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.

Ham radio on the Internet – 11/29/11

Here are some cool things I found on the Net recently:

Radio tutorial – building your first station. This YouTube video tutorial by N7FTP gives some good advice on setting up your first ham shack.

Wi-Fi and the Bad Boys of Radio (review). I haven’t yet read this book, but this review certainly makes me want to do so. The book was written by Alex Hills, who played a part in the development of WiFi technology.  Alex, AL7K, got his start in radio as a ham radio operator. From there, he went on to broadcast engineering, and then to a position with Carnegie Mellon University, where he worked on WiFi technology.

Radio hams pick up Mars rover Curiosity’s signals. This story describes how some German amateurs are working with NASA to receive telemetry from the Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, which is heading towards Mars carrying a one-ton nuclear powered robot rover named Curiosity.

Amateur Radio in the News – Obituaries, 11/17/11

This Ham Radio in the News is a little different. Below, find links to three recent SKs.

  • Dr. John Henry Thomas III, W3FAF, of Sellersville, formerly of Mahtomedi, Minn. and Bucks County, Pa., died Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011, at Rockhill Mennonite Community where he was a resident. He was 70.In addition to holding a PhD in physics, Dr. John Thomas was a ham radio operator for more than 50 years. He was an active member of several radio clubs, and was recently honored with the American Radio Relay League’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He was an Official Relay Station for 52 years and an Official Observer for more than 20 years.
  • Kenneth D. Marker, N9KM, age 82, of Richmond, died Friday, November 11, 2011, at Golden Living Center.He was an engineer at NATCO for 38 years, a former member of Earlham Heights Presbyterian Church, a member of the Whitewater Valley Amateur Radio Club, and USA Defenders of Greyhounds.
  • Donald James Wilson, WB8ZOS, of Muskegon died peacefully at his home on Wedneday, November 9, 2011 after a brief illness. He was 88. Don had a long career as an engineer with Sealed Power Corporation and had many hobbies throughout his life, including building and flying model airplanes and helicopters and amateur radio.

Ham Radio in the News – October 31, 2001

Here is the latest Ham Radio in the News:

99-year-old Ham radio operator still tuned in. This story speaks for itself. I hope I’m still making QSOs when I’m 99.

KL7OT Makes a Contact

Arlene “Buddy” Clay, 99, with her Ham radio set up. After 67 years living along the Kuskokwim River, in January she moved from Aniak to the Primrose Retirement Community in Wasilla. (from The Frontiersman)

Radio club helps to make Halloween a treat. I like this article because it describes ham radio providing a public service that is not emergency communications. I also like the name of the newspaper: The Daily Gleaner.

150 years ago, a primitive Internet united the USA. While not directly related to ham radio, this article puts our current communications technology in perspective. The telegraph was the invention that set the stage for today’s Internet.

Ham Radio in the News – August 22, 2011

When Pigs Fly. A blog posting by a reporter—who also happens to be a ham radio operator—on the art of QRPing.

70 years of ribbing, hamming and wedded bliss. Bob and Dorothy Truhlar attribute their long marriage to a healthy sense of humor, as well as a clear division of duties, and a common interest in ham radio. And, they both admit, a bit of blackberry brandy every now and then doesn’t hurt.

Ham radio verification cards on exhibit at Harford Community College. This exhibit features QSL cards as examples of an “operator’s personality and home life.”

WD4LZC: On the Air and Online

I’ve worked Larnelle (Stu) Harris a number of times, including this afternoon. He is a great operator, as attested to by the fact that he is a member of the First Class Operator’s Club and the Amateur Radio Hall of Fame. He’s also a gospel music star and a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Now, he’s a member of the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. According to an article on BREATHEcast, a Christian media website, that makes him the first person to have entered all three halls of fame.

If you hear him on the air, give him a call.

I Believe in Ham Radio

WPSU, public radio from Penn State University, has a feature they call, “This I Believe.” It allows their listeners to tell others about their personal philosophy and core values. I Believe is based on the 1950s radio program of the same name and the media project (launched in 2005) from This I Believe, Inc. and Atlantic Public Media.

The latest program in this series is by Ellwood Brem, K3VY, who believes in ham radio. He says,

I believe the world would be a more peaceful place if we were all amateur radio operators. I’m an amateur radio operator — sometimes called a ham radio operator — and I’ve been one for forty-nine years. I delight at talking on my short wave radio to people all over the world.

You can listen to the entire essay if you go to the PSU website.

