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.

-Steve, WA6MIZ

​                                                        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

of time.

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.

                                                                                                     Posted February 27, 2019


                                               Charles "Chuck"  McConnel, W6DPD

                                                                        Chuck got started in Amateur Radio in the late spring to summer of 1960 at 18 years of age in                                                                 Omaha, NE, after graduating from high school.  His friend Doug Flair, KØJQS helped prepare                                                                          Chuck for the Technician Exam, which Doug eventually administered.  After passing the exam                                                                        Chuck was issued the call sign, WØBMN, in the Fall of 1960 and soon after he joined the ARRL.                                                                        At the time, Chuck was attending the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, NE where he was active                                                                    on 6-meter mobile using a quarter wave whip and a Saturn 6 Halo.  
     Chuck’s first radio was a Heathkit Sixer, on 6 meters of course, for which he built a mobile power supply.  After operating mobile for a time, he got a Gonset Communicator III which was operated for both mobile and fixed stations.  The fixed station antenna was a 3 element 6-meter Terex beam installed on his second story apartment landing. The apartment station was set up in Chuck’s bedroom and soon expanded to include a Gonset VFO and a Gonset Linear Amplifier.  Later he traded the Gonset equipment for a Gonset Six Meter Sidewinder for SSB operation.  Then the frugal college student traded the Sidewinder for a pair of Hallicrafter 2- and 6-meter transceivers with VFOs.
     In 1964 Chuck married and moved with his bride to an apartment in Lincoln NE, but didn’t do any hamming until 1965 when they moved to a 2-story duplex with more space for a station.  Again, being on the second story, Chuck installed a 5 element Telrex antenna for 6 meters. He was lucky to be close to World Radio Labs in Council Bluffs, Iowa where he picked up a Heathkit SB 110A for 6 meters.  Then in 1967 Chuck and his wife moved to Fresno where he began a job teaching at a local middle school.
     After settling in Fresno, Chuck was assigned his current “6” call sign, W6DPD in 1968.  At the new QTH, he erected his first tower, a Tristao CZ454FS with 6- and 2-meter antennas on it.  Then, he added a Collins S Line with a 62S-1 and a 72-foot tower to his growing station and upgraded to a Gonset Communicator IV for 6- and 2-meter AM.
     In 1972 they moved to their present house which was specially built to include a radio room. In 1975 Chuck upgraded to General, and then to Advanced class.  He got on the HF bands with a HyGain TH6DXX beam and a 40/80-meter trapped dipole on the tower.  And he is still using the same diploe today for checking in on the San Joaquin Net.  Later, the TH6 antenna was changed to a Force 12 5BA, a 5 band Yagi.  The rest of his antenna farm is composed of various antennas for 6 meters, 2 meters, 1.25 meters and 0.75 meters.  His current station includes a Yaesu FTDX 5000MP, a Yaesu VL 1000 amp, Icom 2-meter, 1.25 meter and 0.75 meter all mode transceivers. In 1994 Chuck upgraded to Amateur Extra and participates with the Volunteer Exam program in Fresno.
     At one time Chuck had a large car so he had a HF mobile station consisting of an Atlas 210X and a remote-control Swan Antenna for 80 to 10 meters.  Unfortunately, the mobile equipment was sold when they got a smaller car.  He has numerous FM transceivers for VHF/UHF mobile operation, but they haven’t been used since 2007; 3 handhelds, one for 2 meters and 3/4 meters, one that covers 50 MHZ to 1.2 GHZ, and a one for 220 MHZ

     Chuck spent many years chasing DX and he is at the top of the DXCC Honor Roll with 340 DXCC confirmed.  There are 14 deleted entities and 52 entities on 6 meters Plus, he has earned DXCC on 20, 17, 15, 12, and 10 meters.  Other awards are Worked All states on 40 through 6 meters and WAC on SSB and Digital, and WAZ.  run the VE program for the Fresno ARC.  For all of you contesters, he really likes “Log Book of the World” for confirming contacts. 
     As a very active ham, Chuck has served as ARRL San Joaquin Valley Section Communications Manager (now Section Manager) from 1976 to 1989 and from 2002 to 2012. He served as ARRL Pacific Division Vice Director in 1989 and as ARRL Pacific Division Director from 1990 to 1993.  Being the ARRL Director allowed him to attend a number of events around the United States and to visit Hawaii.  He currently holds the position of Past Director.  His extensive ARRL activities has Chuck belonging to the ARRL Diamond Club Gold, and the ARRL Maxim Society.
     Here’s a list of the organizations for which Chuck is a member: ARRL, QCWA, Fresno ARC, Clovis Amateur Pioneers, 10-10, Central California DX Club, Northern California DX Club, Northern California Contest Club, Old Timers Club, A-1 Operator, Western Public Service System, and of course the San Joaquin Net.
     With all the amateur radio exposure in Chuck’s family, his son, John, became a ham, first licensed in 1989 and upgraded to Amateur Extra in 1995.  His call sign is K6ESL.
     While teaching at the middle school, Chuck had the very rewarding experience of interesting several students to become Novice Class operators. Local hams donated equipment and there was a station set up for them to operate at the school.  The activity even got coverage with a special article in the Fresno Bee Newspaper.

     Chuck taught middle school in Fresno for 34 years and retired in 2001.
     Now, you can find Chuck operating primarily operating SSB, RTTY, PSK, JT65 and FT 8 modes. Chuck particularly likes the current digital modes because of the advantage for weak signal to get through. Listen for Chuck on the San Joaquin Net as a very regular member for many years.


                                                San Joaquin Net

                                                   "Featured Station"

                                                          March 2019
      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….

-Steve, WA6MIZ-

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

                                                           ever since.

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….

-Steve, WA6MIZ-

                                                                                 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

Compliments WD6FUF

Mia, W6MAI                              Carl, KJ6OHI

Walter Schivo, KB6BKN

Larry Esau, AD6W

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Membership News

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!