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75 Meter Extra Class WAS Net

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“CQ Students” From Space Station


The deadline is April 30 for US schools, museums, science centers, and community youth organizations (working individually or together) to submit proposals to host an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact with an orbiting crew member on the International Space Station (ISS). Contacts would be scheduled between January 1 and June 30, 2019.

Each year, ARISS provides tens of thousands of students with opportunities to learn about space technologies and communications through Amateur Radio. The program provides learning opportunities by connecting students to astronauts aboard the ISS through a partnership between ARRL, AMSAT, and NASA, as well as other Amateur Radio organizations and worldwide space agencies. The program’s goal is to inspire students to pursue interests and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and Amateur Radio.

“Educators overwhelmingly report that student participation in the ARISS program stimulates interest in STEM subjects and in STEM careers,” ARISS said in announcing the contact opportunities. “As one educator wrote, ‘It exceeded our expectations — it created a great interest in both Amateur Radio and in space exploration. Our kids are completely inspired!’”

More than 90% of educators who have participated in the program have indicated that ARISS provided ideas for encouraging student exploration and participation. Some of them even become radio amateurs after experiencing a contact with an ISS crew member.

ARISS is looking for organizations that will draw large numbers of participants and integrate the contact into a well-developed, exciting education plan. Students can learn about satellite communications, wireless technology, science research conducted on the ISS, radio science, and any related STEM subject. Students learn to use Amateur Radio to talk directly to an astronaut and ask their STEM-related questions. ARISS will help educational organizations locate Amateur Radio groups who can assist with equipment for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students.

Proposal webinars for guidance and getting questions answers will be offered on Thursday, March 29, at 7 PM EDT (0000 UTC on Friday, March 30) and on Monday, April 16, at 4 PM EDT (2100 UTC). Advance registration is required. More details, such as expectations, proposal guidelines, and the proposal form, are on the ARISS website. — Thanks to ARISS via Dave Jordan, AA4KN

Source: ARRL Ham Radio News

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Featured GERATOL Member WS8X

Featured Member

Those who frequent the net, are familiar with Joe, WS8X.   Joe is one of two Loverti’s on the net, the other of course Joe Sr. WW8X from Ohio.

Joe serves as our Saturday evening Net Control station. Saturday evenings are often one of the busiest on the net, even during these days of rough conditions, and Joe does a great job handling all the check-ins and keeping the net moving along efficiently, with a touch of humor as well.

For those wondering how Joe puts out such a strong signal from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, his current station consists of a 40/80 Meter Parallel dipole. He also sports a Multi band doublet. His current rigs are an ICOM 751A and an ICOM 7300 along with a Drake L7 amp.

Joe and his sidekick at his Ham Shack

Joe was first licensed in 2001 with the call KC8RNF. His first station was comprised of an ICOM 745, MFJ Versa Tuner, which he loaded into a G5RV antenna. Joe was fortunate in his selection of Elmer’s to get him started, namely his Dad, Joe – WW8X. Like many of us, Joe has his WAL, or Worked All Licenses, going from Novice, all the way up to Extra Class. In addition to WW8X, Joe has three uncles who are also Ham Radio Operators.

Joe recalls his first DX QSO was with a station in Western Europe. Funny, how we keep those type of events in our Ham Radio memory banks. Our first QSO, first DX contact, first CW QSO, etc. Fun stuff.
Joe achieved his WAS via the GERATOL net, achieving G # 2607 in 2011. He later added his Director’s number 737 to his GERATOL achievements.

Those of us who are regular check-ins to the net, know that Joe is Active Duty Coast Guard (Thank you for your service Joe), where as a Radioman, he handled numerous Search and Rescue cases. I bet some of those would make great stories to hear more about if any of us have a chance for an eyeball with Joe. He’s been in the Coast Guard since 1999.

Feel free to comment on this post about Joe – WS8X, on our website, or fire him off a note, and thank him for his service to our country and his support of the GERATOL Net.

Kevin N1KL

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

More Z6 Operations are Just Ahead


Z68M, a one-person DXpedition by Mome Dimovski, Z32ZM, will be on the air February 22 to March 6, on 160 – 10 meters, CW, SSB, RTTY, FT8, and JT65. Confirm contact using Club Log.

