N4CF amateur radio

Louisa County, Virginia FM17ax

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Welcome to Mike Dodd's amateur ("ham") radio station. I was first licensed as Novice WN4HQW in spring 1962, and became General class WA4HQW that fall. I moved up to Extra class in 1970 and got the N4CF callsign about eight years later. In addition to being an interesting hobby, amateur radio was my launch point for a rewarding career in electronics and computers.

In 2012, after a 22-year hiatus to pursue other hobbies and raise two daughters, I decided to get back on the air. I chose the Elecraft KX3 10-watt transceiver. I bought the no-solder kit version in January 2013, and the assembly went smoothly.


January 13, 2013 – On the air!

Today I hoisted a 133' Carolina Windom antenna roughly 40' into the air, and connected the coax to the KX3 transceiver. Immediately I heard two or three Australian stations on 20 meters, but forgot I'd turned down the transmitter power to zero, so I couldn't work them! Later that evening, I made my first three QSOs with the new setup from my central Virginia location – two to western Canada and one to Hawaii – all with 10 watts on 20 meters SSB.


My "shack" looked like this at first. The KX3 sat off to the side, in front of the computer. Operating SSB, I grabbed the hand microphone from behind the KX3, and for CW I moved the computer keyboard to reach the keyer paddle.


Updated February 17, 2017