For this second San Joaquin Net “Featured Station”, we are pleased to present a familiar voice to most of you, George Stevans, K6SNA, from Modesto, CA. George is a long-time member to the net with plenty of ham radio experience.
George Stevans, K6SNA Posted April 13, 2018
George Stevans, K6SNA, started out his interest in ham radio while in high school when he had a part time job at the local KTRB AM radio studio. There George heard stories about ham radio operation from the station engineer, W6BJE who helped build his enthusiasm for the hobby.
Continuing on into junior college pursuing a career in broadcasting, George became acquainted with Max, W6GYN, who got him a military surplus two-meter rig so he could listen to the chatter from the local hams. Just listening and not being able to talk with the other guys was having quite an effect on him. As George puts it, “It was driving me crazy, just listening! Then before I was tempted to ‘boot-leg’ it, I talked Max into giving me the Novice Test, which I passed to become KN6SNA in 1956.” So with his Novice Ticket in hand George established his first station on River Road in Modesto.
After initially copying CW on a Hallicrafters S-40 receiver to learn the code, George ordered and build a Heathkit AT-1 CW transmitter at 25 watts to get his Novice station on the air. Then he traded for a military surplus BC-348 receiver to round out his station.
During past operation, George has utilized dipoles for HF operation and beams on two meters. After upgrading to
Conditional Class, getting on voice was very desirable, so he hooked up a modulator to his AT-1 and started
transmitting his “you betcha” commentary across the airwaves. The next equipment upgrade took George to a
Central Electronics 200V transmitter and a National NC-303 receiver, then later to a Swan 500C transceiver.
Somewhere in the many years of past experience, he even dabbled in a little RTTY operation for a period
George currently operates HF SSB through his reliable ICOM 761 transceiver and then uses his ICOM
IC 2400A Dual Band VHF-UHF transceiver for regular ragchews with local hams, in addition to participating on
local VHF and UHF nets.
His primary antennas are an open-wire fed inverted vee for HF and a VHF/UHF vertical all mounted on a tower
located right outside his shack.
Over the years, George has spent much time devoted to the support of amateur radio. After graduating from
San Francisco State, he began a 3 ½ year assignment in 1959, broadcasting at ARRL Headquarters in New Hartford,
Connecticut. And of course, he has been an ARRL member continuously since 1959. Then upon returning to California, George worked with a
security firm for many years. During that time, he was also very active as Director of Air Force MARS for five years from
1969 – 1974. Initially, his MARS call was AFA6SNA and at the end of his service he was issued the permanent Senior Call of AFZ9WQ. During his MARS years, George was interviewed by the Modesto Bee providing insight on the important operation of the Military Amateur Radio Service.
Incidentally, George sold his original AT-1 years ago for $25 to a local ham who “just had to have it.” What a deal for another ham to have all those years of operating experiencing connected to that one of a kind rig!
In addition to being an active member of the San Joaquin Net for many years, George also belongs to a few local ham clubs in Modesto and Turlock where he is very well known as solid member of the local amateur community. Over the years, he has actively helped with exams offered to prospective hams through the local clubs.
Unfortunately, George is the only member of his family deciding to join the ham radio community.
We are certainly pleased to have George as a longtime member of the S.J. Net to show the continuing comradery of the membership over the years.
San Joaquin Net
Here we go again with another opportunity to check out what other members are up to that check into the San Joaquin Net. Ever thought about what that guy or gal with the melodious voice looks like if you haven’t attended one of the annual picnics in May? What about the equipment they are using for that blasting signal? Is it the rig or the antenna or both? What the heck got them interested in this fabulous hobby anyhow?
This article is part of a series that will give you the opportunity to meet some of the Net Members through a little more interesting detail than just our on-the-air conversations. You might even learn about some common activities that generates an on-the-air contact for a more in-depth rag-chew.
For the March 2019 San Joaquin Net “Featured Station”, we are pleased to present a very active member of the San Joaquin Net, Charles “Chuck” McConnell, W6DPD, from Fresno, CA. As with many of us, Chuck began his interest in ham radio as a youngster. Here’s his story….
Larry Esau, AD6W, started out his interest in ham radio in 1960 at the tender age of 15, (you do the math) while listening to a neighbor’s ARC-5 receiver and became enthralled with the shortwave bands.
