Then, and, now. I've loved shortwave radio since the early 1970s.
When I was about nine years old, I got a hold of my parent's Sony Multiband Portable radio. I cannot remember which model. But it had four bands, FM, AM, LW, SW. I soon discovered that the SW selection held very strange and somewhat exotic sounds and stations.
As you might have guessed, SW stands for Shortwave (LW is for Longwave those frequencies below 530 KHz, AM is for the Amplitude Modulation mode, which is what is used in the domestic broadcast band (between 530 KHz and 1750 Khz or so), and FM (frequency modulation), the popular band of radio spectrum that everyone seems to enjoy, with music, talk, and other formats).
Shortwave describes the size of the radio wave used to transmit the signal that the radio can tune and listen in on.
As I began to discover not only odd, interesting noises and pops, whistles, and alien-like sounds, but also a great variety of radio stations from all parts of the world, I became deeply interested in the technical aspects of what made this little radio achieve such great magic. It seemed very magical that the BBC (England), RSA (Radio South Africa), CBC (Radio Canada International), Radio Australia, and so many more exotic stations, could be heard by me in the middle of Montana's Rocky Mountains. Hearing these signals lured me into listening and learning more about Shortwave Listening to the point that I was hooked for life.
I tried to get books about radio, electronics, and related information. Hard to come by for a nine-year-old. But I did get some support from my parents and friends, school, and library. I studied that until I knew it forward and backward. Tube theory, transistors (which were still a newer concept to the general consumer market, in the early 1970's), resistors, capacitors, and all the other doo-hickies and thing-a-ma-bobs that made all this magic of radio come into being.
How about you? Then, and, now?
I am a member of a number of clubs, groups, organizations. For instance, I am in SKCC member 4758s, FISTS member 7055, ARRL, Long Island CW Club, MDXC (Mediterranian DX Club), (SWODXA) Southwest Ohio DX Association, True Blue DXers Club member 1607, and others:
In some of my club activities, I have received certificates and awards. Below, you can see some of my collection. Some of these are pretty!
Click on an image to view in detail (brings up the browser)
Click: this sentence to listen to
the episode of QSO Today in which Eric interviews me about my journey through the radio hobby.
You can send an SASE with your QSL card to me via postal service, and I will send a paper QSL back:
Tomas Hood / ARS NW7US
PO Box 110
Fayetteville, Ohio 45118
Or, my QSL is OK via eQSL, LotW, QRZ.com, or via the bureau (though, that is VERY slow).
PAPER QSL UPDATE: Now that I have finally moved into a house, and have a long-term address, I have obtained QSL cards. I will attempt to catch up with all of the QSL cards sent to me in the past... but the going will be slow. Do know that I plan on QSL returns to everyone. Just allow me a lot of time to catch up, please. Thank you.
My Current Operations Desk
From here, I operate my amateur (ham) radio station, on Mediumwave
Shortwave (shortwave is also known as HF, for, High Frequencies), and on VHF and above.
One of the most useful (and, to me, amazing) features of this Icom IC-7610, is the IP+ function, which, when turned on, improves the Intermodulation Distortion (IMD) quality by optimizing the direct sampling system performance. This function optimizes the Analog/Digital Converter (ADC) against distortion when you receive a strong input signal. It also improves the Third-order Intercept Point (IP3) while minimizing the reduction of the receiver sensitivity.
In short: I was listening to an s-0 weak signal of a DX station, when right adjacent to the frequency came an s-7 signal, wiping out my ability to copy that weak signal. I turned on the IP+ and the distortion of the adjacent signal disappeared, and once again, I heard the weak signal IN THE CLEAR! WOW!
My current shortwave (HF; High Frequency) antenna, used for receiving as well as transmitting, is an off-center-fed dipole antenna. The feed point is up at 50 feet, with one leg running Westward, and the other running Eastward. In the following images, you can see the actual orientation of the antenna.
Raw drawing of the off-center-fed dipole:
In context, here is the raw drawing of the off-center-fed dipole, the azimuth of the two legs of the dipole, a rough plot superimposed on the satellite image of my home, and footprint on the 30-Meter Band (as an example of its performance):
I was able to get an off-center-fed sloping dipole antenna erected this on 12 March 2021 with the help of my Son, KF7IBY, Robert. We were able to get the feed point up to the 50-foot level.
