My Way

Website updated on May 11, 2020

In the picture you can see the following (top shelf from the left) a 29 MHz CB radio, an ICOM IC-215 (145 MHz FM transciever) and an instrument (Power and SWR). On the lower shelf are speakers from Heathkit and next to this is my first HF transceiver Heathkit HW-101 (this was bought as a kit by me and I built it myself for a couple of weeks). On the table (from left) you see the power supply for HW-101, power supply for HW-9, the QRP transceiver HW-9 from Heathkit (which I also built from a kit) and next to this you can see the electronic manipulator from Heathkit and then a Swedish-made telegraphy key.

My start with Amateur Radio

My way into the hobby started when I was 13 years old and was a high school student. In one of the lessons, woodwork, we had a teacher who later turned out to be a radio amateur (SM0EQK Bengt), and he started a topic called "technology" as one could sign up for - which I did.

During the lesson hours Bengt told us students about the wonderful world of radio. Later on we visit Bengt in his home and his radio room in his basement, and if I don't remember wrong I think he had a complete set of Hallicrafter equipments. This visit was a real injection in my continuing interest in radio as a hobby.

During the lessons in school we also got a chance to build our very own and very simple radio receiver and with this, we could listen to some broadcast stations. I remember how I sat at home in my room in the evenings with the receiver and a simple wire antenna listening to some broadcasts stations such as the BBC, Radio Moscow and the Voice of America among others.

On January 11, 1980, I became a shortwavelistener (SWL) with the signal SM0-6596 and later the same year, August 14, I got my first amateur radio license and my signal was SM0LPO. Eleven days later, I turned 14 years old and nothing could be a better gift than my amateur radio certificate. 

The highest license level in Sweden

On September 16, 1982, when I was 16 years old, I got my amateur radio license of the highest level. This level was called level A and with this in my hand I could use a radio transmitter with an output of max 500 watts.

To get this licence one needed approved test in technology and regulations, and an approved test in morsecode (CW) with the speed of 80 characters per minute in both sending and receiving.

I was now allowed to use amateur radio bands without restrictions such as lower license classes had and I kept my callsign SM0LPO. As a result of the highest license class, I now changed all equipments to a new equipment from Yaesu and the model was FT-101ZD. Along with this I also bought an power amplifier of the same brand with the model type FL-2100Z, an antenna tuner and a speaker.

The amplifier was not used many times because I had huge problems with RFI. Besides disturbing neighbor's television, radio and stereo, I managed to even turn on and off their modern high-tech electronic stove in the kitchen. I quickly realized that it was better to sell the amplifier and put an end of all the problem that I had caused my parents contact with the neighbors. I Think my parents were very happy with my choise to sell my amplifier.

In the picture you can see my brand new Yaesu equipment. From the left you can see the speaker box SP-901, the HF transceiver FT-101ZD, the amplifier FL-2100Z and next to this antenna tuner FC-902. At the far right of the shelf is a police radio scanner and on top of this an instrument for power and SWR. I still have the FT-101ZD, SP-901 and FC-902 as a spare radio and everything is in extreme new condition even though it was purchased in 1982.

In the picture you can see my Cushcraft MA-5B (mini beam for 10-20 meter bands) and to the right you see my 5 element beam for 50 MHz and on top of this a 10 element beam for 144 Mhz.

A new page was turned in my life ...

Life proceeded and I stopped with amateur radio as a hobby for many years by various causes. However, on Wednesday, November 13, 2012 I was once again active with amateur radio. The reason why I now once again become active depended entirely on my neurological disease that I got two years earlier in 2010, and this had now deteriorated and I became totally sick from my job earlier in 2012.

From this time I also had a specific contest callsign, SB0A, which I'm using during most contests. The contest on CW is a bit of a challenge for me because my callsign SB0A is often mistaken for HB0A - an active radio amateur clubstation in Liechtenstein - so because of that dilema I'm using my personal callsign SM0LPO instead in some CW contests.

My hobby became my savior in my situation, and even today it is a faithful friend in my everyday life. Because of my disease I do have seriuos problems running morse code with my key from time to time. My fine motor skills in my hands and fingers works very poorly most of the time.

