...formerly WB6MRQ

Ham Radio Station of
Frank Kibbish, Jr.




Current Solar Conditions
Last Updated: 1505 UTC
SFI: 76A: 5 K: 1
SSN = 20.

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.

Recent Activity

What's Happenin' Now...

February 18, 2018: I am still (essentially) off the HF bands, having taken down my HF antennas in November to have a solar system installed. I'm in the process of installing a 6-band hexbeam on a 35' mast, and hope to have the work done by the end of this month (at the latest).

The hexbeam installation process is taking much more time than I had estimated -- largely due to unforeseen and unrelated priorities that require my attention -- but I am making slow and steady progress.

In the meantime, I have put up a 40-meter dipole at 20-feet just so I can get on the air. The low height significantly limits its performance of course, but it's the best I can do for the moment. I also have a tuner in line to load it on other bands, but the tuner isn't real happy on some of the other bands -- one of which is 20-meters, which is unfortunate because we are actually seeing a small burst of propagation on that band right now.

Oh well...

ARRL Centennial QSO Party

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?!)

HF and DX

Since moving to my current QTH in 2006, I've been focusing more and more on working DX. I still have a full time job -- can't afford to retire just yet -- so it's definitely a part-time effort, but I'm having a lot of fun as I gradually confirm QSO's with more and more countries. I've recently upgraded the station a bit. I now have an Icom IC-7600, a 6-band hex beam (at only 20' for now, but that's temporary), a SPE Expert 1.3K-FA amplifier, and a multi-band inverted-vee at about 38 feet. The inverted-vee is used only on 30, 40 and 75 meters, and isn't very efficient, but it at least allows me to operate on those bands.

I've also joined the Northern California DX Club (NCDXC), and I'm learning a lot from the members about how to get through those pileups when you don't have the world's best antenna system.

My Most Recent QSOs

I upload all QSO's to LoTW and Clublog. I update to LoTW and Clublog immediately after any contest, and at least once a month for non-contest contacts. So if you want an actual QSL card from me, direct, the bureau, or Clublog's OQRS should all work. But with all that said, my first choice is always LoTW, and I get the majority of my confirmations that way. (Note: I no longer upload QSO's to eQSL. I found that not that many people in the US 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.

I enjoy contesting from time to time, and I currently have a 6-band hexbeam on a 20-foot mast as a temporary installation. (It's "temporary" in the same way that many things are... it's been there for over 2 years now! Hopefully I'll find time to do a permanent installation soon.) A picture of the home QTH with a TH3JR in the same location is shown in the picture to the right (click on the picture for a larger version that clearly shows the yagi above the left side of the house). The hexbeam has replaced the TH3JR, and works great on all 6 bands (20 - 6 meters).

Field Day

With the combination of contesting and camping in mind, Field Day has been an annual outing for me since before I received my Novice license, and 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.

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).

License Class and Affilitaions

Originally licensed as WN6MRQ in 1975, 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) -- and then to Advanced class in the next year. I upgraded 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 has taken some getting used to. I've updated QRZ.com with my new call info, and I'm gradually updating all the things I own with my old callsign on them to instead be marked with N6OI. (It's amazing how many things end up with your call sign on them!)

In the past, I've served in a variety of positions, including editor of the Golden Empire Amateur Radio Society (GEARS) newsletter (Chico, CA), ARRL Emergency Coordinator (Fremont, CA), evening net control on the Western Public Service System (3.952 Mhz), and Bulletin Manager for the Santa Clara County section of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).

I'm a life member of the ARRL.

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:


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 Thursday December 14, 2017 at 10:59 PM EST.