This is the official Tomas David Hood - NW7US biography on QRZ.com (updated: July 1, 2014)
I am currently in the Omaha, Nebraska area - Grid Square is EN11xh.
You will find me on 80 through 10 meters
I enjoy CW as well as digital modes such as JT65A, JT9, and Olivia
I PREFER eQSL or LotW
If you wish to exchange a card, please send a Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope (SASE) so that I can easily send a return card to you. I am slow, but I catch up and do send a card, eventually, someday. The SASE speeds it up.
I'm Tomas David Hood. I am an amateur radio operator with the callsign of NW7US. I enjoy having two-way communications by way of shortwave radio signals, in the amateur radio hobby. The shortwave frequencies are those in the High Frequency (HF) radio spectrum. Amateur radio in the United States of America enjoys the allocation of many frequencies in a number of 'bands' in the Mediumwave, HF, VHF, UHF, and higher radio spectrum.
NW7US is the Amateur Radio call-sign issued by the Federal Communications Commission to my Ham Radio Station, conferring the right to operate this equipment under certain privileges. This call-sign is assigned to me as both an identification of my Amateur Radio station, as well as a reference to those privileges I have been granted after having passed both a series of written examinations which cover rules, procedures, technical theory, and related knowledge, and a series of Morse code proficiency tests. (Note: Morse code proficiency is no longer required as an element of the FCC test; you no longer need to learn and demonstrate knowledge of Morse code in order to obtain an FCC Amateur Radio license. However, Morse code is becoming very popular among Amateur Radio, again. More on that, below).
I was born back in 1965 (in Virginia) and I'm 46. I was first licenced in 1990, though I have been a real high-frequency fan since the early 1970s when I discovered Shortwave Radio. I loved hearing the foriegn stations. Using HF is like travelling without leaving home. I love meeting new folks.
I am also a hobby musician. I love to write music and songs, and play guitar. Please check out my music here: Tomas David Hood - Singer/Songwriter.
In general, my station runs 100 watts out of an Icom IC-7000. I am using the KK7UQ home-built digital interface with the Ham Radio Delux + DRM software. My Morse code key is one of two: a WWII Navey Signaling Key (originally used by the Navy for ship-to-ship signal lamps), or a modified Vibroplex key that is now a 'paddle' key (moves side-to-side, requiring an electronic keyer). My antenna is a Hustler mobile vertical antenna so my situation is marginal. I operate mostly on 20 meters digital, often on JT65A weak-signal digital mode for HF using JT65-HF software, or Olivia digital modes.
I have some very specific areas of interest in my love of radio and space weather.
My all-purpose amateur radio website is HFRadio.org, while my main personal NW7US.us callsign website is here. My YouTube Channel is here, so please visit and subscribe to the channel where I post a lot of amazing solar flare and other space weather videos. On Facebook, my Amateur Page is here, while my personal page is here. My Space Weather Facebook page is here. I am also on Twitter. I am @NW7US and my space weather / propagation is @hfradiospacewx - please add those if you are interested in following my amateur radio and space weather tweets. Thank you for your interest.
These are some of the websites I've created regarding specific interests that I have: [ Morse Code and CW (carrier-wave mode) | Space Weather, Solar Cycle, Radio Propagation | Radio Circuit & Propagation Analysis w/ACE-HF | Shortwave Radio (SWL) |- Digital (non-voice) radio modes | AM (Amplitude Modulation) Amateur Radio Resources | Radio and Space Weather Forums ]
I am a member of ...
Above: NW7US Portable Operation inside the 'Hood' travel trailer.
A bit more about me:
+ I am the Propagation Editor for "CQ Communications Magazine", (and of the late, "CQ VHF Magazine", and "Popular Communications Magazine"). Also, I write about propagation and other radio-related topics in "The Spectrum Monitor" magazine.
+ I am the owner, system administrator, and content provider of http://hfradio.org/
+ I am a contributor to various amateur radio books, blogs, news articles, Wikipedia, and so on.
+ I am most often found on the High Frequency Amateur Bands in the CW or Digital Modes sub-bands (look for me on 20 mainly).
+ The NW7US Ham Shack is located in Grid Square EN11xh / ITU Region 7 / CQ Zone 4 = see the map at http://hfradio.org/
Some pictures, for your viewing pleasure:
Here's a more in-depth look at who I am, and about my hobby activities in Amateur Radio:
I am a father and husband, a business owner, a musician and song writer, the contributing editor to several magazines, and an Amateur Radio Operator.
I am more than a passive hobbyist, in that I hope to inspire others to pursue hobbies that cause personal growth as well as contribute to public benefit. Amateur Radio is one such hobby, as is musical performance and song writing.
One of the core passions driving my activities in amateur radio and in music (song writing as well as performance) is the simple, fundamental desire to communicate with people. I'm like the fictional character in Roger Waters' "Radio Chaos," turning the dials on the shortwave radio, wanting to "talk to the people". Because I care about those around me, far and near, I want to connect. Music is a language between people from diverse spaces.
Amateur Radio is the same sort of language, if you will. When I meet someone on the air, whether it is by PSK31, CW, or voice, we lower some of our barriers and we extend friendship. Sometimes, this can have a great impact on a life.
My desire is to enable others to communicate, too. Because of this, I write the propagation columns in Popular Communications, CQ Magazine, CQ VHF, and you will also see articles from me in other magazines, such as Monitoring Times. I write and maintain an amateur radio web site, the "NW7US Communications Web Resource - HFRadio.org" web site. I've been involved in starting school radio clubs, volunteering during examinations, teaching and mentoring.