Also in March, Gab Barison, HB9TSW, who is in the Swiss Air Force will be in Pristina, Kosovo, March 29 to April 19 as part of a NATO mission, will be active as Z68BG in his spare time, as especially evenings and Sunday. He’ll be running 100 W to a ground plane, CW on 80 – 17. He uses LoTW.

Later this year, Z68AA and Z68RBJ, helmed by Croatian Flora Fauna Radio Club members 9A6AA, 9A2MF, and 9A5RBJ (ON3RBJ), will take place in mid-May from Peja, 100 W, 80 – 10 meters, wire antennas, SSB, CW, and FT8. QSL Z68AA via 9A6AA, and Z68RBJ via 9A5RBJ. They will use LoTW.

The hugely popular Z60A celebratory operation from Pristina culminated on Kosovo’s 10th anniversary, February 18. The Z60A operating sites were left intact for a return over the weekend of the ARRL International DX Contest, March 3 – 5. The initial activation of Kosovo as a DXCC entity resulted in 81,478 contacts with 26,487 individual call signs. Europe dominated the tally with two-thirds of the contacts. North American stations accounted for 22% of stations worked. Delegates from 10 countries were part of the initial activity.

— Thanks to The Daily DX, OPDX, and Martti Laine, OH2BH

Source: ARRL News

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New G-List

All, you will find a new G-Number file which is now available in the FILE section of our website.   On the website it is the file dated 2/14/18, and Frosty has updated it based on the latest list of SK’s from the February version of QST.

Be advised,  it needs to be used in conjunction with G-List Ver 1.09, which is also available in the FILES section of our website.

Regards, Kevin N1KL

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Featured GERATOL Members


Dave Ertel, KJ8V – GERATOL Net Awards Manager
Sandy Ertel, KJ8W – GERATOL Net Treasurer

Dave was first Licensed in 1977 as a Novice: WD8QME. He upgraded to Technician, General, Advanced and finally to Extra in 1979. When he went through the licensing the FCC came to Cincinnati every 6 months and the official who managed those taking the code portion of the exam, made them send code before they were allowed to take the code copying test. Of course then you had to wait 6 months to take the next license level test.

Dave’s first radio was a Heath Kit HW-16 that he built from one of their kits. He then bought a Kenwood TS 520 and has owned many Kenwood radios since. Today he operates a Kenwood TS 590S into a Drake L-4B amp. In addition, he also runs a Kenwood TS 480 in the truck mobile. Many of us have had the pleasure of working both Dave and Sandy as they went mobile, visiting family, or on their way to the Dayton Hamvention. Dave says, the hottest and best radio he ever had was a Kenwood TS 50S. Very hot receiver in it. He and Sandy have had various antennas up in the air, ranging from stacked 11 element  2 meter beams, tri-banders at 60 feet and now have a vertical and two inverted V’s at their QTH in Michigan.

Dave has worked all Counties # 940 11/11/97, worked all states on 10, 20, 40 and 80 meters, WAC Feb, 1992, has 100 DX Countries confirmed and have never sent them in for official confirmation. Dave’s GERATOL number is a really low one: # 523, which he obtained on 4/1/81. As is the case with several GERATOLers, who operated from various states, Dave has a second GERATOL number: 2595, which he obtained on 12/24/10. Similarly, Dave has two Director numbers # 89, issued on 3/14/92 and number # 703 which was issued on 1/15/11. Dave has also completed 24 of the 38 available GERATOL Net endorsements.

In 1996 his Amateur activity really changed for the better. He was going out to run Counties mobile over in South East Ohio one day and said to Sandy, “Why don’t you come along its really pretty over there and you can log for me?” He was shocked when she said OK. While they were out he told her if she would just get her General class license so she could give out and work counties, and that he would not bug her anymore about it. She replied that it was really fun listening and logging and she said OK I will try to get my license.

Well she got started and Dave learned how to run the carpet sweeper, the washer/dryer and do the dishes so she could learn/practice code. She attended a Novice/Tech class put on by the Greater Cincinnati Amateur Radio Association and got her Novice ticket as KC8FFD in June of 1997. She was then named Amateur of the Year by the GCARA in October of 1997 for her work promoting the GCARA and its classes. She then took her Tech license and passed it and then started in on her General Class license. Back to the dishes and sweeper for Dave. Sandy went over to take her General code and written test and asked if she could listen to the Extra 20 WPM to get warmed up and settle her nerves down a little bit and they said sure try it and see how you do.

