...formerly WB6MRQ

Ham Radio Station of
Frank Kibbish, Jr.





Current Solar Conditions
Last Updated: 1205 UTC
SFI: 147A: 4 K: 2
SSN = 37

This page is an overview of my Amateur Radio -- aka "Ham Radio" -- activities, one of my favorite hobbies.

If you are curious about my many other hobbies (I have more than any one person should... really), check out my generic Hobbies Page.

My History in Ham Radio

I've been licensed since June, 1975. Originally licensed as WN6MRQ, I upgraded to General class — which is when my call sign became WB6MRQ (that's the way the FCC managed call signs at the time; "WN..." calls were for novices only) — and then to Advanced class the next year. I finally got around to upgrading to Amateur Extra Class in 2009.

As of July 31, 2012, I hold the call sign N6OI. After 36 years of identifying myself as WB6MRQ on the air, it took some getting used to. I think I've managed to update most online references (ARRL, QRZ.com, etc.) with my new call, but I'm still finding and updating all the things I own that were marked with my old callsign. (It's amazing how many things end up with your call sign on them!)

Recent Activity

What's Happenin' Now...

August 29, 2021: From a ham radio standpoint, it's proving to be a pretty low key summer. I did attend Field Day with my usual group of friends this year, but that's the only radio-related event I've attended in person. All the ham clubs and conferences are still online only (Zoom), and the electronics flea market that usually runs during Spring and Summer here in Silicon Valley has yet to resume operation.

And despite the fact that Cycle 25 is starting to provide us with a few sunspots here and there, new DXCC countries are seldom spotted. When they are, it's usually only on FT8 — which at this point is getting pretty boring. In fact, I'm not hunting DX at all these days unless Ham Alert (which is a great program, by the way) notifies me of an ATNO ("all time new one").

So aside from those infrequent ATNO hunts, my current on-air activity is limited to chatting with friends weekday mornings on 40M (the Rhubarb Net), and occasionally checking into the Maritme Mobile net (14.300). I'm really looking forward to the day when DXpeditions start showing up on the bands again!

My Current Station

I live on a very small suburban lot — just under 7,000 square feed. So for HF antennas, I currently have a hex beam on a 33-foot mast, as well as a 40m/30m fan dipole hung under the hex. The picture on this page shows the hex beam near the center of the property. (Click on the picture for a larger version.). The hex works great on all 6 bands (20 - 6 meters).

Inside the shack, I have an Icom IC-7610 and a SPE Expert Systems 1.3K-FA amplifier for the HF and 6m bands. I also have an old dual-band (2m/70cm) radio in the shack so I can monitor local repeaters, and my latest toy is an OpenSpot DMR hotspot (UHF), which I use with a BTECH 6X2 VHF/UHF handheld. (I'm really liking the 6X2. In addition to being a pretty decent HT in general, it can hold the entire worldwide DMR database, so you see the callsign and name of anyone that transmits on the talkgroup that you're monitoring.)

On-Air Activities

HF and DX

Since moving to my current QTH in 2006, I've been focusing more and more on working DX. It had been a very part time endeavour until I retired in February of 2018, but now I'm enjoying spending a good amount of time hunting for those rare ones that would usually show up while I was at the office! hi hi

I've also joined the Northern California DX Club (NCDXC). In fact, I became a member of the Board of Directors in 2019. If you live in Northern California and have even a minor interest in DX, you should check out the NCDXC.

My Most Recent QSOs

I upload all QSO's to LoTW and Clublog. I update to LoTW and Clublog almost immediately after any contest, and at least once a month for non-contest contacts. If you want a physical QSL card from me, direct, the bureau, or Clublog's OQRS should all work. But I only send out physical cards periodically, and my first choice is always LoTW. (Note: I no longer upload QSO's to eQSL. I found that not that many people in the U.S. use it, and since it doesn't integrate with either LoTW or Clublog, it was just an effort that wasn't providing any benefit.)

The panel on the left shows the most current QSO's that I've uploaded to Clublog. You can also check to see if you're in my log by using the "Search" box at the top of the panel.

