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Thursday, February 25, 2010

F8CKH: The Knack, 747s, and Homebrew QRP

Here is some further evidence that The Knack is a global phenomenon. I'm sure our readers will find Antoine's story quite familiar. Looking at his QSL (below) we can see that he has a special reason to be interested in QRP: After a full workday of operating a very high-powered rig (!), a simple little QRP rig must represent an appealing contrast. And even if that 747 is very QRO, I think we will all agree that Antoine has the kind of job that most knack victims dreamed about when they were kids.

Hi Bill,
I have been listening to your podcasts for a while now after I heard about them in one of the Amateur Logic TV shows. I picked up one podcast randomly and I got to say that I really enjoyed the tone and content of your talks. Very informative and interesting. I like also the fact that your amateur radio experience is based on homebrewing and experimenting. Back in 1997, I earned my French amateur radio license at the age of 16 (extra and big CW lover). I have been always amazed by what we could do with very little and go very far. My family is Hamradio friendly: my grandfather was F8KE back in 1930s and he has been around the hobby for most of his life. At 7 or 8 I remember times where we were at his place and I would ask for permission to leave the table early to go upstairs and visit my grandfathers shack. Everything there was homebrew and I was really pleased to see that the magic of Radio was achievable with only few components, homebrew antennas and a bit of luck. He encouraged me to learn the Code and at 12 I was already up to 20 wpm! My dad used to be 6W8FC while he was in the service and he gave me the passion for weak signal and DXing. Technically speaking, I HAD to become a Ham Radio operator.
I am really fascinated by your level of dedication to homebrewing and also that you share that we us, fellow operators addicted to -soldersmoke-. Just like you, I have been all over the place since I am an Airline Pilot qualified on the Airbus and Boeings... UK, New Zealand, US, I got a chance to operate from couple of places and something got the pleasure to be behind the scene and become the reason of a pile up. Operating from down under from Kiwi lands was a wild and exciting experience, indeed!
Finally I am about to move permanently to the US, in Pennsylvania. I applied for a Vanity Callsign (NY3G) and hopefully I will hear from the FCC soon.
I wanted to mention also that I got rid of almost all my regular Yaesu, Kenwood rigs to start from scratch. My project? To design, build, operate an HF station from scratch. No more commercial rigs for me! Well I will try! I am really happy to finally make use of a workbench that I just cleaned at home. I will set up a blogspot account to illustrate my projects... I think that would be great to make QSO with you Bill, sometime!
Thanks again for bringing some much enthusiasm into this fascinating side of Ham Radio, Homebrewing.
Best Regards,
Antoine Pierre GAMET F8CKH

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