Well Gordon KI8I, who also happens to be a fellow GERATOLer, with G# 521, came out to the parking lot where Dave was pacing like a cat in a cage and said Sandy passed her code test, as a matter of fact, he said, she passed the 20 WPM Extra code test !!!! Well she passed the General written and when she came out Dave mentioned they were only 5 blocks from R & L Electronics and they should stop by and get the Advanced book so Sandy could start on it because she had a year’s code credit and when she passed the Advance class, she could then get her Extra.

She hesitated for a minute and then said OK lets go. Not too long later she passed the Advance class and started right in on the Extra and she passed that test also. She and Dave kept all of the Advance and Extra stuff a secret from her brother Vernon, yet another fellow GERATOLer, K9CMJ G# 1984 to surprise him. He was really kind of in disbelief when they broke the news to him, that his sister had passed code and written tests to become an Extra Class op !! Sandy was now on her way to her own Ham career and enjoys it very much.

She changed her call because KJ8W was available and she and Dave thought it would be neat to have back to back calls, and they were right. It’s cool to hear them check in, with the back to back calls, but we ALL know, Sandy’s signal is always stronger than Dave’s !! ha ha

Dave had saved a County in Ohio for a last for the whole ball of wax so Sandy could get it for him and bless her heart she drove for two hours up north in Ohio and gave him his last County for his Worked All Counties. Sandy only needs about 600 Counties to finish her worked all counties. Sandy achieved her G# 2594 on 12/24/10. When they moved to Michigan from Ohio in 2008 Sandy had 30 states confirmed but had to start all over because of the move. That’s when Dave decided to get a second number due to the move to Michigan.

Sandy does come from a family of Hams. Her Father W8KKJ, brother K9CMJ #1984, Nephews Dan KE9T and his son Bryce KC9PKU and Mike AB9LU #2612 and Mike’s wife Christine KC9IRP. With Dave included there are 8 Hams in the family and 5 Geratol numbers. That’s probably a record for the GERATOL Net !!

The Geratol Net, County Hunting and the Triple H Net are the places Dave frequents the most. Dave had actually been very active on the Geratol Net since early 1980 just having fun with his friends, and not going for a number.  That changed, and he finally got the bug to get his own number in 1981. He’s been an active member, contributor and supporter of the net ever since.

The worst time of Dave’s Ham life was when his very dear friend Lou KJ8U G# 617 passed away. Lou and Dave had done everything Ham together. He cherishes a picture of himself, Lou and Sandy standing next to their cars with all the Ham plates KJ8U, KJ8V and KJ8W showing, as they all lived in the same town.

Dave has held several positions in the GERATOL Net over the years, however, the most rewarding and fun has been as Awards Manager. He loves being able to help out all of the GERATOLers get their various awards and endorsements. He made a pledge to himself after taking over as Awards Manger to help all he could and to process awards and endorsements, usually the same day. If any of you ever need help or have questions please feel free to call Dave or send him an email and he will answer you as soon as possible usually the same day. Many of the net regulars may be aware, but many casual GERATOLers are not, that Dave inherited a huge challenge when he assumed the duties of Awards Manager. He’s done an amazing job organizing, straightening out the data base, updating the files, etc. etc. all behind the scenes, in addition to his handing out the new awards and endorsements.

Dave says, the thing he and Sandy love the most in Ham Radio is meeting fellow hams. They missed Dayton (xenia) last year and that was the first time in over 20 years they were unable to attend. They do attend all of the County Hunter functions they possibly can, and he says it really enriches their lives to meet old friends and make new friends. He says, “Hams are just special people”.

On the non-HAM front, Sandy and Dave have had Beagles for 43 years. They have hunted and field trialed them and it is very lonely around the house now, without one of the little Beagles around. They lost their last one a couple of years ago and have decided no more. Dave also collects Case knives. He has over 80 in his collection is still growing. He is fortunate to have several very rare knives and has also got his Granddaughter into collecting knives. He’s made sure that she has other interests other than computers and smart phones. She had her own Beagle dog that hunted and ran in field trials. She also loves to go shooting with Grandpa. She has graduated from high school now and is going to move in with Sandy and I to establish residency and attend Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mi. starting next fall. Who knows? Maybe we’ll have a new ham on the net in the future, and yet another GERATOL number from the KJ8 clan !!

