W4HM's
AMATEUR & SWL
RADIO AUTOBIOGRAPHY

THOMAS F. GIELLA 
LAKELAND, FL, USA
POLK COUNTY 
27 57 27 N 81 56 47 W
GRID SQUARE EL97AW
CQ ZONE 5
ITU ZONE 8




"There is no better fun to be had then sitting in the radio shack on a cold winter evening DXing"

"It is not the class of license that the Amateur holds but the class of the Amateur that holds the license"


THE RADIO AMATEUR'S CODE

By Paul M. Segal W9EEA (1928)

The Radio Amateur is:           

CONSIDERATE... never knowingly operates in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.          

LOYAL... offers loyalty, encouragement and support to other amateurs, local clubs and the American Radio Relay League, through which Amateur Radio in the United States is represented nationally and internationally.          

PROGRESSIVE... with knowledge abreast of science, a well-built and efficient station and operation above reproach.          

FRIENDLY... slow and patient operating when requested; friendly advice and counsel to the beginner; kindly assistance, cooperation and consideration for the interests of others. These are the hallmarks of the amateur spirit.          

BALANCED... radio is an avocation, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school, or community.   

PATRIOTIC... station and skill always ready for service to country and community.

I support the DX Code Of Conduct:

I will listen and listen, and then listen again before calling.

I will only call if I can copy the DX station properly.

I will not trust the DX cluster and will be sure of the DX station's call sign before calling.

I will not interfere with the DX station nor anyone calling and will never tune up on the DX frequency or in the QSX slot.

I will wait for the DX station to end a contact before I call.

I will always send my full call sign.

I will call and then listen for a reasonable interval. I will not call continuously.

I will not transmit when the DX operator calls another call sign, not mine.

I will not transmit when the DX operator queries a call sign not like mine.

I will not transmit when the DX station requests geographic areas other than mine.

When the DX operator calls me, I will not repeat my call sign unless I think he has copied it incorrectly.

I will be thankful if and when I do make a contact.

I will respect my fellow hams and conduct myself so as to earn their respect.

 


 

NOTE!!! I no longer make public appearances for lectures concerning solar, space and geomagnetic weather as well as radio wave propagation and terrestrial weather subjects, due to disabilities related to personal health issues stemming from my military service.

Welcome to my blog styled "W4HM's Amateur & SWL Radio Autobiography".

I have been involved with radio in one form or another since 1965, through long wave, medium wave, short wave, VHF and UHF DXing and amateur radio since 1989. I currently hold an Amateur Extra Class license which I earned in 2008. Regardless of what you may hear the test is not easy, especially if you really want to understand the material and I did.

Effective on February 15, 2013 my call sign changed from NZ4O to W4HM, my last call sign change. This site exists as an amateur radio educational tool. Amateur radio has done allot for me and this is one of my ways of giving back to our great hobby.

Amateur radio is a fraternity. An order of gentle men and gentle women who share equal space in a common community. Ham's are the grassroots citizens of the United States and our "free to speak" voices are heard worldwide by all humanity. What we say, what we do and how we act is a mirror image of the United States to this alliance outside our borders.

I still believe in the concept of a brotherhood through amateur radio. I still believe in the fraternity of amateur radio, where I can meet a total stranger and we immediately hit it off and become friends at some level. I still believe in elmering (teaching and guiding) new hams, though many new hams take offense when you try to assist them in learning how to properly operate. I still believe in international diplomacy and peace through amateur radio. I still believe in voluntary public service. Unfortunately though I'm afraid that I'm part of a rapidly shrinking group, a dinosaur!





Online Bible and Study Tools
  

As of April 1, 2004 I became a born again Christian, though actually I prefer to call it a follower of Jesus Christ and his teachings. That means that I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior. A fundamental truism is that as a Christian I am not perfect just forgiven. Though I live my life in a sanctified manner, which means that I follow Jesus' teachings, most of the time. I say most of the time because Jesus Christ is the only one to ever walk the Earth in a perfect sanctified manner. No mortal man can, has or ever will. When I do slip up at times and commit sin, I ask God for forgiveness for that sin, he forgives me and then I move on. It's just that simple.

Quite often I'm asked how I can be an accomplished scientist and at the same time a believer in a supernatural creator god. Well from my point of observation our Almighty God Jehovah is the ultimate physicist and science actually proves the existence of Him.

Check out this web page link at http://www.doesgodexist.org/Charts/EvidenceForDesignInTheUniverse.html .


Do You Know Jesus?

God


.....For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Matthew 24:27.....

I have many interests within the hobby and they include ionosphere radio wave propagation data collection, study and forecasting, antenna design modeling, construction and experimentation, DXing, CW and QRP operation, digital modes operation such as BPSK31/63/125, Feld Hell, Olivia MFSK 500/16, MT63, JT65A, JT9, and RTTY, also AM and SSB mode operation. I'm also a very active SWL and spend quite a bit of time DXing the LF/MF/HF bands both broadcast and utility.

I do have other hobbies besides amateur radio. They include weather forecasting and observing, space weather forecasting and observing, sport fishing and target practice with firearms. In the military, law enforcement and corrections I was an expert shooter and range officer.

Other interests include astrophysics, computers, cosmology, gardening (flowering plants), geology, geomorphology, guitar playing/song writing, physical oceanography, paleo-climatology, reading (mostly science), solar and space plasma physics, theology, website design and world history.

Speaking of guitar playing/song writing, I had been playing acoustic and electric guitar for 24 years. Unfortunately though during the past 8 years rheumatoid arthritis in my hands had all but ended my guitar playing. However with the help of a new drug I'm trying to make comeback.

