Chuck Swedblom WA6EXV SBMS Life Time Achievement Award

Chuck was born in Montana on February 19, 1926. The family moved to Idaho when Chuck was 6 years old. They had a small ranch near McCall, Idaho. Chuck learned many tasks while ranching. His father ran a pack train for the U.S. Forest Service and did guide and pack trips for private hunting groups. Later Chuck would work as a Forest Guard putting in lookouts and running phone lines into the back country. He would also be a fire fighter when that was needed. Skiing was also part of Chuck's life in High School. Chuck joined the Navy and went through electronics and radio schools. He was stationed on Hawaii from 1943 to the end of the war, where he took care of transmitters for the pacific operations. He became a licensed amateur some time during 1943. His call was W7JHX.

He married Jean in 1946 and moved to Moscow, Idaho where he attended the University of Idaho, and later to Kansas, where he went to Central Radio & Television School, in Kansas City, MO. His call while in Kansas was W0OZH.

After returning to Idaho he worked for a Radio Supply Company in Boise. Having joined a Naval Reserve Unit while at the University of Idaho, he was active in a reserve unit in Boise. He was called to active duty during the Korean conflict and was stationed at the Tongue Point Naval Base in Astoria Oregon. Following discharge, he moved his family to Port Orchard, Washington where he managed a radio and TV service shop. During this time he played with HF and VHF radios and experimented with ATV over 10 GHz.

Chuck worked for Philco Corporation Technical Representative Division and was stationed at Edwards Air Force Base Rocket test site in the late 1950's. Since then his call sign has been WA6EXV. He was transferred to the Navy Lab at Corona California and was assigned to the naval base at China Lake in 1960. In 1966 he became an employee of the government at China Lake where he retired in 1987.

Chuck and Jean moved to Ridgecrest in the 1960's and eventually to their present location between Ridgecrest and Inyokern because it had better VHF path to Southern California and he could put up bigger antennas than in the city.

When Bill, WA6QYR moved to China Lake in 1969, he met Chuck. Chuck became a member of SBMS that Bill had joined a couple of years before. The two have been driving to monthly meetings ever since.

During the period from 1972 to 1974 Chuck was instrumental in designing a 2.3 GHz beacon to go on board Oscar 7. Working along with Chuck were Gordon Lowery, WA6ZKY, Dick Kolbly, K6HIJ and Frank Adams, W6BPK.

In 1973 Chuck took the five foot rack full of vacuum tubes ROCKLOC design and turned it into a Solid State ROCKLOC design when running transistors at several hundred volts was still a novel idea. Klystrons took little current but three hundred volts for the repeller and negative 600 volts for the cathode.

In 1977 Chuck built a ROCKLOC system with a solid state 10 GHz Gunnplexer instead of a klystron. This wideband fm XCVR design was published by Microwave Associates in an Application Note that appeared in May 1977. An updated version using the RCA CA-3089 fm if amplifier/detector is still published in the ARRL Handbook.

In the Spring of 1978 Chuck had taken an old telemetry transmitter and converted into a beacon with ID'er and it was installed as the First 2.3 GHz Beacon on Heaps Peak.

Antennas were another area of interest to Chuck. He built his own antenna range in order to test his designs and projects of other amateurs.

Solid-state oscillators were coming on line in the late 1970's and by mid-80's they had grown in power capability. In 1987 Chuck designed and built two high-power 100 milliwatt Gunn 10 GHz sources. He gave one to Ed Munn W6OYJ who used it to take top score in the next ARRL 10 GHz Contest, outscoring Chuck by only 300 pts out of 10,500.

As technology progressed, so did Chuck's projects. In the 1990 time period a commercial surplus of Microwave Associates 12 GHz data transmission units became available through some surplus dealers. Chuck took some of the hardware and converted them to the amateur 10 GHz band use and provided documentation to the amateur microwave community.

Over the years, Chuck has produced several excellent LNA designs for 10 GHz.

Also in the 1990 time period Chuck designed and built a Kilowatt Transmitter for 13 cm EME using a Microwave Oven Magnetron. His excellent article was published in the Jan 1991 Communications Quarterly Magazine. In May 1992 the first California 10 GHz EME QSO was from Chuck, WA6EXV Ridgecrest to Jim, WA7CJO in Phoenix.

In July 1993 Chuck and Phil Lee, W6HCC set the North American 10 GHz Terrestrial DX record from Mt Pinos to Mt Ashland Oregon; 537 miles/865 Km. This was the 2nd attempt over the long path.

Between 1991-93 Chuck and Phil teamed up to see how many grids they could work on 10 GHz from Heap's Peak, and later from Keller Peak. As of 1994 they reached 31 Grids for Chuck and 34 for Phil.

In 1994 Chuck and Phil made the first California to California 10 GHz EME QSO. This was from Chuck's QTH in Ridgecrest to Phil in Beaumont.

In Dave Laag, K6OW's outstanding 1994 article on SBMS History, he stated he wanted to choose one SBMS figure from the last 25 years who had had the most influence on local and general Amateur Microwave progress. Paraphrasing Dave's article---- Chuck Swedblom, WA6EXV brought the rest of us from the older technologies like klystrons..... to rapid deployment of newer technologies, first to Gunnplexers, then "Narrowband" and finally PHEMTs and the moon. Dave then repeated a statement made by Frank, WB6CWN, that efforts such as those by Chuck "allowed the rest of us to look great while standing on the shoulders of giants".

By 1996 Chuck had continued to push our boundaries by moving up to the 24 GHz band, first with Gunn wideband systems. That year the ARRL added "and UP" to the 10 GHz Contest, and Chuck finished in third place with a combined band score of over 12,000 points and best DX of 178 Km.on the higher band. He experimented with higher power Gunn sources but was unhappy with their drift problems. This drove him to work toward 24 GHz narrowband capability, including the need for decent LNAs and stable LOs. By 2000 he was operating with a "thoroughly modern", all homebrew 24 GHz rig and urging the rest of us to join him.

A major SBMS effort began in 2001 to replace the twenty year old 2.3 GHz Heap's Peak Beacon. Chuck, working with hardware from Sam K6VLM along with some of his own designs built the new 1.2 to 2.3 GHz beacon- translator and antennas that were installed in November of 2002. As part of this effort a main antenna goal was to have omnidirectional horizontal polarization with significant gain. Chuck discovered major problems with widely-accepted Slot Antenna design formulas and software, produced an excellent antenna, and disseminated the results to other microwavers. This is a good example of the thoroughness he exhibits in every project, and in his desire to share his findings with others.

Chuck has been there for us, and has been pushing us to have better equipment and make longer distance contacts.

On behalf of the San Bernardino Microwave Society it is my privilege to present Chuck Swedblom at this time, with the Society's Lifetime Achievement Award.