The legs of the antenna drape down to about 16 feet at their ends. One leg is about 107 feet in length, while the other is about 95 feet in length. The azimuth of the dipole is approximately 284 degrees Westward, and 104 degrees Eastward.
The feedline is 450-ohm ladder line that runs from the feedpoint, down about 35 feet, then drapes over to another tree in which is a 4:1 current balun. Total run of 450-ohm ladder line is about 75 feet, give or take a few. The 4:1 current balun then connected to a 100-foot LMR 50-ohm coax that runs to the radio shack (room), terminating to an Icom IC-7610.
The white 50-ohm LMR coax connects to the 4:1 current balun, the other end terminates in a grounding copper block, and then another short run of coax goes into the 2nd-floor radio room. From the balun to the antenna, is about 82 feet of 450-ohm ladder line feed line.
In the following pictures, you can see the 450-ohm ladder line, up to the feed point (which is up at 50 feet) to which the total length of about 210 to 220 feet of wire is split a bit off center, fed directly by the ladder line:
Click on an image to view in detail (brings up the browser)
About me, etc.
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I tend toward pursuing Morse code--by way of the tried-and-true CW (continuous-wave radio signal) keying either by a straight key (the typical up-and-down lever style of Morse code instruments), or a single-lever side-to-side paddle key that depends upon electronics to create the dits and dahs--the Icom IC-7610 has such a keyer feature, so I just plug in the key that you see, below, and the radio can be set to operate Morse code CW, keying dits when I move the lever to the right, and dahs when I push to paddle to the left. The keyer spaces everything out, I just have to control the sequence.
Morse code activity as reported by the Reverse Beacon Network.Go to the Reverse Beacon Network
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.
It seems that I have always been interested in radio communications. In the early 1970s, I discovered the world of shortwave radio, when I explored a radio which was owned by my parents. This Sony four-band portable radio had a shortwave band. Tuning it, I discovered a number of International Shortwave Radio Broadcast stations, like Radio Australia, the BBC, Radio South Africa, Radio Canada International, and so many others. I also discovered the time station, WWV, on which I heard the hourly solar and geophysical report, talking about sunspots and other interesting indexes. This launched my love of both radio communications, and radio propagation along with the Sun-Earth connection.
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. This is for a variety of reasons, of course: those who are into preparing for the worst-case ('preppers') are learning Morse code because they know it is an effective means of communication when the main methods may no longer be available; DXers know that you can work a greater area of the world given all of the same parameters (antenna, transmitter power, propagation conditions); others simply love the idea of Morse code as a language.
I was born back in 1965 (in Virginia) and I'm 47. I was first licensed in 1990, though I have been a real high-frequency fan since the early 1970s when I discovered Shortwave Radio. I loved hearing the foreign stations. Using HF is like traveling without leaving home. I love meeting new folks.
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 Navy 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 | Shortwave Radio (SWL) |- Digital (non-voice) radio modes | AM (Amplitude Modulation) Amateur Radio Resources ]
I am a member of ...
-> NAQCC #1774
+ I am the Propagation Editor for "CQ Communications Magazine", "The Spectrum Monitor Magazine", and previously before their demise: "CQ VHF Magazine", and "Popular Communications Magazine". I also wrote about propagation and other radio-related topics in "Monitoring Times", before its demise.
+ 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 EN10pu / ITU Region 7 / CQ Zone 4
My Equipment: Main shortwave transceiver is the Icom 7610, with an LDG AT-600ProII Autotuner, connected to a 220-foot off-center-fed dipole with a feedpoint up at 50 feet. The dipole is an inverted V, with each side sloping down from the 50-foot level, to about 16 feet at the ends. The backup rig is a repaired Icom IC-7000, connected to an LDG AT-100ProII Autotuner that is used for 10- and 50-meters, and VHF, UHF, all with a discone antenna.
Copyright © 1998-2021 · All Rights Reserved · Tomas Hood, NW7US