My favorite electric guitars are the Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster. Recently I picked up a new Fender Standard Deluxe Nashville Telecaster. It has three pick ups, one Tex Mex at the bridge, one Tex Mex near the neck and one traditional Stratocaster pick up between the other two. That way I can have the traditional country twang of the Telly and a Buddy Holly Strat sound for rock and roll. Very versatile.

I also picked up a new Fender Mustang 2 40 watt amplifier. It has many sonic effects built in so buying lot's of effects pedals is no longer necessary. The amplifier is controlled by a computer (if you choose) and with several included pieces of software included that gives me my own analog or digital recording studio.

Here are two of my favorite astronomy/astrophysics oriented websites. Check them out they will make your head hurt.

AN ATLAS OF THE UNIVERSE

SPACE TIME AND THE UNIVERSE

I'm medically retired military as of 2004, the U.S. Coast Guard. In the military I worked in radio communications as well as aviation and marine weather forecasting/pilot briefings, physical oceanographic research and environmental law enforcement. I also did weather forecasting for some private weather forecasting companies, other federal government entities and in my consulting business.

I also have some education and 17 years experience in law enforcement, jail/prison corrections, private investigations, loss prevention and the national security arena. I retired from law enforcement in 1999 and weather consulting/forecasting in 2004.


VHF Aurora :Status
144 MHz Es in EU :Status
70 MHz Es in EU :Status
50 MHz Es in EU :Status
144 MHz Es in NA :Status
From The DXrobot
Today's MUF & Es :Status
From MMMonVHF


 

I found a dusty old book from the 1800's and now I think that I know everything about solar and space plasma physics, solar, space and geomagnetic weather, also radio wave propagation.

In my personal opinion understanding and taking advantage of radio propagation conditions is an integral part of successful DX operation, whether it be as an amateur radio operator or SWL and can really fatten up your DX totals!  Unfortunately the new Technician, General and Amateur Extra Class exam's together only ask a total of nine questions about radio wave propagation. To offset that disparity I have several websites that cover LF/MF/HF/VHF radio wave propagation theory and also keep track of current solar, space and geomagnetic weather conditions, as well as an archive for the data.

I am the only amateur radio operator (or professional for that matter) on the planet that at one time produced a daily LF/MF/HF/6M frequency radio wave propagation forecast. I am also the only amateur radio operator on the planet that has produced a forecast for new solar cycle 24.

Newest published on November 02, 2010, a smoothed sunspot number (SSN) peak of 95 in December 2013.

Previous forecasts:

March 30, 2009 a smoothed sunspot number (SSN) peak of 100 in July 2013.

February 1, 2008 a smoothed sunspot number (SSN) peak of 105 in October 2012.


.....MY NEWEST SOLAR CYCLE 24 FORECAST UPDATE ISSUED ON NOVEMBER 02, 2009 IS FOR A SMOOTHED SUNSPOT NUMBER PEAK OF 95 IN DECEMBER 2013.....

G4ILO has written a piece of propagation prediction software called VOAProp v1.1 It is actually an interface for the very accurate but otherwise difficult to use VOACAP software written for the Voice Of America and honed to near perfection over many decades. After you download VOAProp you then download VOACAP and the two pieces of software work together in a seamless fashion. When you unzip the VOACAP file called itshfbc allow it to install on your C:\ drive directly, not into the "Programs Files" folder. The software covers 1.8-30 mc and the 120-11 meter shortwave bands. BTW both pieces of software are free.


DOWNLOAD G4ILO'S VOAPROP V1.1 

DOWNLOAD VOICE OF AMERICA'S VOACAP  

W4HM's DAILY SOLAR CYCLE 24 DISCUSSION AND ARCHIVE

W4HM's DAILY SOLAR SPACE & GEOMAGNETIC WEATHER DATA ARCHIVE

W4HM's FREE DAILY MF / HF / 6M RADIO WAVE PROPAGATION FORECAST

W4HM's SOLAR SPACE AND GEOMAGNETIC WEATHER DATA DASHBOARD

W4HM's SOLAR SPACE AND GEOMAGNETIC WEATHER DATA RAW FORECAST LINKS

W4HM's 160 METER BAND (300-3000 KHZ) RADIO WAVE PROPAGATION THEORY NOTES

SUBSCRIBE TO W4HM's MF/HF/VHF FREQUENCY RADIO WAVE PROPAGATION EMAIL REFLECTOR

 

GENERAL GUIDELINES CONCERNING CORRELATION OF PROPAGATION INDICES TO ACTUAL MF PROPAGATION CONDITIONS-

NOTE!!!  The propagation indices "interpretations" are my personal intellectual property. Therefore the radio wave propagation indices interpretations contained herein is copyrighted
© 1988-2014 by Thomas F. Giella, W4HM, all rights reserved. Reproduction of information herein is allowed without permission in advance as long as proper credit is given.

All 13 of the following indices have to occur as described below in order to see the best global medium frequency radio wave propagation possible.

The simplest way to look at medium frequencies with respect to radio wave propagation conditions is to accept the fact that propagation is poor the majority of the time, especially past approximately 1250 miles (one refraction off of the E layer), with occasional short-lived good periods as far as 3200 miles.

1.) Dropping geomagnetic field indices numbers are better, Kp of 0 best.

2.) A daily sunspot number under 100, under 70 best.

3.) A daily sunspot number no higher then the 100 for routine stable formation of the E Valley/F Layer ducting mechanism.
 
4.) Previous 24 hour Ap index under 10, fewer than 7 for several days consecutively are best.

