Member Spotlight – Jose Rivera
When were you first licensed ? I was first licenced in 1991.
How did you become interested in radio? Watching my uncle talk on his HF radio. He would sit under the ground plane antenna in his backyard and talk to his friends. I believe he was in the Civil Air Patrol.
Member of any organizations or clubs? I am a member of the ARRL and actually started a local ham
club back in the 90s. It was the Spanish Harlem Amateur Radio Club (SHARC) and we had a SHARK as our mascot. The club last a few months. I have my radio website which I created in 2006. It features a few articles and over 1600 photos of my urban ham operations.
And I currently volunteer with the local New York City Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (ARECS) group.
Favorite band and modes? My favorite band is 20 meters SSB. I find it is the most dependable for daytime voice operations. I am working on putting together a good 40 meter antenna so that I can also get on at night time too. I work SSB, though I am studying my CW in order to have that as an option while QRP.
What advantages and disadvantages are there to operating in an urban area? The advantage of operating in an urban area is that of having to learn about your equipment, environment, and people around you in order to be able to operate to the best of your ability. Those who put up towers are blessed indeed. But they may never know art of stealth operations or how to make the best use of speaker wire for an antenna in the attic. In an urban area you are forced to know your working environment and how to best utilize the equipment you have to get out on the air.
The disadvantages of being an urban ham is that you may be limited by what type of antenna you can put up. Unless you own the property you will probably not be able to put up even a small tower. With access to a roof you may only be able to up a vertical or small VHH/UHF antennas. You may also be restricted by your landlord (if you rent) and not be able to put up any antennas. And you must be very careful to ensure that others are not hurt by a fallen antenna that was badly mounted.
Many urban ham antennas are compromise antennas, tend to be smaller than their tower cousins, and hence don’t transmit and receive as well as their full size cousins.
So in order to operate well you must get the best antenna possible for your location and maximize your radio communications skills. Some hams go portable in order to work around the residential antenna limitations.
Describe some of your favorite Field Radio experiences (locations and/or QSOs). My favorite field locations is New York’s Central Park. Whose northern side is just 4 city blocks from my home location. But I travel another 12 city blocks south to get to my usual operating city park bench. One of favorite QSO happened in August 2013 when I contacted a few stations in the mid-United States and spoke to them for about 35 minutes. They were surprised I was talking to them from a city park running barefoot (100 watts).
My latest experience was making some contacts with my new Elecraft KX3. I was able to be heard by few stations while in Central Park with just 5 Watts of power!! QRP is great fun when you make contacts, no matter how close or how far.
Any Future Hobby Plans or Goals? My goal is to build a Magnetic Loop antenna using thick (diameter) coax, a variable capacitor and some PVC pipe. I also wish to work towards making New York City a less hostile place for hams to operate. Right now landlords and the City Parks Department make it hard to put up antennas. I envy all those who live in suburban and exurban areas where they are free to throw and antenna up a tree and operate. And where no one is around telling them what they can and cannot do.
I am an Advanced Class operator and am thinking about study for my Extra. But being that no one can any longer become an Advance Class Radio Operator, I may just wish to hold out and someday become that last Advance Class operator. (Hihi de K9ATG)
Transceivers and Antennas:
Home: Yaesu FT-857D, FT-897D, FT-950, FTM-350/AR, with Wolf River Coils (Silver Bullet and Mini) and an MFJ-1979 Telescoping Whip
Field: Elecraft KX3 and MFJ-1979 Telescoping Whip
Jose’s You Tube Channel
THANK YOU, Jose! Running Field Radio operations in an urban area is not often attempted. For you, it’s everyday and you make it look so easy despite the complications that come with every outing.
73 de Joe K9ATG
Please note that the photographs appearing on this page can be viewed in a larger size by clicking on them.