With this clock, from DCI, you can read the time in Morse code.
Not a bad deal at $27 US on Amazon.com.
With this clock, from DCI, you can read the time in Morse code.
Not a bad deal at $27 US on Amazon.com.
I meet some very interesting people in radio circles. My friend Harold Johnson (W4ZCB) is undoubtedly one of them.
Last year at my local ham radio/DXer club meeting, members were asked to bring photos of shacks and rigs, and describe our evolution as ham radio operators. In the series of photos that arrived at the following meeting, one in particular stood out: Harold Johnson’s radio tower in post-war Japan.
Johnson’s tower stood almost thirty feet tall and supported a 20 meter Yagi which you can see in the above photo. Johnson, who at the time operated under the callsign JA7HJ, also had a little ham shack built. The shack materials–including the tower, Johnson recalls–cost him “three bottles of Scotch for the army quartermaster…I paid the Japanese builder $15 or $20 for the complete enchilada.” This tower was built entirely of wood: the vertical members were 2′ x 4′s, the slats were 1′ x 3′s.
Of course, the tower didn’t have a mechanical rotor; instead, Johnson climbed inside the tower, lifted the wooden boom, rotated it manually, and placed it back on the uprights.
When asked how he powered his station, Johnson pointed to the wheeled generator in front of the radio shack in the photo. “The generator was called a B6B–it produced 24, 120, 240, and 480 volts, and was rated 10 kW.” When I asked how he managed to procure the generator, he replied that he “borrowed it from the flight line, which was about 300 feet away.”
I always enjoy hearing personal histories in radio and I didn’t doubt for a moment that Harold Johnson’s would be intriguing, so I asked if he’d tell us how his interest in radio began. So, here’s Johnson’s story in his own words:
As a preteen, (and poor as a church mouse during our previous
Depression), I would visit my aunt and uncle in the summer, likely due to the fact that they were farmers and had food to eat. They owned an old Philco radio that had shortwave bands and I was intrigued with the phone amateurs on the 80 and 20 meter bands. Often, I could hear both sides of the conversation, after I found out that they were on various different frequencies, being crystal controlled back then! My…How times have changed.
In high school, I found another afficianado, and can recall melting ”Woods metal” in boiling water and floating a piece of Galena on it until it returned to a solid and [thus] made my own crystal set. WWII had started by then, and I would listen to the ground-to-air communications between ships in Lake Michigan and pilots taking off and landing on them. Great DX, perhaps 10 miles away.
In 1943, I had graduated from high school and joined the US Army Air Corps. Went through training and was still in training (…to be a pilot until they counted airplanes and pilots and decided they had enough of each [...so instead] turned me into a B-29 gunner). The war was over whilst [I was] still in training and I “retired” in November 1945. Went home and found my high school sweetheart, married, went back to school to finish my education and started the Johnson family. Still married, and
to the same girl. What a sweetheart to have put up with me all these years. [No kidding, Harold!]
Went back in the US Air Force in 1949, this time became a pilot, and just in time to go to Korea for a year. However, during training, had to learn the Morse and if you learned to 13 WPM, you had a free hour and didn’t have to attend class. That overcame my obstacle to amateur radio, and I took the exams in 1950 and became W9PJO. Our rules at that time were that you had to hold a “class B” ticket for a year before you could take the “class A” exams. That year I spent in Korea and Japan and managed to obtain my first foreign call, JA7HJ.
Returning home to wife and by that time two children, I took the class A exams and became W4ZCB. I decided that I enjoyed flying, (at least most of the time), and decided to make it a career. The ensuing years, I was always on and in the air, and usually spent the winters in Alaska and the summers in the Canal Zone, anything to practice how to be miserable. Lebanon in 1958, Vietnam in 1968 and by 1969 decided that I should start doing something else before my luck ran out.
During my last 4 years of service I flew an Army four star around the world four times. Fortunately he was Ted Conway, W4EII, and we mutually enjoyed operating under a couple dozen different call signs from a lot of exotic (and several not so exotic) places. Had G5AHB back when the 5 was reserved for foreign nationals. We were good friends after we both retired (on the same day; I always liked to say that he couldn’t stand to serve without me) until his death in 1990.
I started a small company manufacturing electronic test equipment for public utilities; spent the next 20 years doing that (and enjoying a much more stable life with family and radio.) Managed to work all the countries (entities these days) there are, win a few contests from a contest station I built and operated for 10 years. (80, 40, and 20 in the front room, 15 in one bedroom and since 160 and 10 were seldom open at the same time, they shared the other bedroom. To change bands, you just changed chairs. Five big towers and Yagis, a VERY high maintenance hobby in the lightning prone state of Florida. (Let’s not mention hurricanes!)
Retired again to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina in 1986. A much more modest station these days, but active on all the HF bands. I really enjoy building homebrew radios and maintaining daily schedules with friends worldwide. Can be found daily on 21.203 with G3XJP and often joined by other builders of the magnificent PicaStar transceiver designed by him. Sixty-three years a ham, still enjoying it. It’s guided my careers and interests. What a wonderful hobby!