In 1963 his parents gave him a Knight-kit Star Roamer Receiver for Christmas to stimulate his SWL curiosity. Using it he discovered hams on 160-meter AM. From there, Larry became so interested in what they were saying that he decided he would do whatever it took to become a ham. He found several local hams willing to help him: Mayor of Kingsburg Harold Strand W6HKV, radio-TV repairman and S.J. Net member Charlie Heilman WB6GJG, and Santa Fe RR telegrapher and S.J. Net member Bob Henry WB6DAZ.
While waiting for his Novice ticket to arrive and with the assistance of local ham, Charlie WB6GJG, Larry purchased his first transmitter a Johnson Viking 1 for $30 at the Hacienda Hotel Fresno Ham Fest. They lugged the rig to Charlie’s car, and when they got it to his workshop, Charlie fixed it and said it would be Larry’s rig as long as he mowed Charlie’s lawn a few times to pay back for the repairs.
While patiently waiting for his ticket to arrive, Larry got a Navy key from the Horse Trader (Bill Nichols)
east of Fresno and wore out a light bulb dummy load practicing CW with the transmitter. Novice Station
WN6YMO began operation effective August 5, 1967 with a Knight-Kit R100A receiver to go with the
Johnson Viking 1 with a 40-meter dipole. Being a rockbound Novice with only one crystal, Larry spent
several months operating on 7,134 KC. After eventually getting a crystal for 21,134 KC he began to work
European DX on 15 meters. On February 1, 1968, Larry passed the General exam and was issued the new
call of WB6YMO. Then in 1978, he secured an Extra Class ticket to receive his current call sign of AD6W.
The ham shack involved setting up his equipment on a desk in his bedroom, but after keying the transmitter, his parents noted some significant picture shrinkage on the TV in their room across the hall, so his Dad wired a new circuit to his room. That Viking 1 drew a lot of current!
After 51 years on the air CW is still Larry’s favorite mode. He also likes to operate 10-meter AM with vintage equipment, and SSB on the San Joaquin Net.
Throughout his many years of activity, Larry has built several kit receivers and transceivers. His Elecraft K3 was a modular kit, and his transverters were built from component kits. He has designed and built several kilowatt amplifiers, antennas, various control devices, and power supplies.
Larry is on the DXCC CW, Phone, and Mixed Honor Rolls with 339 current countries confirmed, 351 all-time, 2,534 band countries confirmed in the DXCC Challenge, and 912 island groups confirmed for the RSGB IOTA program. He also chases Antarctic science stations and lighthouse stations. To help with on-the-air activities, Larry has restored and operates vintage Collins, Drake, Johnson and National gear and uses it on the air in the Classic Radio Exchange and Novice Rig Roundup operating activities. Check out the station photo for some of the rigs.
He still repairs his own equipment and you can see that the AD6W workbench is well equipped, with a variety of semiconductors and more than 10,000 vacuum tubes and other parts on hand, so Larry usually doesn’t have to buy parts.
AD6W has helped about a dozen people become hams, including his
wife Shirley KD6DJD, and daughter Elisabeth KB6DXU. Uncle Dennis Warren
WA6ONP (SK) rounded out the family of hams. While working as an
electronics tech at Sperry Corporation’s New Holland Division during
1972-1982, Larry ran licensing classes for employees in the company
lunch room after hours. San Joaquin Net member Jack KK6LK was one
of Larry’s students back then, and they’ve enjoyed a great friendship
Outside his ham radio hobby, Larry likes steam railroading and tries to ride as many trains as possible. He has built a large Lionel toy train layout, restored antique cars and builds hotrods in his shop; including a 1917 Ford Model T, 1930 Ford Model A, and a custom 1951 Ford F1 pickup.
Club memberships include: ARRL, Strand Memorial Amateur Radio Club W6HKV and Central California DX Club. In addition, Larry and Shirley have participated in parade and community service communications for many years.
Jim Wintemute, AA6F
Posted July 19, 2018
Posted March 13, 2018
For the inaugural San Joaquin Net “Featured Station”, we are pleased to present a familiar voice to most of you, Jim Wintemute, AA6F, from Livermore, CA. Jim is currently serving as Net Manager and does a fantastic job of keeping all our activities organized to help make the Net such smooth operating activity. Now meet Jim in his bunker of operations….
