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Amateur Radio

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I'm a ham. Have been for nearly half a century. My profile at QRZ.COM does most of what this page once did and my ham radio Twitter feed stays way more current than this blog ever could, but neither is quite right for what's kept here now. 

Ham-related posts on the blog are labeled: ham radio, SSTV, QRP, VHF/UHF, and so on.

Licensing History

I started off as a shortwave listener (SWL) in 1972 and learned Morse Code from W1QHG (my Quite Happy Grandfather). My first callsign, WN1RSY, was issued March 2, 1973, as a 2-year non-renewable Novice class. It expired, but I obtained a second novice license, WN1YXL, in July 1975 under new FCC rules. I operated as AK1YXL and AA1YXL during the nation's bicentennial celebration in 1976, then as WA1YXL. I passed the General class exam in the FCC offices at the Custom House in Boston in January 1980. While I lived in Washington State, I requested a 7-area callsign and was assigned N7TNL (1991). After returning to New England in 2000, I requested W1QHG to honor my grandfather, but in 2004 settled on N1AIA as a snappy CW callsign that better reflected my licensing era. (The N1A## block was introduced about 1978 and ended with N1ZZZ on December 29, 1997.) Though I never expected to make it to the top, I passed the Amateur Extra exam in January 2021 (thanks HamStudy, ARRL, and Port City ARC).

Operating Awards

Not to boast, but hey, wallpaper:
  • VUCC Satellite # 269 endorsed for 450 grids
  • DXCC # 24,756 endorsed for 150 entities
  • WAS # 34,079 (CW)
  • ARRL Centennial W1AW WAS (QRP)
  • AMSAT Friends of 50
  • WAC
  • RCC


I enjoy contesting, but have never built a competitive station. By entering in rare classes, I have managed to earn a number of 1st place finishes, which are listed here. Presented separately are my scores for the New England QSO Party.

Year Contest Mode Category 1st In
2020 Pennsylvania QSO Party CW QRP Out of State
2020 Missouri QSO Party   QRP ME (3rd USA)
2020 Georgia QSO Party CW Single Op QRP W/VE
2020 South Dakota QSO Party CW Single Op QRP Out of State
2020 Indiana QSO Party
Single Op QRP ME
2020 Kansas QSO Party
QRP ME (2nd USA)
2020 Oklahoma QSO Party CW Single Op QRP
2020 Minnesota QSO Party
2019 CQ World Wide DX CW Single Op QRP 14 MHz USA
2019 Virginia QSO Party
2018 Minnesota QSO Party
Single Op QRP ME
2018 Virginia QSO Party

2017 ARRL June VHF Contest
Single Op, 3-Band ME
2016 CQ World Wide VHF Contest
QRP W1 (8th US)
2016 ARRL International DX Contest CW QRP ME
2015 ARRL International DX Contest CW QRP ME
2014 ARRL International DX Contest SSB Single Op 10 Meter ME
2012 Illinois QSO Party

2012 Missouri QSO Party

2011 Georgia QSO Party CW
2010 ARRL International DX Contest SSB Single Op 10 Meter ME (9th W/VE)
2010 ARRL International DX Contest CW QRP ME
2010 Minnesota QSO Party
Single Op QRP ME (7th W/VE)
2009 ARRL International DX Contest CW QRP ME
2009 Minnesota QSO Party
Single Op QRP ME (6th W/VE)
2008 ARRL November Sweepstakes CW QRP ME
2008 ARRL International DX Contest CW QRP ME
2007 ARRL 10 Meter Contest Mxd Low ME
2003 QRP-ARCI Spring QSO Party

2002 WWDXC Salmon Run

2001 WWDXC Salmon Run

2001 ARRL Sweepstakes CW QRP ME
1993 CQ Worldwide Contest CW Low Power KH4
1993 59 Japan International DX Contest

1986 CQ WW WPX Contest CW Single Op All Band VO2
1985 ARRL 10-Meter Contest CW Single Op ME
1985 CQ WW VHF WPX Contest CW Single Op, Single Band, QRP ME
1985 IARU Radiosport CW
1983 73 Forty Meter World Championship SSB Single Op ME

Related webmaster: 2006-2014

Page History

meta name="CreateDate" content="1998/12/18"
Last update: 2020/12/29

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SOTA: Pine Mountain, September 18, 2021

For a combination QRP Afield / New Hampshire QSO Party / SOTA excursion, I went to Pine Mountain ( W1/NL-022 ) in Alton, Belknap County, New Hampshire, a 45-minute drive. The summit is within the Evelyn H. & Albert D. Morse, Sr. Preserve , a property of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.  Google delivered me to the non-preferred parking place, which is a narrow, gravel roadside sloping to a ditch. I was the only one there. I walked the Mary Jane Morse Greenwood Trail, 1.2 kilometers and "strenuous" per SPNHF, with tall weeds and waist-high saplings in its center. Going up, I counted 7 monarchs, 1 woman, and 1 dog. The "Do Not Block Gate" sign is just to the right of this one. Monarch migration is under way. I counted 7 on the hike up and viewed others from the summit. My one roadblock was easy to overcome. Up top, I was surprised to find more people — a hawk watcher and two others. Since there hadn't been any other cars alo

SOTA: Province Mountain, June 10, 2021

In my continuing quest to spend time hiking and operating rather than driving on my Summits on the Air excursions I chose Province Mountain, less than an hour's travel from home and an easy, quick climb to a partial view. I also like clarity about permission and certainty about my route up. I found W1/AM-409 met both criteria. On the way down, I apparently forked right instead of left and came back out to the road at a spot marked, for now, by a downed birch. It's a little steeper this way than the segment I went up. But on the way up, I didn't see that opening and instead continued to this clear and courteous sign.   The trail starts in East Wakefield, New Hampshire, but on the way up it crosses into West Newfield, Maine. There's a granite post beside the trail to mark the spot. Was it really put here in 1898? If so, it was probably in a big field back then. Just after the marker, there's a nice stretch of hemlocks. Blackburnian warblers were singing here.

20 Years of Amateur Radio on the International Space Station

Amateur radio achieved 20 years of continuous operations on the International Space Station in December and celebrated with a slow-scan television (SSTV) event at the end of the month. The ISS crew set up automated SSTV transmissions of 12 different images and multitudes of Earth stations received them. I managed to copy 7 of the 12, plus the very bottom of an eighth, using my makeshift setup: an iPhone with the Black Cat SSTV app held at the speaker of my Kenwood TH-F6A handheld. I used a rooftop 7/8-wavelength 2-meter vertical for my first attempts, which gives good results except for some noise banding. My best images came with the Arrow antenna I use for all satellites. Like many other listeners, I uploaded my image files to the ARISS SSTV Gallery , then requested a certificate of accomplishment. It arrived promptly today. The first successful ARISS contact with a school happened December 21, 2000. Since then, astronauts have made more than 1300 school contacts all over the world.