...formerly WB6MRQ

Ham Radio Station of
Frank Kibbish, Jr.





Current Solar Conditions
Last Updated: 0305 UTC
SFI: 70A: 8 K: 2
SSN = 13.

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 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 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 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...

March 30, 2020: Here we are, starting our third week of the statewide shelter-in-place order due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Everyone's staying home — working from home if they can — and trying not to go stir crazy.

Being retired, I'm pretty used to being at home, at least most days. But I admit that it's much different when you need to stay home every day, without so much as a trip to the hardware store or your favorite electronics parts outlet.

I find that the biggest change for me is the fact that I'm spending a lot more time in the ham shack. Part of that is because I'm home more in general, and part because my wife is now working from home and I have to stay out of her way!

Of course, having a ham station is the perfect way to keep busy during my government-mandated "staycation". The only problem is that the HF bands stink! The next time we have a pandemic, can we at least schedule it during the peak of the sunspot cycle so we can all work some intresting DX?

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 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 Connect Systems CS580 UHF handheld.

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), and I'm learning a lot from the members about how to get through those pileups when you don't have the world's biggest 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.

Field Day

With the intention of combining contesting and camping, Field Day has been an annual outing for me since before I received my Novice license. It's 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).

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 Monday November 25, 2019 at 4:14 PM Pacific.