The Geratol Net

75 Meter Extra Class WAS Net

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Featured Member WW8X

This month we have the pleasure of featuring one of our most regular check-ins to the net each evening, WW8X, Joe Loverti, Sr. from Ohio.

Joe has had an interest in radio since the day he built a ‘foxhole’ radio consisting of a coil of wire wrapped around a Quaker Oats cereal tube.
Being able to hear radio stations like KDKA or WSM with just that coil in a simple circuit that included a pencil lead attached to a safety pin that danced across a razor blade is a thrill that’s stayed with him through the years.

Joe – WW8X G# 2599

Instead of doing his high school homework, he spent many late night hours DXing the AM broadcast and shortwave bands with his Mom’s old Philco console radio, which he recently restored. 

I would be willing to bet, many of us GERATOLers gained our initial experience in radio, the very same way. Many of us East Coast broadcast band DX chasers would tune in KDKA as well, along with WLS in Chicago and WOR in New York. If you were one of the Broadcast Band listeners back in the day, what were the “far away” stations you tried pulling in at night, and what type of receiver did you use ? Feel free to leave a “comment” to this post to let us know.

Joe’s Current Station

Joe enlisted in the Navy and learned CW at Radioman “A” School, in San Diego. He says the training he received gave him an ‘unfair’ advantage for getting his ham ticket and also helped him pass the Extra Class code exam – since 20 wpm CW was the mandatory speed for graduating out of Radioman school.

He got orders to COMCARDIV 3 (Commander Carrier Division 3) at NAS Alameda, in 1964. And, soon went to sea on a number of memorable “WestPac tours” serving aboard a few US Navy aircraft carriers, which included the USS Hancock (CVA-19), USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) and the USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) among others. One interesting assignment as an admiral’s staff radioman was standing watch as an operator on the highly secure, radioteletype, Fleet Flash Net, while the ship conducted operations on Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin.

After the Navy, his marriage to Paula (his best friend of 50-years), his education and trying to start a commercial art career took him away from radio for a few years. Eventually, his interests with radio returned in 1976 and he received the novice call WN8CDW, which later changed to WD8CDW when the FCC dropped the Novice designation. 

Like many hams, Joe has always enjoyed building Heathkit gear and his first ham station was comprised of a Heathkit DX-60B, an old Hammerlund receiver along with other items he picked up at a small nearby hamfest (better known as The Dayton Hamvention). Imagine how cool that must have been, having Dayton Hamvention right in your back yard ? He later built two Heathkit amplifier kits: an SB-220 and SB-1000, after upgrading from a ‘rock-bound’ novice and getting his Advanced ticket by taking his exam in Columbus, Ohio before the FCC, as many hams did back in those days.

See the source image
Heathkit DX-60B

Living in Miamisburg, Ohio (hometown of the Drake radio company) he is also fond of Drake gear, (As evidenced by his QSL card below) in particular, the venerable Drake C-Line twins along with a solid-state Drake SPR-4 receiver. Eventually, he upgraded from a dipole with a feed line out of his basement window, to a Mosley Junior Tri-bander on a small 40 ft. tower and earned a DXCC with about 150+ confirmed countries. One of many fond memories of DXing was the time he wondered why the DX station’s signal went up in strength as he turned the beam 180 degrees away from them until he released his working those VKs and ZLs via the ‘long path’. Or, the time he started a huge pile-up on 15 meters after working VR6TC, Tom Christian, on legendary Pitcairn Island. Today, Joe says he still has very little trouble working most stations that he can hear with his roof-mounted, Hygain 5-band trapped vertical, Icom 7300, AL80-B, Flex 3000 and a couple of vintage Kenwoods (TS-520S and TS-830S), despite the fact that Miamisburg sits down in a river valley.

Joe’s QSL

Well as any ham father might do, Joe tried to get his son interested in the hobby at an early age, but as a youngster, he showed little interest – until one night in his early 20s, while serving in the US Coast Guard onboard the USCGC Spencer. While standing a 12-hour radio watch, Joe Jr. heard his dad WW8X and a ham friend chatting away on 80 meters. He recalls that was the moment the “ham radio light got turned on”. It was hearing those familiar voices, loud and clear in the middle of the Caribbean – thousands of miles away from home that worked its magic on him. It was then that Joe Jr., now WS8X, a familiar signal on the Geratol net, not to mention one of our NCS operators last season, decided to begin studying for his own ham license.

Joe’s Son, and active USCG Member, Joe – WS8X G# 2607

Joe Sr. has many interests besides ham radio and is often torn between where to spend his spare time. At age 72, he continues to work full-time from home as a graphic designer for Siemens. He has a personal website at www.caneflyrods.us dedicated to building Spit Bamboo Fly Rods. And he also likes restoring vintage radios, painting watercolor pictures, woodworking and putting miles over the pavement peddling his bicycle. Once he even went as far as logging 60 solo hours flying a Cessna 150 before deciding he didn’t really want to be a pilot after all! 

