a homebrew two transistor terminal unit.  I later progressed to a 19 set (450 pounds) and an ST-3 terminal unit.  I also later built an OA-5 TU (an ST-6 all on one board.  I also built an FM repeater for 146.70 for AFSK RTTY in the Memphis area.  I soon acquired a model 28 KSR and a Mite small unit.  I eventually divested of all the heavy oily machines eventually, but retained the capability using a Heathkit HK-232 multimode controller.
FM In 1966, when I was a novice class operator, phone was permitted within the center part of the two meter band.  My first phone contact on 145.5 FM, was made using K4NRV's converted Motorola 41V taxicab unit, which was set up at the local hamfest.   I went through a progression of converted commercial gear, including GE progress line, Motorola Pack sets, 80D and T44 mobile rigs.  The Delta Amateur Radio Club obtained about 70 Motorola 100 watt 6 meter units from Memphis Light Gas and Water.   I ordered all the crystals for these at once from Sentry Crystal, about $2500 worth in 1976 (Sentry may still have a commercial account for me).  When Regency came out with solid state rigs, I was working at the dealer shop, Russ Hellen's Communications, as a technician.  I owned many of the Regency models which came out over the years (See my Regency page).  I also have owned Standard, Yaesu  and Heath models, but lean to ICOM for my current station.
Facsimile Several MARS affiliate stations in the Memphis area received brand new ACME facsimile sets through the MARS program.  These were intended to be used on Navy ships to receive images photographically from high frequency transmissions.  For many years the Navy transmitted facsimile on 8080 kc to ships at sea.  We enjoyed receiving these and wire photos from other HF sources.  One picture I received appeared the next day in the newspaper.  Other facsimile efforts were centered around the smal Western Union facsimile machines that were common in surplus in the '70's.
Weak Signal VHF+ WA4HGN exposed me to this world in about 1968.  Bill had 2 meter and 432 MHz SSB/CW setups, which immediately intrigued me.  I built a 6 meter receiving converter using peanut tubes and discovered that band.  I used a Lafayette HA-460 on AM and a homebrew transverter on SSB/CW, along with an Ameco converter.  I later obtained a Kenwood TV-502 transverter to be used with a TS-820S transceiver for 2 meters, along with a "plumber's special" 2X4CX250 kilowatt amplifier.  On 1296, 432 and 220  I started with Microwave Module transverters and an IC-745 IF transceiver.   I later went to seperate ICOM transceivers for these bands.  For higher bands, I still use SSB transverters or Downeast Microwave kit tansverters.
EME I skipped the lower bands and got on 1296 MHz as described in an article I wrote for the 1991 Proceedings of Microwave Update.  This station ued a computer to control the antenna position.  A water cooled 7289 amplifier provided power.  My first contact was scheduled, but  the second was upon answering a CQ.  I worked a number of stations, including VE3ONT using the 140 foot Algonquin dish.

When I moved to Virginia, I thought it would be possible to make a 10 GHz EME contact, despite having a small dish (2.4 meter), low power (8 watts) and high trees.  I was easily able to receive WA7CJO's big signal.  I worked W5LUA with what was then the world's smallest 10 GHz EME station.  I have yet to obtain more power output, so I have made no further effort.  I want to configure the dish on a trailer and go portable if I ever come up with a source of more output power.

Beacons Im Memphis, until 1994, I operated beacons on all 11 bands from 10 meters to 10 GHz from the top of a 200 foot building.  After my move to Virginia, I have operated only the 144.280 MHz beacon continuously.  I also have had a 10 GHz beacon in operation, but no currently.  I still have the beacon gear from Memphis, and may someday put more bands on from Virginia if a suitable site becomes available.
Repeaters I had some early involvement in the 70's in putting the W4BS 146.22/82 repeater on the air initially.  I was the station trustee for a time.  In the late 80's, I was trustee of a 1292 MHz repeater owned by N4HKS.
Satellite My actual operating experience on satellites was on the high orbiters with 435 up/145 down.  I operated the field day W4BS satellite station for several years.   I also used the 1296 EME antenna to work the Mode L which was kind of fun.