Interesting Stuff from the Mailing Lists

Here are three items that caught my eye in the last couple of days:

  1. Project Calliope. Project Calliope is a satellite funded by Science 2.0 and being launched by a mad scientist who is a space & music enthusiast. It’s launching on the “TubeSat” platform. It’ll be an ionospheric detector transmitting sonifiable data back to Earth for web streaming and remixing. Conceptually, it’s a musical instrument in space, played by space rather than just after-the-fact sonified.
  2. The King’s QSL Card. Most of us who have been hams for more than a couple of years know that the late King Hussein of Jordan was a ham radio operator, callsign JY1. This posting is a story from a British ham who was fortunate enough to work him a couple of times and get his QSL card.
  3. Yuri’s Night. Yuri’s Night is April 12, 2011, the 50th anniversary of human spaceflight. Part of this celebration will be ham-radio related, specifically a test of ARISSsat-1, which is scheduled for deployment sometime later this summer.


I didn’t know W4ACM, but he sounds like a guy that I would have liked to have known.  He was 100 years old and an amateur radio operator for 84 years!  I found a link to the obituary below in an e-mail I receive every day from Google alerting me to new “amateur radio” content that it’s found on the Net. Perhaps if you live in or near Fredericksburg, VA you could attend the service…..Dan


Carleton H. Gray

W4ACM, SKCarleton H. Gray, 100, entered into eternal rest at Greenfield of Fredericksburg on Friday, March 4, 2011. He will be truly missed by his family and all the lives that he touched.

He was born on Aug. 11, 1910, in Artas, S.D. His loving wife of 57 years, Zianna A. Gray, who passed on March 11, 1996, and five brothers preceded him in death.

Carl built his first radio receiver in 1923 from instructions in the Boy Scout Handbook and the Radio News Magazine. He obtained his amateur radio license in 1926 and his commercial license in 1930. During World War II, he served for nearly four years on active duty with the Army Signal Corps. He worked as an engineer at several Midwest broadcasting stations, one of which was where he met his wife, Zianna. After their marriage, he accepted a civil service appointment as a radio engineer in 1941 and was assigned to the Army Signal office in Omaha, Neb. In 1962 he transferred from Omaha to the Office, Chief of Engineers in Washington, D.C. He retired in 1973 as chief of engineers. In 1988, he received the Veteran Wireless Operators Association’s Deforest Audion Gold Medal Award that recognizes the achievements of men who have distinguished themselves within the electronic field. Silent Key W4ACM.

Carl was an elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and a member of Heritage Presbyterian Church in Alexandria. He was also a member of QCWA, VWOA and the ARRL. He was an avid fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Nebraska Cornhuskers. They have lost a true fan.

He leaves to cherish his memory, a son, Alan S. Gray and his partner, Natalie Balderson, of Richmond; a son, Richard M. Gray and his wife, Vickie, of Fredericksburg; a daughter, Linda L. Rayner of Charlottesville; grandchildren, Alan Stephen Gray Jr. and his partner, Dani Barker of Inwood, W.Va.; Kristin L. Rayner of Charlottesville; Kelly D. Gardner and her husband, David, of Italy; and Jennifer Brown of Fredericksburg; and two great-grandchildren, Alex Gray of Inwood and Thomas Gardner of Italy, as well as many other loving family and friends.

A service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, March 11, at Covenant Funeral Service, 4801 Jefferson Davis Highway, Fredericksburg, Va., 22408. Burial will follow at noon in Quantico National Cemetery. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service.

Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society or to a charity of one’s choice.

The family would like to thank the caregivers of Greenfield and Mary Washington Hospice for their special care over the last several months. We would also like to thank Chancellors Village, where he lived for 12 years.

Online guest book is at covenantfuneralservice.com.


A couple of days ago, I worked Bill, N5LU.  I had worked him a couple of years ago and noted in my logbook that his previous call was KB6ZL. I thought it quite a coincidence that his previous callsign was so close to mine.

This time, I got the rest of the story. As it turns out, Bill was living in Concord, CA at the time, and took the Advanced Class test at the San Francisco FCC office, where I’d taken the test a month or so earlier.

Now, if  you think that’s coincidental, listen to this. Prior to living in California, Bill lived here in Michigan—Milan, MI, to be exact, which is just down the road from Ann Arbor. His original callsign was WB8KVS, and he took the General Class test at the FCC office in Detroit.  Before I moved to California, I lived in the Detroit area, and my original callsign was WB8KTZ. I also took the test at the Detroit FCC office, again just a month or so before Bill did.

He beat me to the 1×2 calls, but I still think I’m hanging on to my 2×2 call.