ABOUT MY RADIO INTERESTS
My radio interest started when I was a young boy. Around the age of nine, I discovered Shortwave Radio Listening ( see my shortwave page at http://swl.hfradio.org ). I had discovered my parents' Sony portable radio that had four bands; Shortwave, Longwave, FM, and AM. (I've recently obtained a used replacement for this long-lost radio from my childhood! I found it at a Ham Fest. What joy!)
Amazing sounds and exotic stations struck my fancy as I tuned around on the dial. Soon, I found myself listening to the time signals on WWV, news broadcasts from the BBC, and cultural shows from Radio South Africa, Radio Canada International, HCJB, and Radio Australia. These were just a few of the International Shortwave Broadcast stations that captured my imagination. I felt that I was traveling the world, without leaving my backyard.
I was particularly fascinated by the hourly WWV propagation bulletin (which will no longer be broadcast as of 2011). I sat listening with rapt attention and great imagination, while thinking of Skylab and space, and radio waves. This was my first exposure to the concept of sunspots, space weather, and the variability of radio wave propagation on shortwave radio.
I began to look for books on electronics and radio (tubes, electricity, and that sort of thing). My folks bought electronic kits for me to build (remember back to when Radio Shack still sold electronic kits and was supportive to the home-builder of electronics?). I built a simple AM transmitter kit, and a VHF receiver kit that enabled me to hear Air Traffic from the local airport. Listening to Northwest Orient pilots talking with the control tower, or hearing South Africa on that Sony portable radio, catapulted me into a world of ideas and possibilities.
As I entered Junior High School, I acquired a military surplus shortwave receiver. Late at night when I was supposed to be sleeping, my bedroom would be lit with the glow of warm orange light from the tubes in the heart of the radio. I heard signals from all over the world, some of them seemed to flow into my room with ease from the dipole antenna that I hid around the eaves of the house. Even AM Broadcast-band DXing was exciting. I remember hearing stations from South America, such as a station from Peru.
While I served in the United States Army, stationed in Europe, I would stay tuned to the world by using any receiver I could find. An example of my obsession would be from times when I was deployed to tactical communications sites "in the field." When I was not on duty, and not asleep, I would sneak into backup communications shelters (tactical units sitting on a truck, kind of like those campers on the back of a pickup truck), and fire up military communications gear so I could listen to my news from the BBC, or a show from Trans World Radio in Monte Carlo.
My service to the country was as an Army communicator, in the signal corps. I worked in HF, as well as Troposcatter, Microwave, and satellite communications. I also worked a great deal with computers.
But it was not until after my tour with the Military that I finally became a licensed Radio Amateur. After leaving the Army, I met a group of Amateur Radio operators who encouraged me to get my license. They gave me the Novice test, one day, in a very crowded cafeteria at work (The Travelers, in Hartford, Connecticut, where I worked as a programmer/analyst). I was not only required to receive the Morse code, but also to send a text that they provided out of a technical manual.
I passed the test! I lost no time in setting up my station (a random wire of about 200 feet along with an old Kenwood transceiver and an old Navy Key), and waited for my official "Ham Ticket" from the FCC to arrive in the mail, so I could transmit. I would listen, practicing my ability to receive CW. Night after night, I would sit and try to head-copy CW. (Head copy means to decode the CW in your head, rather than write it down).
One day, when I arrived home after work, I opened the mail box and found the envelope from the FCC! The license finally arrived. Now I could not only listen, but, could communicate all over the world. Sure, as a Novice, I was only allowed to communicate in CW, but I was more than proud to do just that! I felt all of the history and was filled with pride that I could use CW, too.
The problem, however, was that I am human. During my first CW QSO, I forgot my name, English, and Morse code. I was sweating! But, slowly, I found my mind again, and began having a great QSO.
I did a lot of Morse code operation during the first months, and continued using CW but also discovered the world on 10 meters. What a band! The propagation was worldwide during the last part of a great solar cycle. The excitement of talking with people from so many locations was never higher than during those first 12 months. Now, I could really travel the world without leaving home. To perhaps learn just a little bit more about cultures and places outside of my little world.
I upgraded to Amateur Extra about seven or so years after my first license. I desired to work DX, and changed my call to NW7US.
In the past, I was in US Army MARS (Military Affiliate Radio System), and served as the US Army MARS State MARS Director (SMD) for Washington State. I've been the Emergency Operations Officer, too. Time does not allow me to do this, at this time.
I am the father of four children. Three of them are now licensed. My oldest son, Atreju, is KD7TZQ. Ashley, my daughter, is KD7QKT. KD7NHF is Nathon, my middle son. Robby is not yet licensed, though has a desire to get his own. And, my wife is licensed as KD7TZR. This is a great hobby for the whole family to be involved in.
CURRENT HAM RADIO ACTIVITY
I enjoy JT65A, Olivia, and other digital modes. These all have their benefits and challenges. You will also hear me trying to improve my Morse Code skills on the CW subbands. I am a member of the Straight Key Century Club.
I am quite interested in space weather and radio propagation. I am trying to produce a weekly podcast about space weather and radio propagation, but I am not always able to produce those each week. Life gets in the way. I am currently the writer of the monthly Propagation columns of "CQ Magazine" and "Popular Communications" magazine. I also write the quarterly propagation columns in "CQ VHF" magazine. You may also find articles by me in "Monitoring Times" and other publications, from time-to-time.
My current radio is an Icom IC-7000.
My current antenna is an off-center-fed (OCF) dipole antenna, one end starting at about 10 feet, the other end up in a tree at about 30 feet. I can operate on 80 through 10, and 6 and 2 meters + 440 MHz.
73 - NW7US