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Bill Dzurilla
Extra Class
NZ5N United States

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Other Callsigns
WN2YRD in 1967 in New Jersey, then WB2YRD. Moved to Florida in 1969, call WB4RSF. Moved to Louisiana and became WD5HRO, then KF5DD, then NZ5N. Retained NZ5N after returning to Florida in 2004. Summer call OM9ACA, Slovakia. DXpedition calls C91NZ, HQ8R

My Ham Radio Interests
DX, EME, VHF/UHF in general, satellites.

ICOM IC-756 Pro II for HF and 6 meters
ICOM IC-7000 for satellites and local repeaters
Yaesu FT-847 for EME, meteor scatter, satellites, 2 meters and 70 cm terrestrial

ACOM 2000 1.5kw for HF
Lunar Link LA-200 1.5kw for 2 meters

MFJ 1793 vertical for HF (modified to add 17m, 15m, 10m)
M2 2M9SSB 9 element yagi for 2 meters
Elk 2m/70m dual band log periodic for satellites
Homebrew 12 element yagi for 70 cm (K1FO design)

KL6M mast-mounted preamp for 2 meters
ARR mast-mounted preamp for 70 cm
Dell Optiplex desktop computer for WSJT and other digital modes
Donner interface

Other Interests
Star Trek

South Florida DX Association

My 40 Years of Ham Radio - Part II - Getting on the Air

From NZ5N

3/14/2010 6:23:56 PM (3 comments) Add a commentAdd Comment

Shortly after my novice license arrived, I met Vin at his home before a CD meeting, and he let me use his rig to make my first QSO, a CW contact on 40 meters with another ham in Carteret a few miles away. It would be my first and last CW QSO for years to come.

As mentioned, I didn't have a lot of money. A check of the prices even for used HF gear seemed prohibitive -- it was necessary to buy both a transmitter and a receiver.

The Heathkit catalog appeared to offer a solution. For just $45, I could buy a Twoer, a transceiver kit, both a transmitter and a receiver in one small package. Novices could then operate AM phone on 2 meters, and voice appealed to me more than CW. Also, HF required big antennas, but Vin assured me (one of the few times he was inaccurate) that the only antenna I needed for 2 meters was a 'metalicized lollipop stick', a simple 19 inch piece of wire stuck into the antenna jack.

Well, the Twoer arrived promptly from Benton Harbor, but my teenage lack of talent and experience with electronics soon became apparent. Although the instructions said the kit was easy to build, I messed it up badly, with incorrect connections and poor solder joints. Some instructions baffled me completely and I just guessed what to do. Needless to say, when finished the Twoer did not work at all.

Don and Nick came over one day to help. They rewired the power supply and promised to return to redo the rest, but they never returned. They probably had a good laugh about my poor work after they left my house.

Another opportunity to get on 2 meters soon presented itself, however. The CD had several grey Gonset Communicator IIs for 2 meters and some yellow Communicator IIIs for 6 meters. John asked me if I'd like to borrow a 2 meter set and I lit up like a Christmas tree. The antenna was a 19 inch whip that clipped on to the carrying handle on top of the rig.

That night I set up the Goonie box on the kitchen table and started calling CQ. No one answered me, so I tried answering someone else's CQ. Finally got an answer and I excitedly had my first phone QSO, and then made several others. The area was a hotbed of 2 meter AM phone activity and, especially after I moved the shack upstairs into the attic, it was possible to work folks for about 25 miles in each direction. I made plenty of QSOs, mostly with high school kids.

Shortly thereafter came the June VHF QSO Party, my first contest. On one of my first contest contacts, the other station came back and said, 'WN2YRD this is W2XXX. You are 5 by 9 in Northern New Jersey. QSL?' At the time, the term QSL had only one meaning for me, so I responded, 'Sure I'll be glad to QSL, give me your address and I'll have a card in the mail Monday.'

In those days, they used ARRL sections rather than grids as multipliers, so I ended the contest with 40 points: 20 QSOs with a multiplier of 2 (Northern New Jersey and New York City - Long Island). Vin and the other locals with yagis had many more QSOs and multipliers than me, and it began to dawn on me that the 19 inch whip was not the most effective antenna.

But there was a more serious problem. Just before the end of the contest, I broke the Gonset.

Read the 3 comments after the break below.


by KA6KBC 3/16/2010 1:00:07 PM

Hi Bill,

Really enjoying your write up.

You might want to check out and post at:

Novice Historical Society Home Page

73's - Bill - KA6KBC

by NZ5N 3/16/2010 8:33:44 PM

Thanks, Bill. I had seen that page and it inspired me to write this account of my early years in ham radio. I had planned to submit to the Novice Historical Society page, but how? It says to click on the Submit a Novice Story link, but I do not see any such link.

73, Bill NZ5N

by KD8MLP 4/4/2010 8:21:32 AM

My first project didn't work out well either. It was a 2 transistor CPO. I later discovered why Radio Shack sold heat sinks next to the soldering irons. I really enjoyed reading this.

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