5.) Previous 3 hours Kp index fewer than 3 for mid latitude paths, fewer than 2 for high latitude paths, 0 for several days consecutively is best.

6.) Energetic proton flux levels no greater than 10 MeV (10+0).

7.) Background x-ray flux levels of A0 for several days consecutively.

8.) No current STRATWARM alert.

9.) Interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) Bz with a (positive number) sign, indicates a lesser chance of high latitude path aurora absorption/unpredictable refraction or scattering of medium frequency RF signals, when the Kp is above 3.

10.) A -10 or better towards a positive number Dst index during the recovery time after a geomagnetic storm, as related to the equatorial ring current. A positive number is best.

11.) Galactic cosmic rays decrease to -3 units below zero and trending towards zero.

12.) Energetic electron flux levels no greater than 2 MeV (2+0).

13. A solar wind speed of less than 300 km/s for several days consecutively.
 

GENERAL GUIDELINES CONCERNING CORRELATION OF PROPAGATION INDICES TO ACTUAL HF PROPAGATION CONDITIONS-

NOTE!!!  The propagation indices "interpretations" are my personal intellectual property. Therefore the radio wave propagation indices interpretations contained herein is copyrighted
© 1988-2014 by Thomas F. Giella, W4HM, all rights reserved. Reproduction of information herein is allowed without permission in advance as long as proper credit is given.

All 14 of the following indices have to occur as described below in order to see the best global high frequency radio wave propagation possible.

1.) Dropping geomagnetic field indices numbers are better, Kp of 0 best.

2.) A daily sunspot number of 150 or higher, 200 or higher best.

3.) A daily sunspot number of greater than 100 for routine stable formation of the E Valley/F Layer ducting mechanism.
 
4.) Previous 24 hour Ap index under 10, fewer than 7 for several days consecutively are best.

5.) Previous 3 hours Kp index fewer than 3 for mid latitude paths, fewer than 2 for high latitude paths, 0 for several days consecutively is best.

6.) Energetic protons no greater than 10 MeV (10+0).

7.) Background x-ray flux levels greater than B1 for several days consecutively, greater than C1 best.

8.) No current STRATWARM alert.

9.) Interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) Bz with a (positive number) sign, indicates a lesser chance of high latitude path aurora absorption/unpredictable refraction or scattering of medium frequency RF signals, when the Kp is above 3.

10.) A -10 or better towards a positive number Dst index during the recovery time after a geomagnetic storm, as related to the equatorial ring current. A positive number is best.

11.) Rising positive T index number. The T Index tracks with the F2 layer critical frequency (foF2) and sunspot number (SSN) and indicates the capability of the F2 layer to refract RF signals.

12.) Galactic cosmic rays decrease to -3 units below zero and trending towards zero.

13.) Energetic electron flux levels no greater than 2 MeV (2+0).

14. A solar wind speed of less than 300 km/s for several days consecutively.
 

As of August 31, 2005 I began operating at a QTH on the south side of Lakeland, FL on approximately 1/3 of an acre at an elevation of 216-220 feet, on the NW slope of a 280+ foot hill overlooking a good sized lake (Scott) with no unreasonable CC&R's and no out of control wannabe Marxist type HOA nonsense. Though I'm on a hill I have wetlands on the east and west side of my property, with the surface soil type consisting of black muck underlain by red clay, with a high water table. So this QTH is a pretty good location for vertical antennas.

I also have my own dedicated radio shack for the first time since 1995. It is 12' x 13' in size and contains an electronics work bench, computers, radios, weather stations and guitars. It's my man cave:<))

My current rigs are one Icom IC-7600, one Icom IC-746 Pro, one Kenwood TS-590S and one TS-570DG.

All equipment is connected together with high quality DX Engineering RG-213 manufactured coaxial cable. For most of my 21 years as an amateur radio operator I made up my own coax cables which were mostly RG-8X and some RG-8U. I was always very good at making up the RG-8X cables but not as good with the RG-8U cables. When I decided to go with the larger RG-213U cables all through out my station I decided to buy them.

My amplifiers are two Ameritron AL-80B's. To be cautious I use rig to amplifier buffer interfaces, the Ameritron AR-704's.

I use Heil iCM desk microphones, which is mounted on the Heil HB-1 boom with the boom is mounted on Heil RS-1 risers The iCM is designed for Icom rigs and at -3db passes 30 hz to 12000 hz audio with a bit of a peak at 4000 hz. I've received some very good audio reports with the microphones so far.

The iCM microphone is used with the Icom IC-7600 and IC-746 Pro. I use MC-60A desk microphones on the Kenwood TS-590S and TS-570DG.

HEIL ICM MICROPHONE

On the receive side I own quite a number of headphones. One is a pair of MFJ-392B headphones. The impedance is 16 ohms and the audio range on the headphones is 20-20000 hz and has independent volume controls for each can. This is my third pair of 392B headphones in the past ten years, as the first two sets fell apart electrically and mechanically due to poor construction. However my newest set seems to have been totally redesigned and much more sturdy. Of course only time will tell. I'm loyal to this model as it's one of the few that has independently varied audio output in each can.

My most recent edition is a set of active Sony MDR-NC7 noise cancelling headphones with an impedance of 33 ohms and audio range of 30-2000 ohms. It is powered by one AAA lithium battery and is the most comfortable set of headphones I've ever owned.