Over the past few years, I’ve gotten to know Harold Johnson; I must say, he has to be one of the very few hams I know who knows the inner workings of tube/valve radios as well as he does the highest tech radios on the market, a rare talent indeed. If you’re trying to learn a bit more about the BC-348 series of radios and trying to diagnose a problem with it, Johnson’s your guy. If you’re trying to build an SDR from scratch, he’s also your guy. And clearly, if you want to hear a fascinating account of a life influenced by radio, this is most definitely your guy.
Thanks, Harold, for letting me share your story!
Check out Harold Johnson’s website by clicking here.
A news release from Andy (G6LBQ) & Adrian (2E0SDR):
I have a news release about the NEW version of the world famous G6LBQ multiband transceiver. Andy G6LBQ is releasing the MKII version through a partnership with Adrian Lane (2E0SDR). They have formed a company called DX KITS, it will trade from www.dxkits.com, it is currently in the development stage.
We are having manufactured industry quality PCB’s for the NEW linear board that us 3 x RD16HHF1 Mosfets, along with a digital VFO board coming soon that utilises the SI570. Andy then intends to update the Filter Boards and also create a new and improved exciter board, both the Linear Board & the new VFO board will be compatible with the existing exciter board that will become obselete when the new MKII exciter board is relesed later this year.
There are lots of new development going on with Andy (G6LBQ) and DX Kits for a very brite future and large upgrade for the G6LBQ and Homebrewer all round. DX Kits will be the sole worldwide supplier for the G6LBQ MKII and all of Andy’s future developments. Please visit us at the G6LBQ Yahoo group at groups.yahoo.com/group/G6LBQ/ and keep an eye on our developing site at dxkits.com. We are awaiting our first batch of PCB’s, then the sky is the limit for the HF Homebrewer.
Andy (G6LBQ) & Adrian (2E0SDR)
(Source: Christian Science Monitor)
A colossal sunspot on the surface of the sun is large enough to swallow six Earths whole, and could trigger solar flares this week, NASA scientists say.
The giant sunspot was captured on camera by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory as it swelled to enormous proportions over the 48 hours spanning Tuesday and Wednesday (Feb. 19 and 20).[...]
“It has grown to over six Earth diameters across, but its full extent is hard to judge since the spot lies on a sphere, not a flat disk,” wrote NASA spokeswomanKaren Fox, of the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., in an image description.
[S]ome of the intense magnetic fields in the sunspot region are pointing in opposite directions, making it ripe for solar activity.
“This is a fairly unstable configuration that scientists know can lead to eruptions of radiation on the sun called solar flares,” Fox explained.
Propagation in the higher portions of the HF band could be very interesting over the course of the next few days. If a solar flare erupts, however, it could make shortwave listening quite difficult.
Thanks for the tip, Bill!
The forum itself is from 11:45am-12:45pm [Saturday March 9th] in the Cabarrus Room B. There will be total of five of us “SOTAteers” KF4LXB, W4ZV, KI4SVM, WH6LE, and W4ZTM with our kits. We hope to be able to set up a table outside of the conference room so we can have some extra “show and tell” time with our rigs for those interested. We want to get the word out to as many people as possible so we can share about something we all love.
Hamfest site: http://www.w4bfb.org/hamfest2013/hamfest.html
SOTA is serious QRP fun. Thanks for sharing this, Christian!
If you have a QRP related event you would like to publicize, simply contact me with the details and I would be happy to post it on QRPer.com.
My guess? There must be a ham in the marketing department at Velveeta:
And I thought my buddy, Mike (K8RAT), was being gastronomically adventurous when he made a homemade single-lever “sideswiper” with a steak knife! Imagine what might happen if the steak knife meets up with this:
Those of you following the Kenwood TS-990 will be happy to know that Kenwood has finally published an official press release with specifications and other details.
They are announcing a suggested retail price of ¥798,000, or $9,138.78 US as of day of posting. They offer the same price for the TS-990S (200 Watts) or the TS-990D (50 Watts-Japan only).
Kenwood has publicized a launch date of February 2013.
For those of you, like me, who got their start in ham radio by listening to international broadcasters on the shortwaves, you might like the article I just posted on the SWLing Post.
It’s a tour of the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station in Greenville, North Carolina. Formerly known as VOA Site B, this IBB transmitting station has a global reach and a dedicated team keeping her running each and every day.
The article was published earlier this year in The Monitoring Times magazine. Since there was no worries with page space, I was able to include even more hi-res color photos in my blog post.
Last night, I captured the pirate radio station Dit Dah Radio on 6,935 kHz (+/-) USB. I published the audio on my shortwave radio blog, The SWLing Post, where I post quite a lot of shortwave radio recordings.
I’m well aware that no law-abiding ham radio operator would ever broadcast as a pirate radio station. So this must be a non-ham, right? (OK, fess up!!! Who was it???)
You’ll especially like their CW preamble (or, interval signal, I suppose) which they follow with The Capris’ 1960′s hit, Morse Code of Love. Click here to download, or listen in the embedded player below:
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!