KD5ZLB Amateur Radio Station


Interesting Note:
On the top shelf and to the left is a 'night light' I made from huge insulators used in WWII to support massive wire antenna arrays. It was once given as a gag gift by a dear ham friend, now a silent key, who took the time to inspire a fledgling ham (me) in the art of cw, his main operating mode and one I now thoroughly enjoy.

On the left, top narrow shelf is the MFJ-941E tuner used with the loop cut for 80m and up about 55 feet. It is fed with 450 ohm ladder line. I have two methods of tuning, controlled by a relay outside. In one method the ladder line goes to a ferrite bead balun outside and a short piece of coax comes directly to the tuner. In the second method, the ladder line comes directly into the tuner and uses a homebrew 4:1 current balun placed inside the tuner. To the left is a speaker for the TS-850.

Below the tuner is my first radio, a Kenwood TS-850s.

On the right shelf is the homebrew z-match tuner which is used now with the loop and ladder line feed. (Details are further down the page.) On the far right are the qrp rigs: bottom rig is a Tentec 1330, middle rig is the SW+ 20m, and the top is the Norcal 40A from Wilderness Radio.

On the bottom right shelf is the Astron RS-35M power supply which powers various radios. To its right is an Icom 2720H VHF/UHF rig.

The bottom left shelf holds the newest rig, an Elecraft K3.

On the desk stands the Shure 545SD Unidyne III dynamic microphone used with both the Kenwood and the Elecraft. Also, is a green can, a real Wilson's tea container brought to me from England full of tea. It now serves, with its leaf toggle switch, as a PTT switch for two radios. You can also see the Begali Spark straight key and the Begali Simplex paddle.


Top row and to the left is the Wilson's tea can/switch. In the middle is a Palm Mini Paddle, which slides back into its box for easy carrying and serves as a great portable paddle. Hinges mounted on the wooden base provide weight and serve as metal for the magnets in the base of the paddle. When portable, the paddle will adhere to the steel cabinet of the FT-857. The straight key is used mostly with the Drake TR-4. To the right is my favorite paddle, a Begali Simplex.

On the next row is one of the newest additions, a Begali Spark straight key, a delight to use. in the middle is a Czech Republic WWII vintage army military key. To the right is a keyer built from plans in the May 2004 QST, the Smart Keyer Lite. It will provide positive or negative keying and I use it with the Drake TR-4 since no keyer in that rig. It is also used with the qrp rigs needing a keyer.


Above are closer views of the NorCal 40A qrp rig for 40 meters. On the rear panel is a second jack for a paddle, while the lower jack is for straight key.


The latest edition to the qrp menagerie is Dave Benson's fine kit, the SW+ for 20 mtrs, from Small Wonder Labs.


This is a homebrew z-match used on bands 80 through 6 meters. The right control is a vernier to enable precise tuning. A toroid bridge (in back right part of the cabinet) allows monitoring of forward or reflected power via a switch above the meter. The meter is switchable from low power (10w) to high power (100w). The antenna posts allows balanced line, but the tuner will accomodate unblanced line (coax), although no separate input at this time, but could use the antenna posts.


OK, guess this is homebrew z-match jr. It was designed to tune the 40m ef zepp used with qrp for camping, which it will tune on 40m - 15m. It also will tune an ef 40m half wave wire, as well as a twin-lead-fed 40m dipole. Ant connection is for unbalanced line using the coax switch on left.


This small tuner will tune end-fed half-wave antennas for 40m, 30m, and 20m. In addition there is a switch to bypass the L-match (toroid and trimmer cap) and output to another BNC. An SWR bridge with LED may be used in all four of the above modes.


This is a tuner designed to tune half-wave wires, of which the counterpoise can be only .05 wavelength long. It is designed to handle 100w where the Altoids can tuner will only handle about 30w. A separate half-wave wire for each band must be used, but the 40m wire can also be used on 20m. Since end-fed half-wave antennas have approximately the same reactance, only the capacitor is needed to tune.

This is the homebrew Mini Horse 3-ele wire beam for 17m. Spreaders are bamboo coated with brown paint for better weather and sun protection. The directory and reflector ends fold back on the spreaders, so the beam is actually smaller than a full-sized 17m beam. On the ends of the driven element is what I refer to as a cap 'T' wire perpendicular to the element. Near the center is a coax wound balun. Click on the picture to get a full-sized version. (Lower left is homebrew open feed for the 80m loop.)