One cold December evening in 2010, he stumbled upon the Geratol net and was very impressed by the friendliness and warm welcome he received and decided to stick around for “just a little while”, and went on to earn his own Geratol number “2599” in 2011.  The Geratol net has become a special “go-to” place when he wants to play radio, and like his son, enjoy hearing those familiar voices from far away. With WW8X, the magic of that simple ‘foxhole’ radio has really never gone away. 

I would like to personally thank Joe for the outstanding bio material he provided, so we could publish this feature article on our website. As many of you may agree, we are truly blessed on the GERATOL Net with some pretty amazing operators, and just plain great folks in general. Joe, WW8X is a prime example. He checks in often, puts Ohio in many, many logs each and every season. Congrats on your Ham Radio and personal achievements Joe, and thanks for being part of the GERATOL Net gang !!

posted by Kevin in From the Administrator,GERATOL NET NEWS and have No Comments

Thank You from Ken WV1Y

Kenny, WV1Y from Rhode Island, continues to recover from his injury, but is finally out of the rehab center, and back on the air from his home QTH.

Ken asked me to post a note of appreciation to all the GERATOLers who sent him cards and good wishes as he was recovering in rehab.

See the source image
From Ken, WV1Y

The GERATOL bunch is a great group of folks, and your cards and letters to Ken really cheered him up at time when he needed it most !! Well done folks !!!

posted by Kevin in From the Administrator,GERATOL NET NEWS and have No Comments

Happy New Year !!

To all GERATOLers, aspiring GERATOLers, SWL’s and anyone else reading this POST on the GERATOL Website, we wish you a healthy, happy and great “hamming” new year in 2019 !!!

Happy New Year
posted by Kevin in From the Administrator,GERATOL NET NEWS,Uncategorized and have Comment (1)

A Merry GERATOL Christmas

CQ CQ Have you been “Naughty” or “Nice”  ?

“Ho ! Ho ! Ho ! This is Santa on 3.668 !! Merry Christmas to all GERATOLers young and old, those with Numbers and those still working toward their numbers !!”

“But remember, if you have not checked into the net this year, Santa is telling you that your getting COAL in your stocking, and my reindeer will make sure to accidentally “clip” your dipole or vertical antennas !! Ho ! Ho ! Ho !

“Just kidding, have a great Christmas Holiday, and Happy New Year to all GERATOLers !!”    Ho ! Ho ! Ho !

posted by Kevin in From the Administrator,GERATOL NET NEWS and have Comments Off on A Merry GERATOL Christmas

GERATOL Apparel Reminder

Just a reminder, for those looking for a last minute Christmas gift, or to get ready to sport your own GERATOL logo apparel at the upcoming Ham Radio Flea Markets this Spring, the arrangement George put in place with the vendor remains, and the “link” may be found at any time on our web page under the “Files” section of the upper menu, or just click on the link below.

https://www.onctees.com/geratol

What a great way to publicize our Worked All States net at your next Ham Radio Club meeting, Ham Flea Market or any Ham Radio event. When folks approach you and ask you what the heck a GERATOL is, you can explain the net workings, and invite them up.

posted by Kevin in GERATOL NET NEWS,New GERATOL File,Uncategorized and have Comments Off on GERATOL Apparel Reminder

QRP-ARCI Four Days in May

12/17/2018

Registration  is now open for the QRP Amateur Radio Club International “Four Days in May” (FDIM), Thursday – Sunday, May 16 – 19, at the Holiday Inn, Fairborn, Ohio. The annual FDIM event for QRP enthusiasts and builders takes place in conjunction with Hamvention®. Registration begins the evening of Wednesday, May 15.

Most of Thursday will be taken up with seminars, “meet the speakers” opportunities, and an open room for casual show and tell. Most of Friday and Saturday are open to attend the Hamvention and visit the QRP-ARCI Toy Store.

Friday evening activities typically include “show and tell,” vendor displays, and a homebrew contest. Saturday evening features social activities and a banquet, while Sunday is open for Hamvention. Attendees are invited to display their QRP-related projects at FDIM. One evening will feature vendors offering QRP-related products, with some offering FDIM discounts. Dress is casual for all events.

Reservations and special room rates for FDIM will be available after January 1 through the QRP-ARCI website. For more information, contact FDIM 2019 Chair Norm Schklar, WA4ZXV. 

