Amateur radio in the news: Art Bell, Vietnam vet, amateur radio “Olympics”

Art Bell to make comeback with Sirius show about the paranormal. Art Bell, W6OBB, radio’s master of the paranormal and outward edges of science, will return to the microphone on Sept. 16 with a new nighttime show on Sirius XM Radio. Bell was one of radio’s top syndicated voices in the 1990s before walking away from his nightly show in 2002 due to family issues. He worked occasionally after that but hasn’t been on the air since Halloween 2010.

Learning on the fly: Kent’s Sealfon recalls the skills he learned in Vietnam after Army training. Life rarely goes as planned, and even the best training doesn’t prepare us for everything. If there’s one lesson Michael Sealfon learned during his yearlong tour in the Vietnam War, and the 40 years since, it’s that.

Operators prepare to host amateur ham radio ‘Olympics’. The World Championship of amateur ham radio is coming to Massachusetts next year, and local ham-radio operators were helping prepare for it by testing sites around the region this past weekend. “This is big international stuff, and Massachusetts is the one that’s hosting it,” said local ham radio operator Bob Reif. He helped set up a radio tower in Heald Street Orchard Friday morning to test the site for the competition. “It’s the Olympics of amateur radio.”

Amateur radio in the news: SkyWarn, making vacuum tubes again, Friedrichshafen

Chris, KE5ZRT, is president of the Panhandle ARC and a SkyWarn storm spotter

Chris, KE5ZRT, is president of the Panhandle ARC and a SkyWarn storm spotter

Volunteer storm spotters essential to Weather Service. The haunting companions to tornadoes and major thunderstorms make children cry, grown men run into basements and auto dealership owners cringe. But some people embrace the danger and even seek it out for entertainment. Among this group are Skywarn storm spotters, volunteers who work with the National Weather Service to track and report storms from the front lines.

Making tubes again. Western Electric has been resurrected, and its headquarters are in Rossville, GA. A once-vacant bank building was adorned about three weeks ago with distinctive red-lettered “Western Electric” signs on its east and west sides. The Rossville operation will make vacuum tubes mainly for use in high-end audio components. “It’s a lost art,” company president Charles G. Whitener Jr. said.

Ham radio — a pastime not just in the past. With today’s advanced wireless technology, amateur radio might have become obsolete. Yet, it hasn’t. Did you know the first “chat room” was invented by ham radio operators? They communicated across the continents during wartime, and played chess all hours of the day and night. And amateur radio invented social networking. Amateurs are viewed as public servants and a national resource. It doesn’t look like these guys are going away anytime soon.

Ham operators’ paradise at Friedrichshafen’s flea market. Over a week ago I attended the Ham Radio show in Friedrichshafen, Germany. This is the biggest ham radio show in Europe and has the usual big-convention mix of commercial exhibitors, national society exhibits, conference-style forums, and… a flea market.

Amateur radio in the news: Bob Heil K9EID, HSMM-Mesh wins award, teens help win WWII

Bob_HeilThe sound of Heil. He saved tours of the Grateful Dead and The Who, and is credited with the birth of modern live sound by revolutionizing the equipment that bands used, starting in the 1960s. In fact, Bob Heil, ham radio operator, sound equipment inventor, and founder of Heil Sound, is the only manufacturer to have equipment on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Ham ops win iAEM-Global technology & innovation award. Broadband HamnetTM, developed by amateur radio operators to provide a high speed digital wireless communications mesh network, has won the IAEM-Global Technology & Innovation Award, Division 2.. The firmware is available at no charge via the project website at

The teenage radio enthusiasts who helped win World War II. There were about 1,500 so-called voluntary interceptors during WWII – civilians helping to intercept secret Nazi code. To mark the centenary of the Radio Society of Great Britain, one of its members recalls how the amateur organisation played a key role in a covert operation to safeguard the country’s independence.

From my inbox: VE7VC, Tonewriter, World Amateur Radio Day

Tiffany and her grandfather, Victor, VE7VC (SK).

What a Wonderful World. Tiffany remembers her grandfather, VE7VC (SK).

Use a Hammond B3 to send CW. Forest, WB0RIO, has developed Tonewriter—an experimental system that uses an Arduino and a Hammond B3 organ to encode text as a series of audio tones. The messages can then be displayed on a spectrogram, which is used by ham radio operators to visualize the audio that is received by a radio receiver.

April 18 is World Amateur Radio Day. The International Amateur Radio Union has selected the theme “Amateur Radio:  Entering Its Second Century of Disaster Communications” for this year’s World Amateur Radio Day (WARD).

From my Twitter feed: Sports Illustrated, free shipping, daughter helping with QSLs

Ham Radio in 1958 Sports Illustrated #Hamr#Hamradio - The Article -

Need parts? Jameco is offering free ground shipping in continental US with Code OLP05951Y until April 12.

