Steve Werner

We are honored to announce the inaugural "BVRC Ham of the Year" award a fellow BVRC member, Steve Werner, K5SAW.

Our hearty congratulations to BVRC Ham of the Year, Steve Werner, K5SAW.  Steve is a valued member of Bella Vista Radio Club, who also faithfully serves as our Technical Officer.  Steve is known for his broad range of service and assistance provided to members and to the ham community at large throughout the NW Arkansas region.

HOTY After almost two years of frustrations, issues and delays in repairing the 147.255 Repeater at the former Trafalgar water tower site, Steve was instrumental in painstakingly refurbishing and repairing various repeater transceivers and duplexers, eventually upgrading most of the gear.  He then helped lead the effort in relocating the repeater to its new location just across the state line.  The move required an all-new installation, reprogramming a new controller, and adding a PL Tone as required by the Missouri Repeater Council.  Today, the repeater's performance is remarkable and is a shining example of technical excellence and attention to detail.

Further, Steve's name is ubiquitous around Northwest Arkansas, as he is widely known and recognized as an unusually capable friend to hams over a wide area.  Steve often assists with numerous antenna installations, is often our go-to tech for gear alignment and troubleshooting, and frequently lends special assistance to our older members.

Werner has presented numerous Show 'n Tell and other types of programs for the club's monthly meetings, and has volunteered for participation in all special event activities over the course of several years.  


Steve's Story

The son of a physician, Steve was initially educated as a chemist with biomedical endorsement, then followed his dad into med school. But it was engineering where Steve found his calling as a mechanical engineer.  Most of his career was spent in Wichita, KS, within its burgeoning aircraft industry.  Working for Bombardier, the world's leading manufacturer of planes and trains, Steve specialized as a problem solver in the area of flight testing, instrumentation and telemetry.  He loved going to work each morning because every day presented a new challenge.

Steve's primary hobbies at the time were woodworking and metalworking.  After observing recently retired friends accidentally losing 'digits' in their woodworking shops, he began looking around for a less dangerous hobby.  Steve discovered amateur radio and was first licensed in 2013 as KD0WPE.  Soon after, he retired early and relocated to Bella Vista.  The opportunity to upgrade to Amateur Extra came in 2015, when he also secured his current call letters, K5SAW.  Steve doesn't golf or fish, but still enjoys woodworking and metalworking from his 'east side' QTH basement.

Asked about special interests within ham radio, Steve enjoys experimenting with antennas, interfacing computers with radios, working digital modes, and local communications.  Steve admits that he is usually not interested in chatting, other than with local friends.


We asked about his Recommendations to New Hams:

  1. Build your own antennas!  If you build it yourself, often inexpensively, you are more likely to make modifications and experiment, attempting to improve efficiency.  Experimenting with antennas is a great learning experience.
  2. Don't hesitate to consider and explore new and different areas within the hobby that interest you.  Your new license provides legal authorization to "do stuff."
  3. Offer your assistance to seasoned hams in exchange for opportunities to learn from their experience.  (Steve enjoys spending time with older, more experienced hams providing a variety of assistance where needed.)

Recommendations to Seasoned Hams:

  1. Find someone to share and collaborate with on projects, learning something new and providing mutual assistance whenever needed.  
  2. Find a younger or less-experienced ham and trade your experience for useful assistance with projects.  For instance, offer to help with their antenna or other projects, in exchange for opportunities to learn from their experience and knowledge.
  3. Don't stop growing and learning some new area of the hobby.


Recent and Current Projects:

  1. Resonant Antennas - various loops with novel tuning approaches, such as smaller water-filled homemade capacitors that offset the need for large transmitting capacitors.
  2. Latest Project is to experiment with a 'spiral wire loop,' with the goal of trying it out with the local Scouts' JOTA activity.
  3. Steve also has a new "3-D Printer" and is putting it to practical use with an array of projects.

Aspects of the Hobby Not Yet Explored:  Working Satellites with circular-polarized antennas, e.g. the Texas EggBeater.


As to the Future of Amateur Radio:

Current Station and Equipment:

Primary Rigs at K5SAW:  Kenwood TS-2000, with its multi-mode capability and coverage of 160M through 70 CM.  Also uses a Kenwood V-71 dual-band FM transceiver, Alinco power supplies, and a stock of business band and repeater transceivers acquired along the way.  There is no power amplifier, as Steve relies on antenna efficiency.  His antennas are varied, and he is currently tweaking a homebrew HF Hexbeam left behind by former BVRC member K0SNG and deployed at the scouting JOTA.

The well-equipped Test Bench includes:  a 4 channel Tektronix oscilloscope, an HP 8920 service monitor, a Rigol spectrum analyzer, Rigol function generator, and a digital oscillator, among a wide array of other test equiment.


Congratulations, Steve.  You are greatly appreciated, and your HOTY Award is well-deserved!

73!  Your friends in the Bella Vista Radio Club

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