W4HM's ICOM IC-756 PRO 3/2 IC-746 PRO DIGITAL MODES INTERFACE INFORMATION


ICOM IC-756 PRO 3 STATION
CLICK TO ENLARGE

STATION ANTENNA & GROUND SERVICE ENTRANCE
CLICK TO ENLARGE


ALI THE RADIO SHACK CALICO CAT
CLICK TO ENLARGE

Above is a picture of my radio shack cat Ali. She is so smart that she can open doors and lot's of other human like stuff. I've always been partial towards cats as they are so smart and self sufficient.

Other rigs I've owned over the years include a Hallicrafters BC-610, Heath Kit DX-60B and DX-100B, My first radio station when I got my ticket in 1989 was the Heathkit DX-100B transmitter and a Hammarlund HQ-180C receiver.

In the past I've also owned an Icom IC-701, IC-735, two IC-746 Pro's, Yaesu FT-101E, three FT-840's, FT-990 and FT-1000MP Mark V Field. On 160 meters I found that the Icom IC-751A has the best receiver as far as internally produced VCO phase noise.

I currently have two wireless weather stations set up on my property.

Weather station #1 is a full parameter model #6153 Davis Vantage Pro2 with model #6312 v1.90 LCD console/receiver and model #6332 wireless wind vane/anemometer transmitter kit. Wind data down loads occur in a 1.5 second interval, temperature and precipitation related parameters a 10 second interval and barometric pressure a 60 second interval. I run the Weather Display v10.37R b80 software for it. It's tied to a personal computer with the Davis 6510SUSB data logger/PC interface. The computer is a home brewed PC clone running a 2.17 ghz AMD Athlon XP 3000+ processor with 2.048 gigs of RAM, a 160 gig hard drive and runs the Windows XP Pro SP3 OS.

Weather station #2 is a full parameter model #6351 Davis Vantage Vue console/receiver. It has some bells and whistles that the #6312 console/receiver does not. I also run the Weather Display v10.37R b80 software for it.  It's tied to a personal computer with the Davis 6510SUSB data logger/PC interface. The computer is an Acer Aspire running a 1.65 ghz AMD Radeon HD 6320 dual core processor with 4 gigs of RAM, a 500 gig hard drive and runs the Windows 7 Home Premium OS.

All weather observation parameters are uploaded in real time to the Internet via a (Roadrunner Lightning) 70000 kbps download 7000 kbps upload speed permanent broadband connection. My weather station is part of the partnership between the National Weather Service (NWS) and private Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS), as well as the volunteer Citizens Weather Observer Program (CWOP) and is ID'ed as #AR692/NZ4O. The weather observation data enters the NOAA Meteorological Assimilation Data Ingest System (MADIS) in Boulder, CO, where it enters the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) weather forecast model and 500+ other end users.




CLICK TO ENTER

 

W4HM's FLORIDA FALL COLORS

W4HM's FLORIDA DAILY WEATHER DISCUSSION

W4HM's FLORIDA HISTORIC COLD WEATHER ARCHIVE

W4HM's FLORIDA WEATHER AND GEOLOGICAL FACTS

W4HM's FLORIDA RAW WEATHER FORECASTING PRODUCT LINKS

W4HM's PICTURES OF JULY 19TH 2006 LIGHTNING STRIKE DAMAGE

W4HM's VERY CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH FLORIDA LIGHTNING BOLTS
W4HM's HARMFUL MAN INDUCED (ANTHROPOGENIC) GLOBAL WARMING (CLIMATE CHANGE) REFUTED


When I manage to get up early enough I check into the New England Weather Net. It operates on 3905 kc Monday through Saturday beginning at 5:00 am EST for informal check ins and 5:30-6:20 am EST for formal check ins. The New England Weather Net began operation in 1955 and has operated continuously since. Check ins are not limited to the New England region. For more information check out the website below.

NEW ENGLAND WEATHER NET

MIXW RIG EXPERT TINY & TIGERTRONICS SIGNALINK USB DIGITAL INTERFACES
CLICK TO ENTER

As I already mentioned above I'm very active on the digital modes on 160 through 6 meters using the Rig Expert Mini soundcard interface and the Tigertronics Signalink USB outboard soundcard interface to Icom IC-7600 rig. My first digital modes interface I homebrewed and I still have it but it does not allow for computer control of my rig.

I also operate a little on all MF and HF bands but am most active on 160, 80, 40 and 20 meters using CW, SSB and AM, both rag chewing and DXing. Approximately 90% of my time is spent on the digital modes such as BPSK31/63/125, FELD HELL, MFSK16, OLIVIA, MT63, RTTY and THROB.

While on the subject of the digital modes there is an issue with the PSK mode that I am going to address. I've been operating the PSK mode since 2003 and I'm seeing more and more dirty PSK signals (as wide as 3000 hz versus 31 hz) than ever on the HF bands, especially on 20 meters. I always make it a point to work stations with a dirty signal so as to assist them in cleaning their signal up.

Most of the time they are running 30 watts or less and the problem is how they are operating their rig, i.e., controlling output power with the RF output potentiometer on their rig. Unfortunately though too many newer digital operators are unwilling to do it the right way and often get offended when you tell them that their signal is dirty, a sad new trend within the hobby.

The correct way is to turn up rig output power for maximum ~100 watts and control the power output with the rig mic gain potentiometer and/or computer or outboard sound card slider. I say control as in reduce output until the transmitted signal is clean with no adjacent sidebands.

With my Rig Expert Tiny interface on my rigs using this method I can run up to 100 watts with no ALC movement and have a clean signal. I did add split beads on all input and output cables out of general principle.

With my Signalink USB outboard sound card interfaces I can run up to 150 watts with no ALC movement (but normally use only 1-4 watts) and have a clean signal. The performance of the internal sound card of the Signalink USB is very impressive, much cleaner than the sound card in my computer.

