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KC7CS's page


8102 East Valley View Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
United States

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I got hooked on radio when I was about 9 playing with a pair of cheap (Germanium Transistors) CB walkie talkies. I managed to jury-rig a long wire antenna to it and contacted a CB operator about 2 miles away. I wound up visiting the CB operator and got quite a demo on radios. He was also a ham, as it turned out, and he gave me a tour of his shack and we spent some time on the bands. I also had (RIP) an uncle in California, Willard Galbreath (K6KRG) who had been a ham for many years. He was always trying to get me interested but being separated by a thousand miles from Wyoming didn't help his efforts much.

In 1969 I joined the US Navy where I then went to Radioman school in San Diego for 3 months to learn 20wpm Morse code and typing at the same time, as well as radio and propagation theory. The only way I could copy 20wpm was to type it on an IBM Selectric typewriter, at least at the time. Once I stopped trying to recognize the dots and dashes and listened for the entire letter and words which became recognized patterns. This allowed my speed to increase. For me it was much more difficult sending than receiving. I never got any faster than 16wpm but felt comfortable around 12wpm. While stationed on a destroyer escort (DE-1035) out of Pearl Harbor, I spent many, many hours listening to the HF bands when I was off duty. I became extremely familiar with RTTY (and HF) as that was our primary method of communication.

After the Navy (4 years) I anxiously began my college education at the University of Wyoming to become an Electrical Engineer. I eventually graduated in Laramie in the spring of 1978 using the GI Bill (thank you Uncle Sam). I also took the time to get my ham license as a novice (WN7CHH). I built a simple QRP transceiver for the 20 meter band from mostly junk parts, CW only, direct conversion receiver using one of the first dual gate FETs available.

After I graduated in 1978 I was fortunate enough to get a job with the Motorola Government Electronics Division in Scottsdale, Arizona. I met a fellow Engineer (KB7IQ) from Massachusetts and we hit it off pretty well and I got involved with 2m and 70cm radios. After I took the test for technician class license and became (WB7CHH) briefly before passing the advanced level test and got the call sign KC7CS. My first VHF mobile rig was a GE ProgLine that was tube based which I mounted on shock absorbers in my International Harvestor Scout II.  I still remember the whine of the Multi-vibrator. 

Interest in HF was pretty limited. I was the technical chairman of the Motorola Amateur Radio Club of Arizona (MARCA) for about 10 years after being the Secretary (wrote the newsletter mostly), then Treasurer and finally Vice President. I maintained several MARCA VHF/UHF repeater systems (443.050 & 443.150).  I also added a state of the art station controller with voice ID and AutoPatch. MARCA, with a lot of finagling by Rod O'Connor (W7EKV), who convinced Bob Galvin (Motorola CEO) to divert 50 Motorola Micor VHF/UHF Repeaters from being scrapped to our club.  MARCA had a big sale in the parking lot at McDowell and Hayden where we sold them for $200 apiece to various ham radio groups and individual hams throughout Arizona.  I'm sure many of them are still up and running today more than 20 years later.  Micors are like B-52's, they just keep on going and are built like a tank.

However, after 20 years or so of being heavily involved in ham radio and ham radio clubs I burned out and found computers more interesting. I started with an 8080 kit and quickly moved up to a RadioShack Model 3 IBM compatible computer, soon followed by a RadioShack Color Computer using the infamous Motorola MC6809 CPU running at an ultra fast clock of 3.59Mhz using a color burst crystal made for Color TV's. This was a good deal faster than the 1 MHz clock that the Model 3 was using.

After 39 years of working 5 days a week, I have recently retired from General Dynamics in Scottsdale, AZ and have found that Amateur Radio and computers are getting along rather well with the new Software Defined Radios. I recently upgraded my license to Extra (from Advanced).

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