This site has been extensively updated over the past few months.
There is still some work to be done, but overall I think (hope!) it is an improvement over the previous version.
THIS SITE HAS DEDICATED SECTIONS ON DIGITAL MODES, WITH SCREEN-SHOTS AND SOUND FILES TO AID IDENTIFICATION; DX- wHAT IT IS AND HOW TO WORK MORE OF IT; SHORTWAVE BROADCASTING AND DRM; CLASSIC RADIO GEAR, WITH PICTURES & BRIEF TEXT OF THE RADIOS & OTHER EQUIPMENT THAT I HAVE OWNED OR USED DURING MY TIME ON THE AIR; DETAILED BEACONS PAGE (MAINLY ABOUT NDB & NCDXF BEACONS); CONTESTS PAGE WITH DIARY AND MORE; HF & VHF DX; SATELLITES AND SOME OF THE ARTICLES I HAVE WRITTEN.
DURING THE SECOND HALF OF 2020, I WILL BE CONTINUING THE SITE OVERHAUL WITH UPDATES TO THE DIGITAL MODES PAGE, TO INCLUDE THE NEWER MODES THAT HAVE TAKEN OFF IN 2017/18/19 SUCH AS FT8 & FT4. ALSO EXPANDED ARE THE VHF AND HF DX PAGESLOG STATS HAVE BEEN UPDATED AND A NEW TABLE ADDED, WITH A BREAKDOWN BY YEAR AND OVERALL, WITH THE MAIN MODES (PHONE, CW AND DIGITAL AND PERCENT USAGE).
FOR THE TIME BEING, AT LEAST, I HAVE DELETED A FEW PAGES THAT REQUIRE A COMPLETE REWRITE AS I WANTED TO GET THE NEW SITE UPLOADED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. I HAVE CHANGED WEB HOSTS RECENTLY AS MY OLD ONE WAS BEGINNING TO GET TOO EXPENSIVE FOR WHAT i NEEDED. tHERE SHOULD BE NO DIFFERENCE THE WEBSITE, IT MAY EVEN PERFORM SLIGHTLY BETTER.
Please excuse any broken links (some of the audio links to WAV and OGG format files are not ready yet, but the MP3 format ones have been done. If the format is underlined and in a different colour to the main text, such as this example: mp3, it has a valid file link. I am trying to catch them but during the big site update, I might have missed some!
Hi, I'm Sean and this is my website, which is dedicated to all things radio.
I have had fantastic feedback regarding my site and it is really appreciated. I have been given a few ideas regarding content, etc., some of which I am putting in place.
Below is a little bit about me and my story, in radio:
I have been into radio since I was about 7 years old, and a transmitting radio ham since the age of 14 (1982). At the time I was the youngest person to pass the Radio Amateurs Examination (RAE), which was, at the time, administered by the City & Guilds of London Institute (CGLI). I believe the exam reference was 765 (pt I & II). I made it into one of the main Kent newspapers for this achievement (I was also congratulated (read: embarrassed) in front of the whole school during a morning assembly. My glory only lasted a little while, as it was discovered that someone who was just a few weeks younger than me passed the RAE in the May of ‘82. The RAE wasn’t easy and I may well have just scraped through. I had heard it said that the RAE was about the same difficulty level as an ‘A’ level. You certainly needed to know formulae, and how to manipulate it from its ‘normal’ presentation. The tricky part, even though the exam was multiple choice, was that out of 4 possible answers there were usually the following kinds of answer: 1) completely wrong, and very obviously wrong if you knew your subject even a little; 2) The correct answer; 3) an answer that would look correct if you used a formula in an incorrect way, or used the wrong formula. This was the nasty trip hazard we had been warned about! Lastly, there was 4) An answer that was similar to the correct answer and could trip you up if you didn’t read the question very carefully.
Anyway, I passed the RAE and, after what seemed like forever (nearly 7 months after passing the exam!), my callsign came in the post. G6IUT - Golf Six India Uniform Tango, I repeated and repeated in my head and out loud, just to get used to saying it. Had my callsign arrived when it was supposed to I would have been a G6 G-- or maybe a G6 H--. I may even have scraped into the G6F-- series, but I think they may have already been used up by the May ‘81 RAE passers.
A turbulent year followed as family life was shaken upside down, right in the middle of revising for the multitude of C.S.E. and ‘O’ level exams I was taking, I sat the GPO (as it was then) 12wpm Morse code test. I passed that quite easily, thanks to some first rate training from a host of people! A few weeks later my shiny, new, class A licence arrived. I was over joyed as I now had complete freedom to use whichever band I felt like. OK, so I didn’t have equipment to transmit on HF, but that was a small problem as I wanted to get on 2m and give my shiny, new, G4 a good bash.
I was determined to get a G4, which I think was all the motivation I needed to learn Morse, and be comfortable with it. I’m not sure of how many QSO’s I have made using CW but it is certainly in the tens of thousands! I have used SSB, PARTICULARLY AT THE BEGINNING OF MY HF cAREER, WHILST STILL GAINING CONFIDENCE WITH THE KEY. During my time I have worked, or heard, 336 of the 340 (or so) countries / entities in the world. I have well over 200 DXCC entities confirmed (all worked with around 30 Watts or less).
My antennas have always been simple (often indoors), and I prefer to use low power levels to make my contacts. I have worked over 160 countries using just 3 watts. I concentrate on listening these days, but l do get on the air in digital modes (mainly FT8) and CW from time to time. I am a Morse Code Examiner (well OK, WAS an examiner, until the requirement for Morse was dropped) and most of my loggings were on CW, however I am now very interested in the vast array of digital modes now available!
Now as to which is my favourite band? The answer is: Any band that has a signal on it! - Although I have a definite liking for 2m, which is my new favourite and I am exploring some of what can be done on this band.
2013 saw my ‘G4’ callsign turn 30 years old - I can still remember taking the Morse Code test at the GPO station at North Foreland Radio. I believe I was one of the last to be tested at that station. All Morse testing was turned over to the RSGB. I did, at one point, apply to be the RSGB Chief Morse Examiner, when the existing one had to step down. I was asked to apply by a number of people, however I had not had the relevant professional experience (I would have needed to be a ship’s R.O. (Radio Officer / Operator) or a land based RO with professional experience, or similar). Still it was nice to be considered, and I am proud of the fact that I was nominated to apply for the post in the first place. At least it wasn’t my CW that let me down - that was not a problem as I had been training hard and was receiving at over 40 wpm at the time. It has always been the case that I can receive CW faster than I can send :) I have to admit my CW receiving speed has fallen off a bit, although I can still get callsigns and serial numbers sent in contests at over 40wpm. For general receiving, I prefer to keep the speed in the mid 20’s (due to lack of practice - and, probably, getting older).
In 2017, I celebrated reaching the milestone 50 years of age and also notched up about 43 years as an SWL (Short Wave Listener) - with 36 of those as a licensed ham, which is making me feel really old :)
Despite having been into radio most of my life, I am still as enthusiastic about my hobby as ever, in fact I would say I am getting even more enthusiastic as each year passes!
In the course of 43 years, I have used a lot of different radio equipment. To see some of the receivers and transceivers I have used during that time, have a look at the ‘Classic Gear’ page.