Because the audio input on ACC(1) jack is very sensitive on the Icom IC-7600 and IC-746 Pro, I have created a 100 kilo ohm resistor modification to the Signalink USB. On JP1 I placed the resistor between MIC and modulation in. This allows full range use of the TX potentiometer for maximum power output. Otherwise you get full output by barely opening the pot, very nonlinear.

I belong to a good number of radio clubs and organizations. I am a member of the:


#3040 of South Cars
#349 of the Pennsylvania/Ohio DX Association 070 PSK31 Club
#141 of the Feld Hell Club
#1723 of the North American QRP CW Club
#3097 of the Straight Key Century Club
#691 of the 30 meter Digital Group
#1243 & 1915 of the Digital Modes Club                                                                                                                                                                                    U.S. Coast Guard Radio Club
#279 of the Ambassadors For Christ
http://getbible.org/AFCkwork33ked38s9.html
East Pasco Amateur Radio Club http://www.eparsonline.org
#20 of the WARC Century Club http://www.obriensweb.com/warc-cc.html
#8570 of the British Amateur Radio Teledata Group http://www.bartg.org.uk/index.asp  

Mid Florida DX Association http://www.w4fdx.com

 


FELD HELL CLUB

PODXS 070 PSK31 CLUB


AMATEUR RADIO CLUB
CLICK TO ENTER

Click here to join 30 Meter Digital Group
30 METER DIGITAL GROUP
CLICK TO ENTER


Click here to join 30 Meter Digital Group
DIGITAL MODES CLUB
CLICK TO ENTER


NORTH AMERICAN QRP CW CLUB (NAQCC)
CLICK TO ENTER


STRAIGHT KEY CENTURY CLUB (SKCC)
CLICK TO ENTER
 

As of 01/01/2012:

Through eQSL I have 125 confirmed for mixed DXCC #107205 and 50 confirmed for mixed WAS #107694.

Via direct QSL cards, eQSL and LOTW all together my all band BPSK31 DXCC entity worked total is 115 and 82 confirmed. BPSK31 WAS is 48 confirmed. Via LOTW I have 50 confirmed for Digital WAS.

Via direct QSL cards, eQSL and LOTW all together my mixed DXCC entity worked total is 215 and 169 confirmed. WAS is 50 confirmed.

Through ARRL's LOTW I have 160 confirmed for mixed DXCC #42580 and I have 50 confirmed via RTTY for WAS #756. Via LOTW I also have 50 confirmed for Basic WAS.

Via direct QSL cards, eQSL and LOTW all together my all band RTTY DXCC entity worked total is 168 and 138 confirmed.

Through ARRL's LOTW I have 138 confirmed for RTTY DXCC #2308.

RTTY DXCC VIA LOTW BY ANDREI EW1AR-NP3D

RTTY WAS HONOR ROLL VIA LOTW BY AD1C

I recently purchased a U.S. Navy flame proof straight key. It has the orange U.S. Navy stenciled on the bottom and the serial number on the base is CMI-26003A. CMI means that it was made by Molded Insulator Company and the number is the model number.

I am also second owner of a non iambic paddle, the Vibroplex Vibrokeyer. It's a beauty with a serial number of 243902 that was manufactured in 1965.

I also do some of my Morse Code sending with a computer, sound card, keyboard and MRP v4.064 software due to rheumatoid arthritis in my hands. At times I find it less painful to peck with my index fingers then to actuate a key.

Though I can copy CW at 20 wpm by ear, when my ears fall short the software assists me in detecting signals below my local receiving noise threshold when signals fade (QSB) and noise (QRN) is high and allows for good contacts to be made 99% of the time. In any event marriage between computer and rig is total in this radio shack.

My radio hobby computer is a Gateway W3650 with a 2 gig Celeron Pentium Processor, 2 gigs of DDR2 RAM, a 160 gig hard drive and running the XP Pro SP3 OS. I connect to the Internet via a 60000 kbps down and 6000 kbps up permanent broadband connection. Besides running amateur radio related software on it I access call sign databases, DX spots, radio wave propagation and lightning strike data.

I also use an Acer Aspire 7250 series model AAB70 laptop running Windows 7 Home premium O/S with an AMD dual core E450 1.65 gig processor with 4 gigs of DDR3 RAM and a 500 gig hard drive.

As far as amateur & SWL radio related software programs I run the following:

N3FJP ACLog v3.0 for logging of LW, MW, SW broadcast and utility stations,

N3FJP ACLog v4.6 for amateur radio general and DX logging,

G4ILO's VOAProp v1.1 and W6EL v2.7 for radio wave propagation prediction,

EZNEC 5.0 for antenna modeling,

Geo Clock v9.0 for sunrise, sunset and gray line mapping,

MixW v3.11h, Digital Master 780 v5.1 b2777 and Fldigi v3.21.77 for BPSK31, FELD HELL, MFSK16, Olivia 500/16, MFSK16, MT63, RTTY and THROB operating,

WSJT-X v1.3 r3673 for JT9 and JT65A operation,

MRP v4.064 for computer keyboard CW sending,

WSPR v2.0 for MF and HF radio wave propagation study,

Ham Radio Deluxe v5.24 b038, CAT CI-V v2.6 and Kenwood RCP590 for CAT rig control,

Storm Lab v4.0 radar for thunderstorm/lightning tracking.

For full parameter weather observations I use Weather Display v10.38R b74 software.

