Spotlight

Mark Sutherland – K5DXR

Mark Sutherland – K5DXR, joined BVRC in January, 2020. He and his XYL of 34 years, Jennifer, reside in Siloam Springs. Mark enjoys birding and astronomy, but his main past time is amateur radio.

Mark celebrated his 30th year as a ham last year, being first licensed in 1992, passing his Technician license exam that year, and receiving the callsign KB5RTD. In 1998 Mark obtained vanity callsign K5DXR. He then passed the General exam, and then became an Amateur Extra in 2000.

Here are Mark’s remarks, when we asked him about his amateur radio experiences:

BVRC: How did you get involved with amateur radio?

Mark: There were two things that eventually led to me becoming a ham:

The first, when I was 11 or 12 years old, was a visit from a missionary to our church group. He had a
portable radio with a telescoping whip antenna that he set on the table and talked to another missionary somewhere in South America. It made quite an impression on me. Of course now, I know he had to have been using a phone patch on 2 meters, ha.

The second was getting a cb radio when I was 13 or 14 during the 1970’s CB craze. My parents house was on a high spot for the area of Maryland we lived in. I had a Realistic Navaho base station with a D104 mic and the top of the vertical antenna at 60 ft. I would have stations from all over the DC/Baltimore area calling me. – My first taste of DX. If I’d only had an elmer to get me into ham radio back then. Some 16 years later the no code tech license made it easier to become a ham and I took the plunge.

BVRC: What is your favorite facet of amateur radio and why?

Mark: Going back to that missionary talking to someone so far away, I’ve always been hooked on working DX. The magic of my voice being able to travel anywhere in the world instantly with just 100 watts and a wire continues to be a marvel to me. I currently have DXCC on 10 and 15 meters and am close on 20.

BVRC: What is your most memorable radio experience?

Mark: One that sticks in my mind as a new ham with HF privileges, was working V63BR (Micronesia) on 10 meters. I was plagued with static and called a ham friend to see if he had any advice. He suggested the old turn each breaker off one at a time and see if it goes away trick. Long story short it was a small under cabinet fluorescent light fixture causing the noise. Within minutes of turning it off I was able to hear and work Atson-V63BR. Probably the farthest I had talked at the time. Every ATNO (All Time New One) is still exciting.

And you can certainly tell Mark still has a keen interest in DXing from the enthusiasm he emanates when discussing the subject.

Mark has a FB station at his home: A Ten-Tec Omni VII with a Heil GM-5 microphone. He uses an end fed 80 meter half wave and a Carolina Windom 160 Special as antennas. For VHF/UHF Mark has an Icom ID-5100A. He also has a Yaesu DR2X Fusion repeater in Siloam Springs on 444.575+ MHz 114.8 tone. Mark advises it has fairly local coverage but all are welcome on it.

Mark it is an honor and pleasure to have you in the BVRC family!

by K5DB, Don Banta