My name is Brad, and I am an amateur radio operator, shortwave listener and broadcast radio enthusiast. I've always loved electronics, and was fascinated with shows like Super Car, Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and many other 1960s television shows featuring lights, knobs, switches, meters and other cool things. The first spanking I remember, around 1959, resulted from my having drawn knobs and switches on the living room drywall with a crayon.
Dad brought home from a local auction an old, original Hallicrafters S-38 around 1972. The old postwar receiver had a bad 60-cycle hum, but I clamped on the headphones and listened to HCJB (Quito, Equador) and RSA (Radio South Africa) every night. Both these stations have long disappeared from the air, but I still remember the lights of the tubes reflecting on the ceiling at night through the perforated case in a glorious constellation - long after I was supposed to be asleep.
A few months later, I transmitted for the first time on a Utica Town & Country Citizen's Band transceiver at a friends. Later, I mowed lawns all summer to get my first CB: a Metrotek Colt 23 transciever, and a Goldenrod vertical antenna. This was long before Citizen's Band became the depraved hellhole we now have. I wanted to be a ham, but I lived in a rural area, and couldn't find an "Elmer" (a typically older teacher) to enter the amateur radio hobby. Jobs, marriage and kids were in the cards first. In 1983, I finally got my first call as a Novice: KA9OWA. A few months later I was a General, and was issued the Extra call, NB9M in 1984.
My background is in consumer electronics, avionics and software development with several disciplines, including pharmaceutical, defense, retail, manufacturing and even death care. I am currently a senior software engineer for major contract firm. Other hobbies include writing, blogging, playing several musical instruments and raising chickens. I also, of course, love to code: every line of it within this site is mine.
If you are interested in radio, there are lots of resources for you now that were not available when I was a kid. If there is anything I can help you with in the radio hobby, you'll always find my email address at the top-left of this site.
In the meantime, I'll leave the Metrotek on - in case White Cloud breaks the squelch from the great beyond...
Below: My QSL card features the moon-based laboratory used by nefarious evildoers against Commando Cody in the classic Republic serial: Radar Men From the Moon from 1952. Cody, the "Sky Marshal of the Universe" was a square-jawed, two-fisted hero with a flying suit who - unlike most fictional heroes today - was not confused about his sexuality or constrained by moral ambiguity.
The Radio Amateur's Code
The Radio Amateur is
CONSIDERATE...He/[She] never knowingly operates in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.
LOYAL...He/[She] offers loyalty, encouragement and support to other amateurs, local clubs, the IARU Radio Society in his/[her] country, through which Amateur Radio in his/[her] country is represented nationally and internationally.
PROGRESSIVE...He/[She] keeps his/[her] station up to date. It is well-built and efficient. His/[Her] operating practice is above reproach.
FRIENDLY...He/[She] operates slowly and patiently when requested; offers friendly advice and counsel to beginners; kind assistance, cooperation and consideration for the interests of others. These are the marks of the amateur spirit.
BALANCED...Radio is a hobby, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school or community.
PATRIOTIC...His/[Her] station and skills are always ready for service to country and community.
- adapted from the original Amateur's Code, written by Paul M. Segal, W9EEA, in 1928
Below is a picture of my latest project. After doing the transceiver thing, with a CE20A, mated to a SX-115, then the next transceiver project, a 10A mated to any Drake R4 series receiver, I had an idea. Those transceiver projects have a lot of oscillators, and even the crystal oscillators can drift as they warm up, which requires re-zeroing the transmitter to the receiver from time to... READ MORE
This 1964 WRL catalog was addressed to Major General Butch Griswold – K0DWC
I was first licensed as a novice in 1958, and the WRL catalog was really dominant in those days, with the Globe King, Globe Champ, and all of the lesser models gracing its pages. I had a Globe Chief 90 and often dreamed of owning the bigger iron in those pages. I have since collected most of the WRL catalogs from 1954 to 1964, and the last one turned out to be an interestin... READ MORE
Pictures of radio suckerbait on the world's largest online auction!
Below are some screen shots of incredible prices demanded by some EBay vendors. Since posting an auction is free as long as the item is not sold, it costs nothing for the unscrupulous vendor to display their (unremarkable/filthy/nicotine-caked) wares as if they were priceless artifacts of distinction, having immense value. It is truly within this online marketplace where prod... READ MORE
From the Estate of AA5T
These excellent examples of the Swan Twins are from the estate of John Thuren, AA5T (SK) of Houston, Texas. John had checked in to the 20M Swan net with these very desirable "big Swans" until a few years ago. A big thanks to Eddie, NU5K, who handled John's estate and placed these on EBay. He packed them well, knowing they are indeed an important find. ... READ MORE
W9RAN started playing with RTL-SDR dongles about 6 years ago, and knew they were going to have a big impact on the radio hobby. But since these $15 receivers only tuned the VHF and UHF bands, he designed a wideband upconverter to make HF coverage possible, and described how it worked in an article in Jan. 2013 QST "Cheap and Easy SDR". The "RANVerter" as... READ MORE
Cave City, Kentucky, 3/3/2018
Barry, AC9NK and I attendended the 2018 Cave City hamfest, which was awesome this year. The facility was packed, with lots of vendors. We enjoyed the company of my friend Tom, N4LID for dinner the night before. Tom, who is blind, had not been able to get to the hamfest for many years. You will find more pictures at the Kentucky Phone Net site. A big thanks to Rod, N4ZIF, fo... READ MORE
For nearly five years, spanning 1978 - 1983, I worked as an Electronics Technician in the original Bearcat manufacturing and service facility in Cumberland, Indiana. Electra was one of the best places I've ever worked, and were among the many innovative consumer electronics companies which sprang up in and around Indianapolis. Al Lovell, a former employee of Regency (also in ... READ MORE
Glen E. Zook, K9STH
The tube-type Linear Master Oscillators (“LMO”) used in the Heathkit SB-Line equipment is a very stable and accurate means of controlling the frequency in the equipment. Unfortunately, as the units age, many LMOs develop a “warble” when tuning. This “warble” usually stops when the frequency control knob is not rotated. However, accurately “zero-beating&rdq... READ MORE