Congrats to Sandy on her recent re-election as the GERATOL Net Treasurer, and thanks to both Dave and Sandy for their efforts supporting the net over the years, and a special thanks to Dave for his efforts in coordinating and issuing the GERATOL Awards, Endorsements and special Awards like the 50/50 and Veteran’s Salute awards.
Feel free to add a “Comment” to this POST, and say hi to Sandy and Dave !!!

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

ARRL Elects Senior Officers


Incumbent ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, has been re-elected by the League’s Board of Directors for a second term. The Board convened for its Annual Meeting January 19-20. President Roderick, the League’s 16th President, received 9 votes, while the only other nominee, New England Director Tom Frenaye, K1KI, received 6 votes.

Current ARRL Chief Financial Officer Barry Shelley, N1VXY, was elected as Chief Executive Officer, to replace Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, who announced his retirement on January 18 after 2 years at ARRL Headquarters. Gallagher will step down on March 2. Shelley will serve until the Board selects a new CEO and is expected to serve in an advisory role to assist with the transition beyond that. The Board will create a CEO Search Committee. Shelley was unopposed as ARRL Board Secretary.

ARRL First Vice President Greg Widin, K0GW, was declared re-elected without opposition. Incumbent ARRL Second Vice President Brian Mileshosky, N5ZGT, did not stand for re-election, and Pacific Division Director Bob Vallio, W6RGG, was elected to succeed Mileshosky. Vallio received 8 votes to 7 votes for the only other candidate for Second Vice President, Northwestern Division Director Jim Pace. Vallio’s election means that incumbent Vice Director Jim Tiemstra, K6JAT, will succeed him as Pacific Division Director, creating a vacancy for Vice Director in that Division, which will be filled by appointment.

Source: ARRL Website



posted by Kevin in From the Administrator,General Ham Radio News and have Comment (1)

ARRL CEO Gallagher, NY2RF, to Retire


ARRL’s chief executive officer for the past 2 years, Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, announced his retirement as CEO, as the ARRL Board of Directors prepares to meet January 19-20. He will step down on March 2. Gallagher, who had earlier advised ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, of his intention to resign, expressed his gratitude to Roderick and the ARRL Board for giving him the opportunity to help guide the organization.

“It has been my great privilege to serve in this capacity for 2 years, and I am deeply grateful to the Board and President Rick Roderick, K5UR, for their support and encouragement,” Gallagher said.

President Roderick expressed appreciation for Gallagher’s contributions to ARRL. “The ARRL is in a transition to a new generation for Amateur Radio. Change doesn’t come easy,” Roderick said. “Tom helped us in taking that step forward, and for that we are very grateful for his service to the League and to Amateur Radio,” he said.

Gallagher, 69, cited recent changes included in the new federal tax law that made it unattractive for him to continue working in Connecticut, where ARRL is headquartered. The Board will evaluate and determine the next steps to take in a search for his replacement when it meets this week.

Among Gallagher’s chief accomplishments during his tenure as CEO were creating an enhanced level of professionalism and efficiency in the organization that represents more than 150,000 US Amateur Radio operators. Gallagher also oversaw a significant turnaround in the organization’s financial performance.

Licensed in Pennsylvania in 1966 as WA3GRF (later N4GRF in North Carolina), Gallagher is a member of the West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Group. He has described himself as “an incurable HF DXer and inveterate tinkerer” and credits his first visit to the Franklin Institute’s Amateur Radio station W3TKQ in 1963 for inspiring his interest in ham radio.

Amateur Radio led to an early career in broadcasting. He was a cameraman and technician with WGBH-TV in Boston, the CBS Television Network, and Metromedia’s WIP Radio in Philadelphia.

Gallagher joined ARRL following 3 decades as an international investment banker and financial services executive. His career has included senior leadership positions with JP Morgan Chase & Co and CIBC Oppenheimer & Co in New York, and with Wachovia Capital Markets in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has also served as an adjunct professor at the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and as CEO of the Secondary School Admission Test Board in Princeton, New Jersey. He has served on boards, both public and non-profit, including two NYSE companies; the NPR affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina; the Executive Board of The PENN Fund at the University of Pennsylvania, and The International Center of Photography.