I now tried once again to build up an amateur radio station and I also bought a brand new modern transceiver, ICOM IC-9100, which is a "all in a box transceiver". In the end I was very happy with the result and I felt that I really could enjoy the amateur radio again ... I was now entering the world of digital modes and my power dropped from low to QRP.

The life for me was quite good at that time and I really did not had to have my desease in the center all the time. It felt good ...

In Sweden we have a saying "but tell the happiness that lasts forever ..."

I was forced to go QRT ...

When everything were about to work and I really could enjoy my hobby, I had to once again go QRT.

This time it was my landlord who suddenly said to me that I had to take down all my antennas at once. If I did not do this, it could end with eviction from my apartment.

There had been complaints on my antennas and that it looked very ugly. The argument was also that it was not allowed to have anything mounted on or from the balcony. When I then pointed out that several of the neighbors around had large parabolic antennas for satellite television mounted on their balconies my landlord became visibly annoyed and said that this was nothing I had to do with. I would only ensure that all my antennas disappeared as quickly as possible.

So now I was back to square one again and I tried to be out portable as much as I could but the disease put a stop to this - it just did not work anymore. All things around me was against me and I had to go QRT again ...

I needed to change strategy yet again ...

In the picture you can see me running a SSB contest from my car that I had parked in the middle of a forrest. For this purpose I bought a ICOM IC-7000 and my antennas was a dipol for 3.5 and 7 MHz. On 14-28 MHz I had a YP3 from Superantennas which is a portable 3-elements beam mounted on a 10 meters high telescopic aluminium mast. 

(Click on the picture to see a bigger version of the picture)

I am now finally QRV again ...

I am finally QRV again on 3,5 to 50 MHz with CW, digital modes (PSK and FT8) and RTTY (in some cases also some QSO on SSB) with QRP-power on HF-bands and on 50 MHz the power is between 20-100 watts depending on what mode I'm running. 

In the near future I also have an ambition to get an antenna for 1,8 MHz. 

My transceiver IC-9100 also has an opportunity to run both VHF and UHF. I have antennas lying in my storage for both 144 MHz (10 elements yagi) and 432 MHz (16 elements yagi) and these I will possibly set up in the future too. It would be nice to try some satellite QSO's on these bands. I will also put up some vertical antennas for some local FM/repeater traffic on VHF/UHF.

I can also be active remotely from my home with the help of products from Microbit 2.0 AB, but also direct from the site where my equipment is located. This solution is not optimal but practical for me because I often cannot go out to my radio-QTH because of my illness so I can be at home and running radio "remote" instead. Somedays I hope I will be able to have a equipment more situated for remote than this one.

One day, in the near future, I will also put up some of my diplomas and also some prizes I have from various radio competitions on the walls.

I have now left the traditional radio ...

To optimize my conditions for being able to enjoy amateur radio remotely from home, I have now sold my ICOM equipment and bought myself a brand new Flexradio-6400ATU.

My future planning to become QRV on the VHF / UHF bands I have to pause right now. The reason is that I no longer have any radio that works on the high frequency bands.

There are some mixed feelings after taking this step into SDR but at the same time I believe a lot in the new technology and I really think this will be a boost for me in my situation. The main thing is that you can enjoy amateur radio as a hobby regardless of equipment appearance - with or without visible buttons.

Up and running ...

Today, November 25 2019, I have installed my new Flexradio-6400ATU and next to this I have placed my Yaesu FT-101ZD and the associated antenna tuner. This radio was a very modern radio when I bought this new in 1982. Although it is 37 years since I bought this one, it is still in absolutely new condition and fully functional.

My antennas are 3-element mini-33-A from Mosley for 10, 15 and 20 meters. For WARC plus 40 and 80 meters I have a Kelemen Trap dipole DP-WARC+8040 from WiMO. For the moment I have not any specific antenna for 50 MHz. 

Mikael Karlsson

Swedish Amateur Radio Operator




Skogvaktarvägen 4, 1 trappa
151 47 Södertälje, SWEDEN


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