First Name John
  QTH Mondovi, WI
  Prior Call(s) ⇰  KN8TFC  K8TFC W∅NKU WO9Q
  Other interests ⇰  
  Email W9TFC
  My External Web Sites   None


When I was 14 years old my mother redirected my energy from getting a motorcycle to ham radio. I had already shown an interest in radio by building several crystal radios. She knew a lady whose husband was a ham radio operator. He became my Elmer. My cousin’s boyfriend helped me get the parts to build a code practice oscillator so I could learn the code. My Mother would send me code until I could figure out what letter she was sending. Then I used ARRL W1AW code practice to get my speed up to the point I could copy 10 WPM. My Elmer Mr. Savage (Bill K8KMQ) administered my novice test, which I passed.

I was first licensed in 1960 as KN8TFC. I was 14 years old and lived with my parents in Flint Michigan. My first rig was a Heathkit DX-20 and a National NC-109. My antenna was an 80-10 meter HyGain vertical mounted to the back of our 2 story house. My key was a Military J-38 which I still have. I got my general class ticket the summer of 1960 with the help of my buddy Chuck K8PDU (now W8LVT). We are still very good friends to this day. I tried various ways of getting my DX-20 on phone with poor results. My dad decided I needed help and bought me a Globe Scout Deluxe. My Mom and Dad saw the potential ham radio could offer in electronics and supported most all of my crazy ideas. The Globe Scout worked better but I still had trouble working my dad’s uncle in Detroit, Al W8EKW. My next station was a used Johnson Viking Valiant. This rig, along with a new dipole, allowed me to talk to Al and the group on 3.880 AM. I have very fond memories of those early morning QSOs before running off to catch the city bus to high school.

After I got my EE degree from Michigan Tech Univ., at Houghton Mich., I moved to Minneapolis/St Paul area in 1969. After the shock of entering the work force, in 1973, I got my call changed to a zero call. I lucked out and got a "W" call, W∅NKU. I was not very active for quite a few years while I got settled into my new life. Just about every year though, I would trade and/or buy some ham gear. At one time or another I had a RME 4350A, Collins 310B, Heathkit SB401/303, HX50, Tempo one, HQ-170A, Drake 2C, TS-180, TS-930, Ten Tec Corsair, and Icom 730. I am sure there were more rigs, but I can’t think of them. My favorite antenna is the folded dipole.

I got married in 1980. My wife, Mary, was infected with the ham radio bug and was licensed in 1985 as KA∅MX. She works mostly DX on CW (Rag chewing) and sometimes sends CW in German. She is not active now because of her new hobby of raising milking goats.

We moved to Eau Claire Wisconsin in 1989 due to a change in employment. I kept my W∅NKU until about 1990. Both my wife and I sent in for "9" area calls at the same time. She got WO9R and I got WO9Q. On CW hams had a hard time with the letter "O". Some hams would copy the letter "O" as the number "0". Then, when I followed the letter "O" with the number"9", they got confused. Where is 09????? I got frustrated with this confusion and in 1996, through the vanity call sign program, requested my first call back, K8TFC. In 2001 I again used the vanity call sign program to change my call to W9TFC.

Currently Mary and I live half way between Eau Claire and Mondovi Wis. on a hobby farm (about 100 acres). Current setup is:1) Elecraft K3/100for SSB/CW, 2) Johnson Viking II with 122 VFO and a National NC-300 receiverfor AM/CW, and 3) Homebrew 4-250 RF amp modulated with a pair of 572B, RF/AF driver is Johnson Ranger II and a Hammarlund HQ-170A receiver for 75 meter AM. Antennas are Bazooka for 75/80 meters at 35ft, Par Electronics 40 meter end fed half wave wire at 30ft, dipole on 30 meters at 30ft, and a tri band 3 element Mosley TA-33 yagion 20/15/10 metersat 40ft.

I retired on Jan 2006 and have been enjoying my extra time at home. You can find me on 40M near 7.052MHz CW. Sometimes during the summer I work CW from our deckusing my Elecraft K2 or I work portable CW from one of our fields using K1 or ATS-3B QRP rigs.

In January 2011, I became interested in building a 1929 Hartley MOPA (Master Oscillator Power AMP) and remembered an article Harold KB9ROB had sent me in 2006 describing how to build one. In March 2011, after re-reading the article and talking to Harold several times, I built a Hartley Master Oscillator using a NOS tube type10Y (Military version of tube type as 210 or 10), a gift from Harold. Then in July 2011 I built a Power Amp which sit on top of the Master Oscillator. I started out using a 10Y as the PA output tube, a gift from Bill W3CK (SK) via Scott WA3FFC, and can run up to 10 watts output. Later I changed the output tube to a NOS 211 tube type, a gift from Ron K5HZ, and can run up to 80 watts output. I decided to back off on the output power to 50 watts to reduce the stress on these tubes since they are expensive to replace. Listen for me and my MOPA on 80 CW after 10pm Central time. My signal is the one with a little charm (chirp) on it.

Hope to see you on the air.

73's & CU on CW, John W9TFC

  Is this considered a multi-op club operation?   (...asks George K9GDT)


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  Last update June 11, 2017