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Marv Bloomquist N5AW
N5AW Photo

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Marv Bloomquist N5AW is an active contester who makes about 10,000 QSOs a year. He was first licensed in 1955 as KN5ABV, and became N5AW in 1976. Marv has also held the callsigns WA6CLR and VE6CGS. In addition to DXing and contesting, Marv is also interested in six meters, and has completed WAS and WAC on six meters, but still needs a few more countries for DXCC. He enjoys the challenge of low power, and has never run more than 120 watts output from his own station. Marv's awards include DXCC Honor Roll (CW and Mixed) and 5BDXCC (#386).

The N5AW station is on a small ranch in the Texas Hill Country. The main antenna is a SteppIR 4 Element Yagi on a 135' tower. A 48' self-supporting tower has a home built quad for 6/10/15/20 meters. At least one more tower is planned.

Lightning Damage (June, 2007)

Marv's main tower took a direct lightning hit on June 4, 2007. The second director of the SteppIR was blown completely apart and separated from the boom. The other three elements survived and the antenna continued to work on 20 meters, even reversing. However, it would not retune to other bands. Marv had the coax and control cable unplugged.
The fiberglass tube on the side of the element that was hit was shredded into small pieces. The other side broke on impact with the ground. Marv had not retracted the copper strap inside the fiberglass tubes before the strike. He found no sign of the copper strap in the side that was hit, leading to speculation that perhaps it vaporized...
The lightning bolt hit about six feet from the center of the element and blew the motor housing apart. In addition to the damaged SteppIR antenna, Marv found minor damage to his antenna rotor, and antenna relay on another tower, and the computer interface on his Icom IC-746 transceiver.

Building an Operating Console (April, 2004)

This photo was taken before the top shelf was fastened. There is an access panel across the back of the covering that is just a tight fit - no screws. There is also about a two inch gap between the top shelf and wall. Several power supplies are housed behind the monitor. Marv designed it so the mounting for the monitor can be turned over and a radio put under the monitor.
The grey metal box with all the cables coming out the back (next to the CW memory keyer with the 12-digit keypad) is a homemade SO2R controller. The CW memory keyer is a back up, and not normally used.
The right side of the desk and the back are supported by the wall brackets. There is a cable tray running along the back of the desk.
This is a cabinet that fits below the left side of the desk. The panel bringing all the antennas into the shack is behind it when installed. The bottom could house a computer; however, Marv put the computer on the other side of the desk to simplify cabling and get it a little further from some of the RF.
The operating console at station N5AW in April, 2004. The desk surface is one of the laminated tops used for kitchen counters. The 24 inch deep laminated top lies on top of a piece of 3/4" plywood that is about 32 inches deep. The lip on the laminated top covers the front edge of the plywood. The back 8" of the desk surface is thus 3/4" lower, which Marv likes, because it gives a little more tilt on the radios.

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