Source: ARRL Website

Kevin N1KL Site Administrator

posted by Kevin in From the Administrator,General Ham Radio News and have Comments Off on QRP-ARCI Four Days in May

Featured Member – Bob W9JOP # 1020

Featured Member – Bob, W9JOP G #1020

Bob with one of his RC Planes

(He is also a licensed pilot, which he obtained when a senior in high school)

As most regular check-ins know, the GERATOL Net is comprised of some pretty amazing and incredibly accomplished people, who just happen to also be Ham Radio operators.    Our featured member for this segment, reflects just such a person.  He is someone with a very high level of expertise, who also has an incredible commitment to Ham Radio combined with a high degree of curiosity and exploration.  He is someone who embraced Ham Radio at an early age, and continues to enjoy the hobby to this day.

We are pleased to feature, one of our own, very accomplished members;  Bob, W9JOP in this Featured Member segment. He received his GERATOL # (1020) in April of 1986.  He’s also held a few other call signs, including: DL4OP and KR6EU.   Interestingly, while in Germany, Bob, along with other Americans at the time, was issued the DL4 call sign, and if available, followed by his U.S. Ham suffix.  His suffix was available, and hence he ran DL4OP.  Now days Bob tells me, the DL4 prefix is no longer a U.S. in Germany prefix, but used by German ops in general.

Bob was first licensed in 1954 under the very same call sign he uses today:  W9JOP.  His initial station was comprised of assorted ARC 5’s and some Heathkit gear.  For the ARC 5’s, Bob would store them along with his homebrew Power Supplies under his bed, since they were not very safe !!  I can imagine they provided some extra “heat” to his bedroom while in operating mode !

Originally designed in circa 1938-39, the ARC5 represented some of the most popular military surplus items converted for Amateur use.  Below is an early picture of Bob, probably studying for his upcoming Ham Radio exam, since this shot was taken prior to his getting his ticket.

Bob Circa 1949

Bob’s natural curiosity is what led him to become interested in Amateur Radio.  He had no real Elmer coaching him along the way.  Like many of us, he would tune the AM bands to pull in stations outside his immediate AM listening area, like WBAA “The Voice of Purdue” or late at night picking up WLS in Chicago, which was 150 miles north of his QTH.  After wearing out the ARC5’s he upgraded to a Hallicrafters S20-R Receiver.  Bob says in his notes to me, providing the information for this article: “With the Hallicrafters S20-R receiver the world was my oyster!”  ha ha.  Here is what he had to say about a crystal set, which he  used even before the S20-R, in his own words, which reflects radio experimenting at the time and is quite interesting:

“My first receiver, way before the S20-R was a crystal set, which had an actual Quartz Crystal , potted in a lead holder. The idea was to use the “cats whisker” to scratch around on the crystal and find a ( live spot ). once a station was ( tuned in ), by sliding a piece of thin metal across the inductor you could search for a DX stn such as WLS – Chicago. Keep prodding and maybe the signal got louder, OR you lost everything. My ant was an unused telephone line which ran from house to the barn. When we got a ( dial-up system ), the town thought it was cheaper to “donate” the insulators, poles and wire to Bobby Chapman than remove them!            ( great huh )?”

Hallicrafters S20-R Receiver

He continued to experiment, next focusing his attention on antenna building and design. He constructed a two element 15 Meter Yagi made of bamboo poles and wire. One of his creations was common to the central part of the country,  a HAMMS beer can vertical for 40 Meters.  Later he constructed multiple dipoles and Homebrew verticals.

In addition, Bob has been heavily involved in QRP, attaining the first ARRL WAS with QRP CW endorsement.  He was only running, get this: approximately 250mW !!  That’s milliwatts gang, not watts…can you imagine ?  So you guys working on your basic, take heart, it can be done !!

He made most of his contacts on 40 Meters (48 there) using a G5RV antenna at 50 feet.  The other portion of this challenge for Bob, was the fact he was rock bound on 40. No VFO to find the ones he needed, just patience, persistence, a good ear and a good CW fist.  Nothing really exotic, which proves you can do it with low power and the right antenna and especially the right attitude.  The final two states, HI and AK he worked on 20 meters, using a Tuna Tin QRP built for 20M,  to wrap it up.

As an avid antenna and rig builder, Bob was featured at the Dayton Hamfest “Four Days In May” or FDIM forum, which is a Homebrew Contest/Show & Tell event.  Bob had an array of QRP rigs on display, from his Tuna Tin, several Tuna Tin II’s, Sidekick N’ Tuna, his WAS QRP certificates, etc.  Bob was actually featured in the November 2014 CQ magazine in an article written by Cam Hartford, N6GA.

In addition to his homebrew and WAS activities, Bob participated in the 17th East African Safari Rally in 1969.  He was responsible for assembling a Radio Link from Kabwhoe Control, one of the rally check points, back to Nairobi, Kenya.  He transported the communications gear to the checkpoint via the use of his 1964 Chevy Malibu. He and his son Roger set up the checkpoint in time, before the first batch of race vehicles came zooming by.