Source:  ARRL Website

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Featured GERATOL Member

As part of the GERATOL Website revitalization efforts, we are going to be featuring GERATOL Net members, and especially our Elected and/or appointed Net Officials.

This month, we start off profiling one of the GERATOL Net’s greatest supporters, and overall experienced operators:  Frank – AA0ZP, who is of course the newly re-elected Secretary of the GERATOL Net.

Frank was first licensed in 1960 while a senior in High School in Louisiana as KN5BCC. We all wonder where Frank’s southern accent went !!

While a young Ham, exploring the bands, Frank operated using a Heathkit DX-40 and a Hallicrafters Sx-99. For you younger folks on the net, check out those pieces of equipment. They were quite popular back in the 60’s. His antenna farm consisted of a dipole and a Demi-Quad.

As is the case with many young Hams, life got in the way, and Frank’s license expired when he went off to college, but his interest in Ham Radio never waned and after 21 plus years of service to his country in the US Air Force (in communications, what else?) He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1986 as a Major and flew on the SAC Airborne Command Post (Looking Glass) as Comm Officer for 5 1/2 Years.

Following his military career, he was once again bitten by the Ham-bug, and was back on the air in September of 1992 as a General (N0UCG) using the old novice rig, updated with a Heathkit VF-1 VFO instead of crystals. Technology had changed over his thirty year hiatus from the hobby, and Frank was going to start taking advantage of it.

He achieved Worked All States on 40Meter CW before Christmas of that year. He then added a new Kenwood TS-450S and started in on SSB in late 1992. He achieved DXCC and a bunch of other awards in 1993.

Today, his primary rig is a Kenwood TS-950SD, which he obtained in 1995. His antennas are a 3-element tri-band Yagi at 40 feet, a G5RV flat-topped at 40 feet (for 80 Meters through 10M) and an inverted-L for 160 Meters. He also added an MFJ 9406 6 Meter rig in 2003 and also has a Kenwood TM721A dual bander with J-pole antenna for 144 and 440Mhz plus an Icom 24AT hand held.

Frank upgraded to EXTRA (20wpm code) in 1995 and he remains active still having a blast on the bands. He was introduced to 6 Meters in 2003 when he bought an MFJ 9406 10 Watt transceiver at the Dayton Hamfest.

He was able to get VUCC and after 10 and 1/2 years, finally worked the one state needed to complete WAS on 6Mtrs, which as we all know, is no easy task. Perhaps even more challenging than our Unbelievable Operating Achievement Award on the GERATOL Net. Speaking of which, Frank completed his requirements for and obtained his GERATOL Number (#1932) in December of 1995. In addition, Frank has achieved 8 band SSB WAS, 5 band CW WAS, a Mixed band RTTY WAS, and 331 countries for DXCC credit and added 5-Band DXCC in 2012. All very impressive achievements.

Finally, he got his DXCC total to 338 countries and got the last two QSLs for the ARRL’s Honor Roll on 20 November 2014. He also has WAZ and the new WUST award.  WUST of course, is the very challenging award where you need to work US Territories.

Frank remains active on the GERATOL Net, 3905 Century Club, and OMISS Nets as well as the HF bands.

Some of his other, non-HAM related interests include: collecting military insignia, restoring his old Lionel train set and collecting NASCAR 1/64 die cast cars.

Frank is a Life Member of ARRL, an ARRL-VE, the trustee of the SAC Memorial Amateur Radio Club call sign K0AIR and of GERATOL Net Amateur Radio Club call sign W0NL. He is past Vice-President of OMISS, past-President of the 3905 Century Club, and last but not least, is our newly re-elected Secretary of GERATOL Net.

Feel free to congratulate Frank on his re-election, and of course, give him a warm welcome when he checks into the net.

Thanks for your service to our Country, Ham Radio and the GERATOL Group Frank !!!

73, Kevin N1KL




posted by Kevin in From the Administrator,From the webmaster,GERATOL NET NEWS and have Comments Off on Featured GERATOL Member

My deepest appreciation and thanks…

Today I received a box in the mail that I was not expecting. After I soaked it in water in case it was a bomb, I opened it and found a pleasant surprise from the net: The Phoenix Award.