My daughter helping me with QSL cards.#hamr

Amateur radio in the news: School Roundup in WA, Laporte (IN) hamfest, the magic of ham radio

Middle schoolers in North Bend, WA participate in the School Roundup.

Two Rivers calling: Ham radio roundup connects students with learning moments
After a slow morning of attempting to contact other ham radio operators, middle-schoolers at Two Rivers School in North Bend enjoyed an afternoon chatting with people all over the world, as part of the annual School Club Roundup.

Amateur radio enthusiasts flock to La Porte for annual event
For one man it was the discovery of a nearly 100-year-old radio in his attic. For another, it was a Christmas gift that connected him to voices from around the world. And for a third, it was his father’s military career that led him into the world of amateur radio. Hundreds like them gathered in La Porte on Saturday for the annual Cabin Fever Hamfest at the La Porte Civic Auditorium.

Magic Valley Ham Radio Operators Share the Fun
Video allows Magic Valley (ID) amateurs share the magic of our hobby.

Amateur radio in the news: Hams threatened in TX, ham starts biz in CO, MI hams support sled dog race

Here’s another installment of amateur radio in the news…….Dan

Radio operator accused of terroristic threats. This is bizarre. MySanAntonio.Com reports “A man arrested on allegations that he used amateur radio channels to threaten to kill members of a local amateur radio club has been released from the Bexar County Jail. An arrest affidavit states Watkins, known on radio frequencies as ‘White Noise,’ was creating interference and illegally transmitting over radio bands without having the required radio operator license.”

Ham sends transmitters to Venus. Robert Sternowski, WB0LBI, is president of Softronics, Ltd., a company that designs electronic products and systems specializing in radios. One of Softronics’ first contracts was to design and build a transmitter that NASA sent to Venus.

Hams help dogs stay on track. The Hiawatha Amateur Radio Club is once again providing communications for the UP 200 dog sled race. According to Paul Racine, KB0P, vice president of the club there are some people that get their ham license just for the purpose of helping out during the UP 200 sled dog race.


Arvid, KC8VGO SK

Arvid, KC8VGO, helps out at Field Day 2003.

Arvid, KC8VGO, helps out at Field Day 2003. Photo courtesy of Dave New, N8SBE.

At Wednesday’s ARROW meeting, I was saddened to learn of the death of Arvid, KC8VGO. Although he was in his 80s at the time, he attended my General class, and eventually got his General ticket.

He was a guy that liked to do things. Shortly after getting his General ticket, I heard that he attended classes at Washtenaw Community College, learning what he had to know to get his motorcycle license. His obituary also notes that he was a shriner, enjoyed square dancing, and belonged to the Country Twirlers.

Arvid was also one of those guys that truly was unable to learn the code. Removing that requirement was what allowed him to finally get on the air and then finally to get his General Class license. So, when anyone tells me that the code test was a good way to keep out “undesirables,” I always pointed to Arvid as a case of the code test keeping out someone that we want to be part of the hobby.

73, Arvid

Video: AA2YV, build a receiver, Wouxoun review

Bill, AA2YV, is not only a fine amateur radio operator, but a professor of German at Nazareth College in New York.

Build a SW receiver with only four transistors!

A video review of the KG-UVD1P, my latest acquisition. Short version: he likes it.

21 Things to Do: Get to know your ham neighbors

Jukka, OH2BR, gave me this bit of advice. “Find out who your closest ham neighbors are,” he said, “and contact them.” “They could be your best friends and Elmers OR your worst opposition if you interference to their ham activities. Start early—contact them today!” He went on to tell this story:

I found out how important it is to acquaint myself with my neighbor hams the hard way.  I built a 15W XTAL TX and started working the world. One day I got a note from the President of our national league SRAL (Finland), OH2TK. He lived one block away from me. Was I terrified! I thought I would be expelled from the League for causing interference with my poorly constructed TX. Happily, he was a most amiable person and took me under his wing, so there was a happy end to the story.

Today, there are many ways to find the hams in your neighborhood. One way to do this is to do it the old-fashioned way—walk around your neighborhood looking for antennas.

Another way to do this is to visit QRZ.Com. Most of us use QRZ.Com to search for particular amateur by typing his or her callsign into the search box. You can, however, get a list of  ham radio operators in your zip code by typing that into the search box. When I typed “48103” into the search box, it returned 150 licensees.

Perhaps an even better way to do this is with N4MC’s Ham Locator. When you type you zip code into the appropriate box on this Web page, you get a Google map that shows where the hams are located. You can then zoom in and pan around to find the hams closest to you.

Here’s a map of my neighborhood. Clicking on the little markers gives you the name and address of each licensee.

 Ham Locator Map

So, find the hams in your neighborhood and get to know them. You never know. You might make a friend for life.