Bob’s daughter, Carol, is also a licensed Ham: KM4PAG and now lives in Kentucky. Also, Bob’s wife Joy, who is now a SK, was licensed as KA9TTB.  I’ve saved the following picture for last, since it shows Joy at the operating position in their ham shack, and in addition to Joy, you can see Bob’s Tuna Tin just above her right hand.

Bob’s XYL Joy, KA9TTB (SK)

Believe it or not, there are many more items of interest regarding Bob’s Ham Radio career, and space does not permit my putting them all in at this time. However, after checking with Bob via email,  he’s agreed to let me hold on to the materials he sent, so we can add another update in the future to his Featured Member article, where we can share more items of interest…..

Please feel free to take a minute and place a comment on the GERATOL Website post for Bob, and I hope you all enjoy the portions of his story in this article, as much as I had putting it together.

Regards, Kevin N1KL

 

 

 

posted by Kevin in From the Administrator,GERATOL NET NEWS and have Comments (3)

50/50 Award Update

The 50/50 Award, which combines the challenge of working all 50 states with contacting 50 hams who have been licensed for 50 years or more, has been successfully completed by several net members.

The award, which maintains the tradition of the GERATOL net, by requiring to Work All States as one if its elements, provides a fun challenge for those who already received their GERATOL number, along with the extra challenge of working operators who have been licensed for 50 years or more.

Quite the challenge indeed, now in it’s second GERATOL Season.  As challenging as the award may be, especially with current band conditions, FIVE GERATOLers have successfully completed the challenge.   In addition to providing fun challenge for our regulars, the award has had some positive side effects on the net including:

  • The chance to reconnect with some of our “Old Timers” who were invited up on frequency
  • Getting introduced to some “new” Old Timers, that is, guys with 50 years of licensing who never checked in previously to GERATOL
  • Finally and perhaps most important, invitees brought to the net by those chasing the award, provided several NEW STATES for the guys working toward their basic award.

For those close to completing the award, we wish you continued success and hope the conditions continue to improve as you finalize your efforts.

For those of you who may not have checked in for a while, and who are looking for a challenge on the net, along with renewing old acquaintances and putting your state in the log for those folks working on the basic, stop by the net some evening, and also take a look at the details surrounding the award on our website.

To those who have successfully completed the award,  CONGRATS !!

50/50 AWARD WINNERS

WV1Y – Ken

WW8X – Joe

N9RY – Don

W0FP – Frosty

KJ8V – Dave

 

 

Regards, Kevin N1KL

 

posted by Kevin in From the Administrator,New GERATOL File,Uncategorized and have Comments Off on 50/50 Award Update

Santa’s Radio Club Special Event Set for Dec. 1 – 8

11/28/2018
The annual Santa’s Radio Club Special Event from 200 kilometers above the Arctic Circle will be on the air December 1 – 8 as OH9S — OH9Santa. Activity will be mainly on 160 – 6 meters using all modes, including FT8. QSL via Club Log’s OQRS (preferred) or LoTW.

Contacts will be automatically confirmed via the bureau. Operating from Finnish Lapland, OH9S will not employ any remote stations and will let propagation decide when and where contacts are possible.


“Yes, we know it is not easy to contact us while we are mostly operating from above the Arctic Circle, but that’s part of the game!” the announcement said. “This is the most northernmost Santa station in Finland.” Multiple stations will be on the air.
Due to anticipated poor radio conditions, OH9S will focus activity on FT8.

Tis the season gang, and this may be a fun challenge to try and work the SANTA station during the Christmas season.   Good luck,  and if anyone works them,  put a post up on the website to let us know !!

Regards, Kevin N1KL

Source: ARRL Website

posted by Kevin in From the Administrator,General Ham Radio News and have Comments Off on Santa’s Radio Club Special Event Set for Dec. 1 – 8

Cards for Ken WV1Y

Dave, KJ8V alerted me to the fact our good friend Ken Magee WV1Y has not checked into the net this season.  This is very unlike Kenny, since he is one of our most dedicated net members, and checks in most evenings.

After contacting some folks I found out that Ken has a severely broken leg and is still in rehab,  52 days so far and counting.  It’s going to be a long and arduous process for him.

He could use a little cheering up to say the least, so we would like to encourage you all to take a minute and send a card, (His assistant said he’d love to get greetings via a blank QSL card).

His address is:

Ken Magee WV1Y

17 Deidra Court

Warwick, R.I., 02889

His assistant retrieves his mail daily, and will bring the cards directly to Ken.  Let’s take a minute out of our busy schedules to fire a card, either QSL with a note on it,  or even a get well card to Ken wishing him a healthy recovery.

Ken making a QSO in his shack

Thanks, Kevin N1KL

 

posted by Kevin in From the Administrator,GERATOL NET NEWS,Uncategorized and have Comment (1)