Station Details

In the late 1990’s I settled in Northern Virginia with my family about 50 miles west of Washington, D.C. in a valley between the hills near the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers (Close to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia). My FCC call sign is W5ODJ.

The station here is new as of April, 2008 and includes an 70′ free standing tower with some of my antennae attached to it as well as a heavy duty 72′ crank-up US Tower with a 4-element SteppIR with 6/30/40 meters added. Above the SteppIR is a 2m antenna.

The SteppIR is a great antenna! I also use an inverted-V for 40, 80 and 160 meters on tower1 and an 80/160 meter dipole strung between telephone poles beyond tower #2 approximately 300 feet away from my shack/home. They are driven by an ICOM 7610 into an ACOM 2000A amplifier with output power up to the full FCC legal limit of 1,500 watts on bands that allow.

What follows is a few photographs I’ve taken over the years with a little commentary. I enjoy all modes, including digital, and operate in all bands. My initial license was CW (Morse code) only on HF and so for at least my first year that was the only mode I practiced. That was over 40 years ago. Since then I still do CW but not as good as some of the other folks I know. But do all other modes that are allowed by the FCC.

I am involved in the ARRL Field Day exercise most years While I have tons of photos and video of various field day events this one stood out for me as I randomly came across it 9 years later. It’s from 2009 and set in Loudoun County, Virginia. I miss the early years of field day in Virginia.

We live in a beautiful part of the country. This is my old tower with the SteppIR before being moved to the new tower.

Christmas Day 2014

And the SteppIR on the new tower with the tower in it’s lowest position:

After tower completion and ready to operate

It’s been a lot of work but certainly worth the effort! If you want to see what kind of effort it is to build a tower like this you will find some interesting photos here.

The following photo was taken September 25, 2016 with the tower extended. I had to repair one of the EHUs on the SteppIR. That one is black where the original were grey. The plastic spindle broke inside the EHU which kept the antenna from operating properly. Doing the repair was easy with the crank down and tilt-over functionality of the US Tower.

Drone shot of tower 2

The telephone poles would be installed soon after that photo was taken. These hold the ends of half wave dipoles for 40, 80 and 160 meters.

Tower 2 about half way up

The telephone poles are in, the 80 meter antenna is up on the poles and everything else is coming along. The grass around tower 2 is turning green again. Still have minor work to do to finish everything up.

Is there anybody out there?

It’s been windy lately so I have my tower in the down position.

Tower 2 at sunset this winter (2017)

Towers 1 and 2 from the pond.

Blue sky and 75º in February.

Tower 2 and the telephone poles holding dipole antennae.

At the top of the tower I use a “Tilt plate” engineered by NN4ZZ. He has pictures of this setup on his web site at this URL.

Drone shots of my antennae

SteppIR at sunset December 19, 2017
Tower 2 fully extended in the wintertime.
Winter moon and tower 2; January 2018
Tower 2 after a snow storm February 18, 2018
Tower 2 after a snow storm March 21, 2018
Tower 2 after a snow storm March 21, 2018
Tower 2 after a snow storm March 21, 2018
Home July 20, 2018
When the wind blows 50mph I put this tower and antenna on the ground.
Tower 2 back on the air after some maintenance and recabling of my SteppIR motors. October 2019

Useful weather links go here. Hurricanes, etc.

Regularly used radio links go here. Calculators, etc.

I hope to see you on the air one day soon.

Updated October 28, 2019 21:27