On The Cover: May  2009



Jerry Prindle, KL7HFI

On the Cover

Jerry Prindle, KL7HFI, operates PSK-31 from his well-appointed shack in Juneau, Alaska. Jerry says he has been interested in digital modes nearly since his earliest days in ham radio in the late 1950s. He was first licensed in 1958, in California, as KN6JXV, quickly upgrading to Conditional and becoming K6JXV. “I almost got into RTTY right off the bat,” he said, “but I couldn’t get a station together,” recalling the huge teleprinters used in those days. Jerry says he then became inactive for about 10 years and let his license lapse.

He was relicensed in the late 1960s as W6EDA, then moved to Alaska and became KL7HFI, where he again became inactive (but maintained his license) “until about 20 years ago. About that time,” he said, “packet radio was just starting out, and a friend and I got on packet and had a wonderful time.” That led to his starting a packet bulletin board system (BBS), with ports not only on VHF but also on 20 and 40 meters, that he ran from 1988 to 1998. Today, his primary interest on HF is PSK-31, although he also likes to monitor other digital modes, such as Hellschreiber, which he describes as “fascinating.” Jerry is also the VHF chair for the Juneau Amateur Radio Club and takes care of the club’s five repeaters in the Juneau area. He has been retired from the commercial telecommunications business for a couple of years, where he worked as a traveling communications technician, maintaining repeaters and microwave sites throughout southeastern Alaska.

Jerry says HF band openings are quite different in Alaska, opening to specific areas rather than whole continents. Plus, he says, “When propagation is open, it’s great. We don’t have to compete with the rest of the U.S. in most instances!” (Cover photo by Larry Mulvehill, WB2ZPI)

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