W4HM's HOMEBREWED DIGITAL INTERFACE PLUS HOOKUP INFO FOR THE FT-1000MP/MARK V/FIELD TRANSCEIVER



Homebrewed Wrist Rocket For Hanging Skyhooks
Click To Enlarge

Recently I decided that I wanted to own one of the commercially manufactured wrist rockets for hanging skyhooks in trees. What I found did not seem very well made and was very overpriced (>$100) in my personal opinion.

So I decided to build my own. I went to the local China Mart and purchased a model 3061 "Laser Hawk Marksman" adjustable sling shot for $10.00. I also picked up a light weight Shakespeare fishing reel for $9.00, a spool of 700 yards of #8 clear colored fishing line for $4.00, a package of four one ounce "Water Gremlin" lead egg sinkers for $2.00 and a package of six small hose clamps for $2.00. I also purchased an 8" long by 1/2" diameter gray irrigation type PVC for $1.00 from Home Depot.

In 15 minutes I made my own for $28.00 and I can now hit branches in 100 foot pine trees. As you can also see in the picture I use several different sized nylon ropes from small to large in succession to pull the antennas up. As I'm a politically incorrect person I do use lead sinkers but I tie them in such a manner that they won't break away from the fishing line. If I hit the wrong branch which is very rare I then cut the fishing line and drop the sinker back to the ground for reuse. If one tries to pull the sinker back out of the tree there is a good chance that it will get snagged in a limb and you will leave behind the sinker and fishing line for a bird to possibly ingest. All it takes is a little common sense for the environment to be protected, no eyes be put out and no new safety laws enacted.

During the summer lightning season I use only two transmit antennas. One is protected from lightning surges with impulse suppressors/arrestors (I.C.E. model #303/U and #309/H) purchased from The Wireman. http://www.thewireman.com/openwirearrestors.html . The other one is made by Alpha Delta model #att-3G50U-HP. The lightning arrestors go to the ground system with 1 1/2" wide .015 thick flat copper strapping. See pictures below.

STATION ANTENNA & GROUND SERVICE ENTRANCE
LIGHTNING SURGE ARRESTORS & 1.5" COPPER STRAP
CLICK TO ENLARGE


STATION ANTENNA & GROUND SERVICE ENTRANCE
LIGHTNING SURGE ARRESTORS & 1.5" COPPER STRAP
CLICK TO ENLARGE


Speaking of lightning check out the website below:

CHOICES AND CONSEQUENCES OF STATION LIGHTNING PROTECTION

My station ground system consists of 300 feet of #6 solid bare copper wire buried 3" deep that completely encircles my house. Attached are six eight foot ground rods, plus the three eight foot ground rods for the power mains, cable TV and telephone. The ground rods do nothing for collection of RF and are tied in per NEC standards for lightning protection. Also connected are twenty five 64 foot radials made up of #14 stranded bare copper wire.

Antenna #1 is a 300 foot horizontal loop resonant near 80 meters (3350.000 kc) that is made up of UV resistant black PBC coated stranded #14 wire. It is in a square configuration with each leg 75 feet long and mounted 35 feet above ground at each corner. The feed point is in the middle of the leg that is broadside N-S. For 80-6 meter operation the antenna is fed with 41 feet of high quality #18 gauge stranded hard drawn copper 300 ohm window/ladder feed line.

It is tuned by an MFJ 974HB balanced antenna tuner. At a fraction of the cost of the Palstar it has a broader tuning range.

In the recent past I erected dipoles and verticals for 60-10 meters and compared their performance against the 300 foot horizontal loop. The loop always won on every band and in every direction. The antenna is an amazing performer. The 300 foot horizontal loop is just unbelievable good on 6 meters!


FEEDPOINT OF HORIZONTAL LOOP
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W4HM's 80-6 METER HORIZONTAL LOOP ANTENNA

 

Antenna #2 is a 62 foot long vertical, made up of UV resistant black PBC coated stranded #14 wire. The antenna is fed with 82 feet of RG-213 coax.

The antenna ground system consists of twenty six 64 foot long radials made up of #14 solid bare copper wire. Also 300 feet of #6 solid bare copper wire buried 3" deep that encircles my house. Attached are six eight foot ground rods, plus the three eight foot ground rods for the power mains, cable TV and telephone. The ground rods do nothing for collection of RF and are tied in per NEC standards for lightning protection.

The radial plate was purchased from DX engineering and is made of high quality stainless steel.

Antenna #3 is a 129 foot long inverted L, made up of UV resistant black PBC coated stranded #14 wire, with a vertical section of 60 feet and horizontal section of 68 feet for 160 meters. The horizontal section is broad side north-south. The antenna is fed with 82 feet of RG-213 coax.

The antenna ground system consists of twenty five 64 foot radials and one 127 foot radial made up of #6 solid bare copper wire. Also 300 feet of #6 solid bare copper wire buried 3" deep that encircles my house. Attached are six eight foot ground rods, plus the three eight foot ground rods for the power mains, cable TV and telephone. The ground rods do nothing for collection of RF and are tied in per NEC standards for lightning protection.

The radial plate was purchased from DX engineering and is made of high quality stainless steel.

On 160 meters I use an 8 foot diameter coaxial loop for receiving due to the high noise level on the inverted L. Check out the picture and web page link below.