Al Gritzmacher AE2T #1800 with Phoenix AwardThank you all that had a hand in this. It means a lot to me. I have worked towards many of the net awards and endorsements, but never seemed to get around to ever applying for them. I always enjoyed the actual on-air part more and I kept procrastinating. This one was a complete surprise.

I don’t remember when it was I started the web page for the net, but it began very simply as a project while I was learning HTML. I hoped my tinkering with it could turn into something useful to the net. Several hosts later and a couple of domain name changes (Remember it’s become a central point of communication for the net.

Since handing the reins over to Kevin N1KL, we’ve got the site running smoothly and added some features to make it even better. I know it will continue to serve the net well under his guidance, and I will assist when needed.

Thank you again. I will place this in a prominent place in my shack!

73, Al AE2T #1800

(Just kidding about soaking it in water!)

posted by Al Gritzmacher in From the Membership,From the webmaster and have Comment (1)

Strong Ties Bind Amateurs and Broadcasters

By James Careless

Many people who work in broadcast radio got their start as amateur radio operators — hams — and remain active in the hobby.
At iHeartMedia alone, “we have 157 people on our ham radio list,” said Charles Wooten, director of engineering and IT at iHeartMedia Panama City, Fla. An amateur radio operator himself since the age of 12 (call sign NF4A), Wooten maintains that list. “Ninety percent of them are engineers, but we also have DJs, program directors and operations directors.” At least four of the company’s regional engineering VPs are hams.

The fact that so many of iHeart’s hams are engineers makes sense. Many of the skills that a ham learns to get on air are the same needed by a technical broadcast professional.  “Ohm’s Law is Ohm’s Law, whether you are using it to work on a home-built amateur radio transmitter or to keep a major-market radio station on air,” said Walter Palmer, W4ALT and director of broadcast operations, engineering and programming at Newsradio WGMD 92.7 FM in Rehoboth Beach, Del.  “So it makes sense that someone who loved ham as a teenager would be drawn to radio engineering as a career. It was certainly true for me.”


There’s a good reason so many professional radio engineers started as ham radio operators: They were exposed to the hobby long before needing to find a job. This was the case for Wooten.
“When I was 11, I was curious as to what was causing the TV interference to my Saturday morning cartoons,” he recalled. “Once I figured out that it was a neighbor’s ham radio rig and got to see his shack for myself, I caught the bug right there and studied to get my ham license.”
In turn, the RF propagation and electrical knowledge Wooten gained as a teenaged ham — often building his own equipment for very little money — gave him the insight and interest to seek out radio engineering as a career.

The same is true for Brad Humphries, AE4VJ and market director of engineering for the Beasley Media Group in Charlotte, N.C.
“I’ve been an electronic nerd most of my life, and a ham since I was 14,” said Humphries. “A summer job at a local amusement park led me into fixing up their handheld radio system using my ham knowledge, which eventually led me into broadcasting.”

Steve Dove, W3EEE and minister of algorithms for Wheatstone, said via email, “I got my license, G3YDV, as soon as it was legally possible at 14; for a brief while, I think I was the youngest ham in the [UK].” His entry into broadcasting? “I was a young, restless and somewhat rebellious anti-establishment teenager. The ’60s ship-borne pirate radio station era (Radio London, Radio Caroline) was drawing to a close, and hordes of little land-based pirates filled the gap; including me.”

As part of that merry band, Dove and his fellow pirates built home-brew tube transmitters up to 100 watts, and then the consoles to produce programming.

“In order to pay the subsequent fine when we were caught, we started a mobile disco using the studio gear and an equally home-brew PA, and the console drew the attention of a ‘proper’ console manufacturer, Alice,” Dove said. “Commercial broadcasting started late in the UK [early ’70s] and the timing was perfect; of the first 40 stations, we had consoles in 19 of them.” He subsequently did console work while touring with AC/DC, Jethro Tull and Yes in his pre-Wheatstone days.

On the flip side, Nautel Regional Sales Manager Asia/Pacific Chuck Kelly, VE1MDO, got into amateur radio while working as a radio engineer.

“My father and grandfather were hams, so you could say that I grew up with the hobby,” Kelly said. “But it wasn’t until I was working in radio that I saw how having an amateur radio license and equipment could help my job; especially during emergencies where regular communications were down.”