Jim Wintemute, AA6F, and a friend developed an interest in Ham Radio while they were in Junior High School. Even with this early interest, Jim couldn’t remember if he met any other hams until they got to High School.
Jim obtained his Novice license when he was seventeen, while attending Roosevelt High School in Fresno. The license exam was given at the school radio club by the club sponsor, a civics teacher, named Erwin Martin, W6HYR. Jim professes that he learned quite a bit about the subject of civics from just running the radio club. His Novice call at that time was KN6RPN. Jim’s first station consisted of a Heath Kit AR-3 receiver and DX-35 transmitter located on a small table in the bedroom that he shared with his brother. His brother was not interested in radio, but generally put up with Jim’s hobby.
Unable to upgrade to the Technician Class before his Novice License expired, Jim upgraded to Technician a few years later and was assigned the call sign WA6KIJ. He believes it was about 1978 when he upgraded to the Extra Class, and was assigned the call sign AA6F.
Jim currently operates HF SSB, but he is looking into some digital operation. He does enjoy building antennas, including wire dipoles and magnetic loops. In the past, Jim put together a number of Heath Kit projects and recently built some Elecraft equipment - although he states that was more assembly than construction. He shared that in past years the radios he had were pretty easy to understand, because the components on the chassis pretty well matched what was in the schematic. Because of that relative simplicity, he was generally able to service his own equipment. He noted that today’s equipment is a little different and that he really doesn’t want to dig into the radios he is using now. He went on to say, “Today’s radios don’t seem to need a lot of service and maybe that’s because they’re ‘smart’ enough to keep me from damaging them!”
In the past, Jim served as an Elmer for his then twelve year old son Jim. They practiced
the code and studied the theory and after two trips to San Francisco, he received his
Technician License, N6EWU. Today, his son lives in New York and is not active with Ham
Radio at this time. On a recent trip to Livermore, however, he was able to upgrade his
license to General Class! Jim believes as far as he can tell, he and his son are the only
Wintemute hams in the whole world!
Jim’s first Job was as an electronic technician with the Sprague Electric Company Special
Products Division at Visalia, California, where he worked for two and half years. From
Visalia he moved to San Jose and went to work for thirteen years at Sylvania Electronics
Systems at Mountain View, California. His last six years at Sylvania were in their new Electro Optics Organization, where he was introduced to laser technology. He moved again this time to Livermore and went to work at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Electronic Engineering Department. There, he was assigned to the Laser Program and worked in that assignment for twenty-five years.
After retiring from LLNL, Jim went on to work as an independent contractor for the Metal Improvement Company that uses high energy lasers to strengthen critical metal parts. He worked there for about nine years providing technical services.
Jim wanted to acknowledge the following individuals that helped and encouraged him along the way to pursue his hobby. These gentlemen include:
Erwin Martin, W6HYR, his high school Civics teacher and Radio Club Sponsor.
Gerald Fries, W6PCS, Electronics Instructor, Fresno City College. Mr. Fries suggested that he checkout Sprague Electric Company for a possible job as an entry level electronic technician.
Norman Weed, W6CE, The man that hired him to work at Sylvania.
Edward Pinheiro, K6IFL, CMSGT Airborne Communication Shop, California Air National Guard, Fresno California. Jim worked in Edward’s shop for six years, involved with maintaining airborne navigational aids.
Roy Tuck, who taught Radio Shop at Roosevelt High School. He was not a ham but Jim attended the summer school version of his class before entering high school the next fall. Jim credits Mr. Tuck for getting him off to a good start with his upcoming high school adventure.
Jim has belonged to the Livermore Amateur Radio Club since 1977. He became a member of the San Joaquin HF Net in the early months of 2010 and became our Net Manager in May of 2011.
April 2018 QST Article Includes Letter from Bob, W6RMW
From the Archives: October 28, 1958 Roll Sheet
Mia, W6MAI Carl, KJ6OHI
Walter Schivo, KB6BKN
Larry Esau, AD6W
A Walk Down Memory Lane
Personal Stories from Members
Larry Esau, AD6W
San Joaquin HF Camp Out 1998 (Pictures compliments of WD6FUF)
Posted September 6, 2018
Posted July 19, 2018
Roger Corum, WD6CNV shares a personal account of how he first became interested in Ham Radio. I'm sure many of you will recall your early days with a cat whisker crystal set! CLICK HERE to read Roger's account.
