About AA6TS (Bio)

First Licensed: October 11, 1988

Current License Class: Amateur Extra

Location: Dulzura, CA (Southeastern San Diego County)

Rigs are: Kenwood TS-570S(G) 160 – 6 meters; Atlas 350-XL with 350-PS matching power supply; Kenwood TH-F6 Tri-Band (2m/220/440) handi-talkie; Yaesu VX-2R handi-talkie; Yaesu Yaesu FT-7900R dual-band VFH/UHF; Yaesu FTM-400DR dual-band VFH/UHF in my car; an Icom Icom IC-207H dual-band VHF/UHF and Yaesu FT-8100R in my go-kit; a Uniden PC-122XL or a Realistic TRC-450 AM/SSB 40 channel CB (there is a Cobra 2000 GTL in the garage awaiting repairs); and scanners (including GRE PSR-800, two Realistics and two Bearcats), six shortwave radios including Sony and Grundig; and FRS radios for CERT events. Amplifiers are a Collins 30L-1 for HF and a Falcon 5122 150 watt 2-meterlinear power amplifier for 2-meters. A Janel QSA-5 2-meter preamp helps on the RX side.

Antennas include a Cobra UltraLite Senior Dipole up 35 feet; Gap Titan DX vertical, Diamond X510HDM for 2 meters/440; a MFJ-1432 “Hyper-Gainer” or a Comet SSB-224NMO tri-band mobile whip antenna in the car; Smiley SMI 27-006 tri-band SMA antenna for the HT; five rotatable hamstick dipoles (10/15/20/40/75) a Larsen 2/70 mag-mount mobile whip antenna for a spare vehicle, either an Arrow J-pole and a discone antenna for vhf/uhf and a portable vertical antenna for HF in my go-kit; and a Shakespeare “Big Stick” CB antenna.

Power supplies include an Astron RS-35M power supply for the HF rig and station accessories; an 83 amp Lambda LZS-1000 for the VHF amp; TrippLite LC-1200a Line tabilizer/Conditioner; a Belkin 12 volt UPS battery backup unit and two 35 ah solar batteries for the go-kit.

Accessories include a Timewave ANC-4 antenna noise reduction unit, MFJ 941D Tuner; two Shure 444 desk mics; Comet CMX2300 Twin HF-VHF/UHF meters, NCG 2050 SWR & power meter; Radio Shack SWR & power meter; AEA PK-12 packet controller and Tigertronics SignalLink USB for the digital modes.
Website: http://radio.tomsmerk.com

I got my ham license in 1988, but I was inactive most of the time since about 1990 until recently. I hold the Extra Class amateur radio license. In the late 1980?s and early 1990?s, I was a member of REACT and also was active with the American Red Cross as a member of the Disaster Action Team, editor of the “Disaster Action News,” and first aid and CPR instructor. Currently, I am a member of ARES, RACES, California Disaster Corps, CERT and the Mountain Empire Amateur Radio Club (KK6FBC).

I am the Public Information Officer (PIO) for Southwest California Skywarn, covering the counties of Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. I am also an ARRL appointed Emergency Coordinator for San Diego ARES. When I am not on the radio or listening to my scanners or shortwave, I am a professor of Business Information Technology for the San Diego Community College District. My main focus is to train adults to gain employment as office workers and administrators. My favorite topics are Windows 7, Internet and Web Page Design. I also work as a “Virtual Assistant” and teach an online Virtual Assistant class for Grossmont College. I offer a variety of services, but I special in document editing, proofreading, web page design, and developing online training to complement textbooks.

I have also been a professional musician since 1965 and occasionally play around the area either as a solo artist or with a jazz band. I have six CDs available for purchase on my entertainer web site at http://musician.tomsmerk.com. I have a few books that I am writing that I might actually get published some day! Besides ham radio and music, my hobbies are traveling, estate sales and classic autos and muscle cars.

