The Geratol Net

75 Meter Extra Class WAS Net

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

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