Carl Evans, KJ6OHI
Posted May 18, 2018
Carl Evans, KJ6OHI, started out his interest in ham radio by needing a stimulating hobby to ‘keep busy” after retiring in 2010. After enduring a little prodding from his wife, Mia (Extra Class W6MAI), Carl joined the amateur radio ranks as a Technician Class Licensee in 2011. Wow, he retires and just a year later lands the Tech ticket to launch on a new career, I mean hobby! He acquired a tri-band Yaesu VX-7R as his first rig to operate on the air!
Not being content with the Tech operating limitations, Carl quickly graduated to General Class in 2012. Now it’s time to get more serious with gear, so his shack became adorned with a Yaesu FT-897D connected to an Antron antenna (a CB Big Stick) up at 20 feet that reached out to the world on HF.
Carl says, “Talk about fun, this hobby is addictive and I love it!”
As a General, with seven years’ experience, he has continued his station improvement to incorporate an Elecaft K3 with antenna tuner, pan adapter and a 500-watt amp. This all leads to a Force 12 beam for 10 and 20 meters on a 55-foot tower. Then off the sides of the tower is a dual fan inverted vee for 40 meters and 75/80 meters.
After getting his base station pretty well set up, there became the challenge of wanting
to continue operation while mobile. That meant becoming creative to fabricate all the
installation parameters that goes into a mobile installation with every one being a unique
learning experience. After many hours of planning, cutting, drilling, and strategically
routing critical wiring, Carl finally got on the air with his mobile station consisting of a
Kenwood TM-V71 covering VHF/UHF and a Yaesu FT-891 for HF. With the help of a Yaesu
FC-40 tuner and a 102” whip, he’s successfully dialed-in for operation on 40 – 6 meters
on all four wheels!
When he’s not conducting business on the San Joaquin Net, you can usually find Carl
as a regular on the Noontime 40-meter net at 7.2835 MHz. Otherwise he enjoys working
special event stations, contests, and he chases IOTA’s (Islands on the Air). Between his busy operating schedule and obvious commitment to “honey-do’s” around the homestead, Carl somehow finds time as an active member of the Paso Robles Amateur Radio Club and the local CERT (Community Emergency Response Team).
With all the other ham radio interests Carl has going, he’s becoming quite proficient with CW and is now at 13 WPM thanks to studying for 2 years with a local Elmer (an unfortunate SK). As he progresses to become a real brass pounder and increases his proficiency in that unique language, we may hear his CQ one of these days and have a memorable, old fashioned CW QSO. I know I look forward to that opportunity!
Carl notes that through all his trials and tribulations to learn and progress through the amateur radio community, he continuously looks to his Extra Class wife Mai, W6MAI, as an inspiration to strive for higher achievement within the ranks of the amateur radio community. Go Carl and Go Mai!!!
(Download of page available HERE)
WB6FEH, Bill Mercer and Net Manager AA6F, Jim Wintemute have been discussing the importance of preserving San Joaquin HF Net history on our website. Bill has been digging through Mercer Family files to share some memories of the past.
Bill, WB6FEH comes from a "ham family" that included his dad Dick Mercer, WB6OTB; mom Laura WB6FCX and Evelyn WB6MHA. WB6OTB and Bud Odgers, WA6OVE had a friendship that dated back to late 1945. Bud's involvement with ham radio was influential in the Mercer family's amateur radio interest and ultimate licensing in the latter part of 1962 and the early months of 1963. Bill remembers Bud's 1960 shack in El Portal well. It included a BC-348 Signal Corps receiver and a Multi-Elmac AF-67 transmitter! WB6OTB became a Silent Key in November of 2012 and WB6FCX was (SK) in January 2017.
Bill, a newly licensed General Class, began checking into the SJN sometime in 1964 using AM phone - the prevalent voice mode at the time. His rig was a Gonset G-76 "transceiver"! In 1967, Bill went off to Cal Poly and he purports that although his net involvement diminished during a period of time, he never was completely inactive. Today, Bill is the only remaining active ham in the Mercer family.
The first of the WB6OTB photos featured below were mostly taken mid-1960s, the last one being taken in 1987. The later photos were taken after Bud WA6OVE's memorial service in Mariposa in December 1999. Bill promises to continue the search for old SJN photos found in boxes that he will share with our membership. Thank you, Bill, WB6FEH!