W4HM's 8 FT DIAMETER BALANCED COAXIAL LOOP
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W4HM's 160 METER 8 FT DIAMETER COAXIAL RECEIVE LOOP ANTENNA

Another all band transmit antenna that I've had great success with in the past is the switchable horizontal doublet/vertical Tee transmit antenna. For more information about it go to:

 

W4HM's 1/4 WAVE BROAD BANDED COAXIAL INVERTED L ANTENNA FOR 160 METERS

W4HM's 160 METER LINEAR LOADED TEE VERTICAL/DOUBLET ANTENNA

W4HM's 160 & 80 METER 1/4 WAVE FAN INVERTED L ANTENNA

W4HM's 80-10 METER FAN DOUBLET ANTENNA

K4TR Antenna Manufacturing & Sales is a good source for well built and reasonably priced antennas check out the website link below

K4TR ANTENNA MANUFACTURING & SALES

If you really want to learn about antenna's, feed lines and VSWR check out W2DU's .pdf file sitting on my server. He is a retired professional in the field of antenna design and put's to rest allot of bad antenna theory that's been floating around within our hobby for decades.

TO LOW AN SWR CAN KILL YOU BY W2DU

UNDERSTANDING ANTENNAS FOR NON TECHNICAL HAMS BY NJ4A

As far as QSLing I use ARRL LOTW and eQSL. I don't use QRZ.com or paper cards and therefore not the "Bureau".

 

However if you are into paper QSL cards and would like to save $$$ and design and print your own QSL card check out this website link.

K7LS ONLINE QSL CARD MAKER

Previous call sign's that I have held are as follows. Novice in 1989 KC4ONQ, Technician & General in 1990 N4YPV, Advanced in 1990 KN4LF, Advanced in 1993 KN6YO, Advanced in 1994 KG0NY, Advanced in 1998 KU4QV, Advanced in 1999 KN4LF vanity, Amateur Extra in 2008 KN4LF vanity, Amateur Extra in 2009 NZ4O vanity, Amateur Extra in 2013 W4HM.

MY EQSL PROFILES

Enter your callsign to see if you have an eQSL waiting!


CLICK TO ENTER

I passed the Amateur Extra class written test on December 20, 2008. As I passed the 13 wpm CW test in 1990 I guess that makes me an Amateur Extra "medium".

Actually I passed the Amateur Extra written and 20 wpm CW tests between 1991 and 1994 but as I was overseas allot of that time the two CSCE 365 day valid periods did not coincide. Boy was I pissed. I began studying for the amateur extra written and 20 wpm CW tests again between 1999-2000. However when the 20 wpm CW test was canned in 2000, which in my opinion destroyed the accomplishment of becoming an Amateur Extra class ham, out of protest I held onto my now unique 13 wpm Advanced class license for the past 8 years.

As I enjoy working DX on CW I decided that I wanted access to the extra 25 kc of spectrum between 7000-7025 kc, 14000-14025 kc and 21000-21025 kc, so I began studying for the Amateur Extra class test again in early 2008. At that time I found that the new 50 question amateur extra class test was harder than the old 35 question amateur extra class test, so I still feel that I still did accomplish something somewhat special.

In early 2008 I bought the amateur extra class study course from the ARRL http://www.arrl.org/catalog/?item=1379 . I studied the material for one month and also began taking the online exams on QRZ dot com http://www.qrz.com/p/testing.pl . When I consistently scored above 90% I was ready. However I'm disabled and could not find a location to take the exam that was convenient for me. Then I became seriously ill for six months and the upgrade to amateur extra class went on the back burner AGAIN!!! 

I did finally pass my Amateur Extra class written test on December 20, 2008 through the local Lakeland Amateur Radio Club (LARC) http://www.lakelandarc.org . Unfortunately this club like most is populated with mentally unstable people that live to argue and demean one another, much like our society as a whole has become. So sadly my membership in the club was very brief.

I'm an active SWL going back to 1965. My grandfather of whom I was named after was an MF AM broadcast band SWL and owned an Italian language newspaper in New York City, NY in 1930's and 1940's. Sadly the building was razed to make room for WTC complex.

He had a 1959 Zenith Royal 50 all transistor portable (huge by today's standards) AM radio and a 1959 tube type Zenith AM/FM table top radio. In 1965 he began letting me listen to the Zenith table top radio both day and night.

I'm the only amateur radio operator in my family but my grandfather of whom I was named after was an MF AM broadcast band SWL and owned an Italian language newspaper in New York City, NY in 1930's and 1940's. The building was razed to make room for WTC complex.

He had a 1960 Zenith Royal 50 all transistor portable (huge by today's standards) AM radio and a 1959 tube type Zenith AM/FM table top radio.  It was in a really nice leather pouch. In 1965 he began letting me listen to the Zenith table top radio both day and night.


ZENITH ROYAL 50 TRANSISTOR RADIO
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One chilly winter day in 1965 he took me fishing on the original Gandy Bridge, which crosses Tampa Bay in Florida. On the Pinellas County side of the bridge stood the twin four legged free standing towers of WSUN 620 kc. My grandfather pointed out the towers and told me what they were about. This began my fascination with radio that continues to today.

Here they are. The left picture is of the north tower, the right tower of the south tower. These photo's were taken a good while back before the towers were rebuilt to a lower height, as they were deemed unsafe due to age. They are still free standing but look kind of screwed up, especially the south tower.

These are not my photographs, I lost mine in a hard drive crash. I think that they were taken by Terry Krueger, an experienced SWL.

OLD WSUN 620 TOWERS BLAH KNOX FREE STANDING TOWERS
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This began my fascination with radio that continues to this day (48 years). It was also at this time that I discovered the Beatles, as they were (of course) on AM radio at that time. My grandfather Thomas also was an amateur weather observer and forecaster as he raised citrus, of which I also picked up from him.