I love to write, and I am International Editor for CQ Amateur Radio Magazine. My column, “CQ World Wide,” began with the April 2013 issue. The focus of the column is to report ham radio news around the world. If you have friends or contacts living in other countries that could send me reports and stories of newsworthy happenings, please have them contact me at aa6ts at cq-amateur-radio dot com. I also write feature articles for magazines, and am watching for a recent article to appear in QST magazine.

I am married with four children, one deceased and three living out of state (Two in Kentucky and one in Arizona). My hobbies are weather, recreation and traveling, estate sales and classic autos, sports cars and muscle cars (including NASCAR and drag racing).

The focus of this web site is to offer links to interesting material for experienced hams and to offer training and interesting reading for new hams. I also like to introduce interesting topics for discussion. It is probably obvious how much I enjoy all sorts of radios, and it is a pleasure for me to share my hobby with you. I welcome interaction with the group. Please contact me at either tsmerk at sdccd dot edu or AA6TS at arrl dot net with your comments and suggestions.

I hope you all enjoy my web site. In closing, I’ll leave you with my CB call sign (from the early 1970?s) of KKQ-2795. How’s that for a little nostalgia! Do you remember yours?


Now that you know what I look like, send me your webpage URL or your QRZ Page link so that I can also get an eyeball on you! Then give me a call locally on the SANDRA Lyon’s Peak or Mt. Otay repeater, or globally on 75 meters, such as 3960 kHz. You can also check out my ham operating position on this site’s home page. Nothing special, just some modest gear, but it works!

Tom Smerk, AA6TS Jan.21, 2013
Tom Smerk, AA6TS Jan.21, 2013

Here I am with out local ARES team at a Hospital Drill in November 2012. Besides ARES, I am also active with RACES, Skywarn, CERT and the California Disaster Corps.

ARES Hospital Drill 2012
ARES Hospital Drill 2012

Working at community events such as parades and marathons helps amateur radio operators practice and perfect their skills that will be useful in actual disaster situations. Tom urges you to put your radio skills to good use by joining a disaster communications team such as REACT (Radio Emergency Accociated Communications Teams), ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service), RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service), ARCARS (American Red Cross Amateur Radio Service), SATERN (Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network, Skywarn (National Weather Service), CalFire VIPs (Volunteers In Prevention), CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), or any other emergency communication teams such as those associated with local amateur radio clubs. In this photo, your host, Tom N6TKT (at that time), is volunteering to provide radio communications at the 65th annual “Mother Goose Parade” in El Cajon, CA on November 20, 2011 in support of Southwestern R.E.A.C.T. of San Diego, CA. Tom is also active with ARRL, San Diego County RACES, ARES, San Diego Rural CERT, San Diego Community College CERT, SkyWarn, and is training for the newly formed California Disaster Corps.

Here’s a recent photo (May 10, 2014) of me providing radio communications at a checkpoint/aid station for the Pacific Crest Trail 50 Mile Run in Mt. Laguna. We had other’s with HT’s relaying runner info while I maintained contact with all the other checkpoints using my 2m/440 mobile dual receive Yaesu FT-8000. Antenna was an Arrow J-Pole raised up on a painter’s pole. Simple, but effective! We had AC power for this event, but my go-kit also has batteries for times when there is no power. When I use my 100 watt HF rig, I bring the solar panels to keep the batteries charged.

Tom at the Pacific Crest Trail 50 Mile Run in Mt.Laguna on May 10, 2014
Tom at the Pacific Crest Trail 50 Mile Run in Mt.Laguna on May 10, 2014

The next photo is the same event and same location, taken a year earlier, May 11, 2013. If I remember correctly, I think I did this whole event with just my Kenwood HT.

PCT50 - 2013
Tom at the Pacific Crest Trail 50 Mile Run in Mt.Laguna on May 11, 2013

Copyright 2010-2015 by Tom Smerk