Field Day

With the intention of combining contesting and camping, Field Day has been an annual outing for me since I first took the Novice exam. In fact, I attended my first Field Day after passing the test but before I received my Novice license.

Field Day is still my biggest annual radio "event". The Field Day group that I'm associated with has been together since 1977. We are not a formal club, but refer to the group as the High Sierra Field Day Group. You see, a few of us realized that, (a) Field Day is supposed to be a demonstration of operation without commercial power, and (b) we all enjoy camping, and (c) there is certainly no commercial power in the forest, so... why not conduct Field Day while camping? We turned Field Day into an annual camping trip in the Sierras, and get to put up some pretty interesting antennas given that we have all those built-in antenna towers (aka Pine Trees)!

A small number of us have been doing the "Field Day Camping Trip" since the beginning. Countless others have joined us for anywhere from one to 20+ years. We used to average about 15-20 attendees per year, but in recent years we're down to more like 10-15. But it's still the event I look most forward to every year.

ARRL Centennial QSO Party (2014)

I have been a ham for over 40 years but as of 2014, I still hadn't completed my WAS (Worked All States) award. I still needed at least one contact in Missouri, South Carolina and Utah.

In 2014, the ARRL gave me the incentive I needed to finally go for the award with their ARRL Centennial QSO Party. The basic premise of the contest was pretty simple; there was an official W1AW "portable" station activated for two 1-week periods in each state during that year. (W1AW is the callsign of the ARRL's station at their headquarters in Newington, CT.) So there were two opportunities to work that state for the contest. Anyone working these special event stations in all 50 states is to be awarded a special certificate for their WAS Award.

There was another aspect to the Centennial QSO Party as well, and that was to go not just for Worked All States, but for points. Each W1AW station counts for 5 points, contacts with ARRL members are good for 1 point, and contacts with ARRL officers can count for as many as 250. And life members of the ARRL like myself are worth 2 points. So many hams tried to work every ARRL station, official and member they could find. But for me, this is just a fun way to finally qualify for the WAS award -- I didn't track how many points I've racked up. (That being said, it turns out I did earn enough total points to qualify for the second level points award. How about that?!)

Clubs and Affiliations


Northern California DX Club (NCDXC).

Northern California Contest Club (NCCC).

American Radio Relay League (ARRL) (Life Member).

Ten Ten International, member number 21301.

Public Service

In the past, I've participated in a number of public service related events, and been a member of numerous public service oriented organizations. Past affiliations have included working with ARES and the Red Cross. Currently, as public service activity goes, I'm most active in the Cal Fire VIP Program (see below).

Appointed Positions

In the past, I've held a variety of appointed positions in multiple organizations. I've served as editor of the Golden Empire Amateur Radio Society (GEARS) newsletter (Chico, CA), evening net control on the Western Public Service System (3.952 Mhz) net, Assistant Emergency Coordinator and later, Bulletin Manager for the Santa Clara County section of the (ARRL).

I'm currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Northern California DX Club (NCDXC).

General Areas of Interest

The list below contains a brief summary of some of my favorite activities and events, as well as links to sites that cover most of the topics in detail. Other pages on this site (see the "Links" list across the top of the page) cover areas that I've put a bit of thought into, for whatever reason...

Public Service


DX Operations

Mobile Operation
  • 2011 Toyota Tacoma TX|Pro Double-Cab
    • The TX|Pro is no longer sold. The closest thing today would be the Tacoma Pro
  • Secondary 12V Power System -- fun with Anderson Powerpole Connectors
    • Photos are coming soon...
  • TM-D700A VHF/UHF installation
  • APRS Mobile Tracker using TM-D700A and a Garmin Nuvi 350 GPS
  • Antennas (VHF, UHF, GPS)
  • Mobile HF (someday...)

Related Links:

Favorite Radios:


DISCLAIMER:This site is a constant "work in progress". To be honest, it's not my first priority, so updates will come when I have time — which may not be often. But I'll try to make sure that anything I do post here is more or less timeless. There's nothing worse than an out-of-date web site...    - 73, Frank


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Last updated on Sunday August 29, 2021 at 10:48 AM Pacific.