History of my Station and HAM Radio Life

It all started with SWLing around 1987 or so when I was a schoolboy at Royal College Colombo. I was introduced to SWLing by Asantha Cooray (Now a PhD Astophysicist) one of my classmates then. The passion for Ham Radio was slowly created in both of us we operated the school club station 4S7RS back then. After getting my Novice License in 1989 4S5AB, I was able to upgrade it to General class with all privileges in 1990 with the callsign 4S7AB.

I started on VHF with a Kenwood TH-25 using hard earned money. I started on HF with a FT-7B and Dipoles. Few years later, I homebrewed a 20m 3el yagi which triggered the interest to go beyond the dipoles and touch the other side of the plannet. Thereafter while upgrading my radios, I paid higher attention in maintaining the antenna farm. Some of the homebrew antenna highlights over the years were

20-17-15-12-10m 3 el cubical quad using bamboo

160m T-wire vertical

40m/30m hex beam

10m 5 el yagi

15m 4 el yagi

6m 6el yagi

And recently the 40m/30m full size 2 el cubical quad.

I have made Yagis and Quads for almost all the bands for 40m and above. This is a good experience for comparing these two main types of antennas used by nearly 80% of the ham population. I have put up delta loops, dipoles, inv L’s  and Moxons time to time for various requirements including Field Day, JOTA etc… Also I have made and used a 40m/30m hex beam for few years before I learned the lesson of improper mechanical stability by experience 🙂

I am a SSB ragchewer at times and a mercyless CW contest operator at another time. I also do all the digimodes and operate satellites when I feel like it. Therefore if you only got 599 TU in a CW contact with me, it is not because you are not so important, it is the way I operated at that particular time. Sometimes, I may drag you into a CW rag-chew for a longer one….So please be with me…

Digital Modes

I have been active on all the DigiModes most of them from the start of the mode. Starting from Amtor, Olivia, FelHell, ThorB, PSK modes, FSK modes, MFSK  and now on JT modes. The Digital Modes somewhat takes away the ‘Human Touch’ from the hobby but it keeps attracting the newcomers to the hobby which is vital for the survival of the hobby in the long run. I am fascinated by the ability of the micro computers to decode and drag the callsigns and details from the noise which is not even heard or  ‘seen’ by humans. Things will be more interesting in this new paradigm of the hobby.

DXCC and contest wins

After completing my DXCC, I do not collect QSL cards anymore. But I reply 100%. If you need my card for your award or your personal collection, please request through Paypal or Direct. More information about this is in qrz.com. I do not upload my log to online servers and please don’t ask me to do so.

I was able to place new country records for CQWW SSB/CW, and WPX contests. Also was #6 in the world in IOTA LP/Island Stn category in 2017. These are all personal success milestones in the hobby, but all the records are open to be broken…

Overseas Ham Radio Experience

Starting from 1999, visiting Trondheim Norway as an Exchange student, I was able to visit nearly 20 countries. I was able to associate with local hams/clubs in these visits and was able to obtain local callsigns for operating longer periods. My US callsign KA5MAL, Maldivian callsign 8Q7ED are some of them. In other countries I operated using guest callsigns like SM0/4S7AB, LA/4S7AB, 9M0/4S7AB etc…

The overall experience of seeing how other hams are doing things better in terms of antennas, operating practises, contesting etc.. was truly a lifetime experience. This inspired me to make things better at home station. Most of all the humans behind the fist was the greatet wealth I earned during my overseas visits.

Where I live ..

I live about 50km North East of Colombo in a relatively RF free area. I have got sufficient space for experimenting with HF antennas of various kinds.

Family : My XYL Yudheera is also a ham 4S6YUD (Op “Yudi”). I have 2 Kids, Son “Anuhas” and Daughter “Ahinsa”. My father “Upali” is also a ham 4S5UE.

Education 

I have completed my primary and secondary education at Royal College Colombo. A Bachelors Degree with a Honors in Electronic and Telecommunications Engineering was later obtained from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. Thereafter I was able to complete many IT related exams and gain experience in IT, Business management and Telecommunications both locally and overseas.

Employment

After graduation, I was selected for a student exchange program in Norway for working at Siemens, Oslo. Thereafter I was selected for another internship in Stockholm Sweden which later ended up being a consultant in EMC and RF design for few Swedish companies. 80% of my employers are foreign companies after graduation. My final employment was with Cisco Systems USA as a regional Engineer for APAC.

At present I am self employed and have my own Electonic Production company Bravo Solutions www.bravosl.com

Some pictures from old times

Different Antennas over the years

HF Rigs used in the past  that are no longer in the shack

From Left to right

FT-7B – My first HF rig. Used for many years from 1992 until it was sold in working condition. Nice Entry level rig with 50W on SSB/CW

TS430S – Used for only a few days – Returned to the seller with a tech fault.

TS930S – Used for many years from 1996. Sold in working condx. Very good base rig. Nice audio for CW etc…