Fall 2006 Issue

CQ VHF Visits:

M2 Antenna Systems

Beginning with this issue of CQ VHF, we will endeavor to
highlight a factory tour of those VHF industry hams who contribute
to our VHF/UHF/SHF operation. We start out with a tour of M2
.

By Gordon West, WB6NOA

Mike Staal, K6MYC, is a hands-on kind of guy! (Photos by the author)

I first met Mike Staal, K6MYC, in the early 1970s, when he and two friends, Ken Holladay and Mel Leland Farrer, started KLM Electronics.

“We amassed $500 and purchased a radial arm saw and started to cut and fabricate aluminum antennas,” commented Mike. KLM grew and expanded into the field of VHF and UHF solid-state amplifiers, and eventually went big-time into the TVRO market.

How many of you remember one of the first synthesized multimode 2-meter SSB transceivers, the KLM Multi 2000? This was my first 2-meter SSB synthesized transceiver! How many of us still run the KLM KT-34?

The success of KLM allowed the sale of the company in 1984, so Mike took a year off and spent time with famous Hawaii tropo DXer Lou Anciaux, WB6NMT. Mike became fascinated with weak-signal propagation and all of the aluminum needed to make it happen.

While Mike traveled with Louie, Mike’s XYL, Myrna, kept busy starting up her own printing business when she wasn’t teaching high school. “I purchased a computer graphic printing machine and began doing business cards, letterhead, and Mike’s QSL cards,” said Myrna, smiling, and just as 24/7 energetic as Mike is.

In late 1985, Mike started work on a project for the University of Alaska fabricating a 150-foot cylindrical dish and steerable feed system. Mike and Myrna’s sons, Matt and Kenny, came aboard, and when the Alaska project was completed, they decided to concentrate on VHF and UHF antenna systems, both ham and commercial.

“During the following three years, we outgrew our 1000-square-foot shop in San Martin, California, and we moved the building and our residence to Fresno for 11 more years of antenna building on Del Mar Avenue,” commented Mike. “But in those 11 years, a huge shopping center began to emerge all around us; and my antenna range was now overshadowed by a 15-foot high chain-link fence and huge cement buildings. Time to move again!” continued Mike.

The new location is in West Fresno on Selland Avenue, a brand-new commercial area so new it doesn’t even show up older GPS mapping programs.

Our visit to the M2 facility found that the business is continuing to grow! The new facility now occupies two 1000-square-foot buildings facing each other.

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