K5RKS Biography as listed on WWW.QRZ.COM

I mostly operate PSK31, RTTY, and CW. Also, I have taken up chasing DX in recent years.

I am a member of the ARRL, the Oklahoma DX Association, and I support the Northern California DX Foundation. I am also member #9578 of the FISTS CW club.

I was first licensed as a novice in Downey, California in November 1958 as a teenager. My novice callsign was WV6DCF. I passed my General on July 29, 1959 at the Los Angeles FCC office. My call was changed to WA6DCF. I held the General Class license from 1959 to 1968 and Advanced Class license from 1968 to 1982. I passed the Extra Class exam at the San Francisco FCC office on November 10, 1982 and received the callsign NQ6C.

I worked for 40 years in Silicon Valley as a software engineer/consultant. This included a 30 year stint with IBM in various positions including management of software and microcode development groups followed by about a ten year period of time when I was an independent consultant working on embedded microcode for various devices using the SCSI data buss. I received a BSEE in 1965 from Long Beach State University and an MBA from Santa Clara University in 1987.

After retirement in 2004 from my work in Silicon Valley I moved to Oklahoma and changed my call to K5RKS. At that time I decided to take up DXing more seriously. I went through all my QSL cards in the Spring of 2005 and discovered I had QSLs for QSOs with 105 countries which just barely qualified me for "entry level" DXCC status.

I am slowly adding to my country count. As of July 2016, I have qualified for the Mixed DXCC Honor Roll. This is a result of having worked the DXpeditions to South Sandwich Island, Heard Island, Juan de Nova Island and Iran. It took me 11 years to reach the Honor Roll after the time I received my initial Mixed DXCC certificate for working 105 countries.

As of July 2016, my DXCC Challenge count is about 985. So it looks like getting to the "entry level" of 1000 band/modes for the DXCC challenge is feasible.

I have several DXCC certificates -- Mixed, CW, Phone, Digital, 20m, 15m, 17m, 12m. I also have the WAZ certificate. I finished up the necessary QSOs for the Triple Play Award as a result of working a bunch of W1AW/x operations in various states using RTTY, CW, and SSB.

I've received a couple of WAS certificates based upon QSOs I've made here from Oklahoma: BASIC WAS, DIGITAL WAS. These were mostly based upon QSOs using QSLs via LOTW. However, a few of the QSOs for these WAS certificates were confirmed using paper QSL cards.

My rig is an ICOM 7600 with a PW-1 linear. The antenna for 20m through 10m is a Cushcraft ASL-2010 log periodic up about 38 feet. I have a fan dipole for 40m / 30m. On 80m my antenna is a sloper hanging off the side of the tower.

My one and only rig for the last ten years was an ICOM 756Pro3. But starting in October of 2014 it became intermittent and about 30% of the time when being turned on from a "cold" condition the product detector would not function properly when in SSB or CW. This progressively got worse from week to week. Finally, I had to get rid of the 756Pro3 because I could not feasibly fix it and it was so erratic that I couldn't depend on it. Evidently, the problem was a poor connection with some component / connector on the DSP board. My assessment was that the cost for ICOM to diagnose and fix this problem, including the cost to ship to/from ICOM, would be close to what the ten year old rig was worth. And since the problem was intermittent it would be just my luck that when I sent it to ICOM it would not fail and the whole exercise would be an exercise in futility. So I decided to retire the 756Pro3 and replace it with a ICOM 7600.

I decided to setup a backup station in my shack. The rig for this backup is a ICOM 756Pro2 that I bought used. I bought an Ameritron ALS-1306 linear and a MFJ989D tuner and some other stuff to complete this backup operating position. The idea behind setting up this backup is that I did not want to miss a chance to work any of the rare DX coming up in 2015/2016 due to an equipment failure with my main station. I used my backup station to work the K1N Navassa DXpedition.

I use homebrew software which supports RTTY and PSK31 as well as doing logging, rig control, and rotor control. The FFT and DSP stuff to support the waterfall and RTTY is homebrew. For PSK31, the transmit operation is homebrew. I ported some open source code in C into C# to implement the PSK31 receive algorithm. In Febuary and March 2015 I was able to implement my own algorithm for PSK31 receive. This new algorithm uses a unique method for phase reversal detection. As of this writing the algorithm is "working" but it needs improvement to enhance weak signal performance.

I've written homebrew software which I use to run the ARRL FMT. This software uses a classic Fast Fourier Transform algorithm along with a waterfall diagram. The waterfall diagram shows the received signal off the air along with an injected reference signal from a local oscillator. I use a peak detection algorithm to find which FFT bin has the most energy for the off the air signal and the injected reference signal. The receiver is operating in USB mode. The reference signal is supplied by an HP3336B which is using an external GPS-derived 10Mhz reference time base. My results in the FMTs are sometimes half way decent and sometimes not -- depending on blind luck and the amount of doppler present in the propagation path to me. For the April 2014 FMT my errors in PPM for 80m, 40m, and 20m were 0.02, 0.01, and 0.03 respectively. During the K5CM / W6OQI practice FMT in August 2016 my measurement errors ranged from 0.08Hz to 0.21Hz depending upon the band.

I'm restoring my old Heath SB-301 / SB-401 boatanchor station. I'm starting with the 301 which has been in storage for many years. This SB-301 has "been in the family" since I built it as a kit in 1968. When I discovered that the unit was no longer operational, I decided that I'd see if I could rehabiliate it. I replaced all the electrolytic capacitors and cleaned up the band switch and function switch with TV tuner cleaner. Now the receiver works OK.

73 Roger K5RKS

Bio Updated 16 October 2016