My XYL Lori had an uncle named George Friend. He was a very active amateur on CW, AM and SSB and held the callsign W4MTU but is now a silent key. He also co-owned the local MF AM broadcast radio station WPLA 910 kc 5KW in nearby Plant City, FL for many years. When the station signed off at local sunset he would use the self supporting 1/4 wave station tower on 160 meters and had a very big signal. He was very fond of Heathkit equipment and had an enormous setup at the radio station and also at his home QTH.
WPLA 910 KC GEORGE FRIEND W4MTU
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My current modern SWL'ing table top receivers include a Drake R-8B and Icom R-75. As far as portables I have a Sangean ATS-909X Clear Mod, ATS-909, ATS-818, ATS-505P, Grundig S350DL, Eton E10 and Tecsun PL-660. I actually find the Grundig S350DL to be better on the MF AM broadcast band then the others, as the analog circuitry of the S350DL has no PLL or DDS VCO phase noise. On SSB the Tecsun PL-660 does the best followed by the Sangean ATS-909X Clear Mod.


GRUNDIG S350DL MF/HF RECEIVER & TECSUN AN-200 RECEIVE LOOP
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ICOM IC-751A
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SANGEAN ATS-818
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Older receivers in my collection include a Zenith Transoceanic H500 and Royal 7000, Realistic DX-60 and DX-100, Hallicrafters WR600 and S120, Sony ICF-6500W, Kenwood R-1000 and R-2000 and last but not least a Collins R-390A.

However for really serious DXing I use my Icom IC-751A. It has better receiver spec's at 2 kc station spacing than the very expensive Icom IC-7800. Go figure.

Rig control is via Ham Radio Deluxe v5.24 b036, CAT CI-V v2.6 and Kenwood ARCP 590 v1.02. My logging program is N3FJP's ACLog v3.0.

On LW, MW and SW I use a Grove TUN 4 preselector/tuner on my portable receivers. It allows for two antenna inputs, to receiver outputs and amplification when necessary. It's an amazing and hard to find radio tool and I wouldn't give it up for any other radio equipment.

On the low frequency (LF) band, I've logged 1000 plus of part 15 LOWFERS, air navigation beacons, marine navigation beacons and broadcast stations in 27 countries. I'm also active experimenting with DSP receiving software such as Argo, Spectran, Spectrum Lab, etc. for weak signal reception.

As far as receive antennas for LF I use a 128 foot long wire inverted L with a 60 foot vertical section.

On the medium frequency (MF) AM broadcast band I have logged 1300 plus stations in 43 states and 41 countries. BTW my first job in weather forecasting was at a small 1 kw radio station in Florida, WDCF 1350 kc in Dade City, FL. This radio station has had the same call sign since first assigned by the FCC in 1954.

As far as receive antennas for MF I use an outdoor 8 foot diameter balanced coaxial loop, a 129 foot long wire inverted L with a 60 foot vertical section and a 300 foot long horizontal loop up at 35 feet.

Indoor antenna's include a Tecsun model number AN-200 receive loop and a Select-A-Tenna model 541 receive loop. The Select-A-Tenna is the best MF loop that I've ever purchased and really does increase radio signals by 30 db. To bad though that it's so ugly!

I am currently a member of the the Medium Wave Circle http://www.mwcircle.org . This is a great organization!

At one time I was a member of the International Radio Club of America (IRCA) http://www.ircaonline.org and the National Radio Club (NRC) http://www.nrcdxas.org , however there is to much bickering within these organizations to suit me.

As follows is a current list of MF AM broadcast band radio stations logged by me in the central peninsula region in Lakeland, FL on ground wave at day time. http://www.wcflunatall.com/centralflmfstationsheard.htm . Though during the winter DX season I do hear some stations via sky wave.

On the
shortwave (SW) broadcast bands, I have 2000 plus stations logged in 201 countries, approximately 75% broadcast and 25% utility. I actively DX on all of the shortwave bands, with an emphasis on the 120, 90, 75 and 60 meter tropical bands. I'm also a news and programming listener of shortwave broadcast stations on all bands. My favorite tropical band was 60 meters but with the dozens of CODAR stations now on and around the band it's nearly impossible to listen for DX now.

As far as receive antennas for SW I use a 300 foot long horizontal loop up at 35 feet and a 129 foot long inverted L with a 60 foot long vertical section.


 


NOTE!!! If the following pro U.S. Military content offends you then feel free to keep scrolling past it. I support the "War On Terror" (though I feel that it has been mismanaged due to the rapidly spreading plague called political correctness) and I strongly support our troops.


Freedom Is Not Free With It Comes Responsibility



As A Disabled Veteran I can Tell You That There Are No Atheists In Time Of War    

 



I'm A Disabled Life Member Of Chapter 65 Of The
Disabled American Veterans


I'm A Medically Retired Veteran And Proudly
Served My Country In The Vietnam Era
In the U.S. Coast Guard
 

Are you fat dumb and happy? Do you sleep well at night in your warm and comfy bed because you feel safe and secure? Are you a life long taker, not a contributor to our great representative republic? Well check out how our military personnel lived early on in the "war on terror" in Afghanistan and Iraq while protecting our precious freedoms!!!

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CLICK HERE TO VIEW A TRIBUTE TO OUR
BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM

VA HOMELESS VETERANS SITE

CENTER FOR MILITARY READINESS

NATIONAL COALITION FOR HOMELESS VETERANS

MILITARY DOT COM ALL THE BENEFITS OF MILITARY SERVICE

TAKE THE TIME TO GIVE THANKS TO ALL OF THOSE THAT GIVE ALL

VETERAN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYERS & SETTLEMENTS DOT COM


Some of the steel from the fallen World Trade Center towers in New York City was used to build a new USS New York.


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You can contact me
Thomas F. Giella, W4HM
Lakeland, FL at

thomasfgiella at gmail dot com




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