In the 1970s, Scott Westerman, W9WSW, was working in broadcast radio at Michigan State University, where he is now associate vice president for alumni relations. That was when he learned how useful ham radio operators could be during emergencies, providing lifeline communications for first responders and the public alike.

“Today, I am a licensed ham who belongs to the SKYWARN tornado spotter’s network,” Westerman said. “We keep an eye out for signs of pre-tornado swirling clouds from various locations, and radio that information into the National Weather Service during severe weather.”


There is no doubt that ham radio has inspired many of its youngest practitioners with a love of radio transmission and technology, a love that guided them to professional careers in radio broadcasting. The industry is better off for it.
But amateur radio has done more for radio than provide it with a pool of talented, motivated employees. It has also given these people an intellectual grounding in the basics of radio engineering, combined with a MacGyverish ability to make things work; no matter what.

Wooten’s engineering vehicle in Biloxi, Miss., the day after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf 
Photo courtesy Charles Wooten

“I don’t think that there is anyone who understands radio science and technology at such as profound a level as hams,” said Chuck Kelly. “They’ve got such a deep grasp of radio that they can dive into and fix equipment problems at the most basic level; down to individual resistors, capacitors and diodes.”

This profound knowledge and know-how is a function of equipment-buying poverty; particularly among older hams when they were teenagers.
“When I was starting out as a kid in amateur radio, I didn’t have a lot of money, so I learned to make do with what I had at hand,” said Wooten. “This teaches you creative engineering and trouble-shooting skills that really pay off at a radio station when things go wrong; especially during an emergency when spare parts aren’t readily available.”
A case in point: During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Wooten used his ham radio skills to keep the Clear Channel cluster of five radio stations in Biloxi, Miss., on the air.

“Without the ability to improvise and work with what we had, we would have gone dark when people most needed us,” he said. Using his ham skills, Wooten and his team nursed a generator with a water leak along for a few days, keeping the five stations on air until a new one could be brought it. They also used a portable satellite dish to create a two-way satellite link.

“We were the only stations in the Biloxi area with telephone service,” Wooten recalled. “The satellite channel provided T-1 [1.544 Mpbs] bandwidth, part of which was used for a couple of Cisco IP phones connected back to the corporate offices in Texas. The staff could call anywhere on these phones.”
All told, it was a fix MacGyver would have been proud of.

“Ham radio is all about using what you’ve got laying around, when you have to do something,” said Brad Humphries. “That is a good skill to have, because in the middle of the night when you have a problem at the radio station, you’re just going to have what you’ve got at hand to do something with.”


iHeartMedia’s Charles Wooten, NF4A, left, and Tad Williamson Jr., WF4W, are shown at C82DX, a 2013 amateur radio event in Xai Xai, Mozambique.
Photo courtesy Charles Wooten

It is widely held in the radio industry that engineering talent is scarce and becoming scarcer as engineers retire. At the same time, the upcoming generation of technically-minded youth is attracted to information technology rather than RF transmission and radio broadcasting. This begs a question: Could young people who are signing up as hams serve as an engineering talent pool for the radio broadcasting industry?

After all, “A repeater used for AM broadcasting is identical to one used by amateur radio operators,” said Dana Puopolo, a licensed ham (K1PUW) for 43 years and chief engineer of WGLS(FM)/Rowan University Radio in Glassboro, N.J.
“My ham walkie-talkie was type-accepted to work both for amateur and commercial radio usage, while the antennas used by AM radio and the 160 meter ham band are basically identical, except for their configurations. So yes, there is enough crossover between ham radio and commercial radio to justify training hams as professional engineers.”

This said, attracting young hams to radio broadcasting would require some changes in the radio industry.
“iHeartMedia pays our engineers well and treats them fairly, but there are many stations that don’t,” said Wooten. “Without better working conditions, talented young hams are likely to go into other fields of engineering; even though they love radio and we could use them here.”
Whatever happens, one thing is clear: The strong bonds between amateur radio and commercial radio continue to benefit the broadcasting industry, and inspire a love of the medium not found in many technical industries.

Source: Radio World News

posted by Kevin in From the Administrator,General Ham Radio News and have Comments Off on Strong Ties Bind Amateurs and Broadcasters