I am the current contributing editor of the space weather and radio propagation column in the following publications:
+ CQ Amateur Radio Magazine.
(also: CQ Amateur Radio Magazine).
+ The Spectrum Monitor.
[ Visit NW7US Home Page | Visit my SunspotWatch.com ]
I am currently in the Perry Township, Ohio area - Grid Square is EM89ad.
You will find me on the HF (high-frequency) amateur radio bands from 160 meters through 10 meters, either using CW, or Olivia. Once and a while I may do voice or other data modes.
I've been licensed since 1990 - but SWLing since 1972.
Click this sentence to listen to the episode of QSO Today in which Eric interviews me about my journey through the radio hobby.
PAPER QSL UPDATE: Now that I have finally moved into a house, and have a long-term address, I have obtained QSL cards. I am attempting 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.
Here is the final design, by Jeff, K1NSS:
Please subscribe to my YouTube channel... you'll get updates!
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.
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 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 | 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 ]
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 songwriter, 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 songwriting.
One of the core passions driving my activities in amateur radio and in music (songwriting 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 Olivia, JT65A, PSK31, CW, or voice, we lower some of our barriers and we extend friendship. Sometimes, this can have a great impact on a person.
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 websiteb 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 RadioShack 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.
My wife is licensed as KD7TZR. My son, Robert, is KF7IBY. Another son, Nathon, is KD7NHF. This is a great hobby in which the whole family can be involved.
CURRENT HAM RADIO ACTIVITY
I am now pursuing the art of low-powered communications. I enjoy JT65A (see my JT65-HF/JT65A Page with the two-part CQ Magazine article that I co-wrote with David), JT9, and now, QRP (low-powered) communication by using kits that I am building. This is an exciting new venture for me. I am enjoying building and operating transceivers like the Small Wonders Lab's 40-meter rig (the SW40).. I do enjoy other digital modes, like Olivia. 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. CW is useful in QRP operation.
As I shared earlier, I am quite interested in space weather and radio propagation. I am hoping 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.
In addition to the JT* digital modes, I am very active and am an advocate for the Olivia MFSK digital (conversational) mode on HF. Check out our website at http://OliviaDigitalMode.net - and see that we Olivia users are active in a group found on Facebook: https://www.Facebook.com/
My current radio is an Icom IC-7000, though I am building the SW40.
My current antenna is either:
+ a Hustler mobile vertical antenna, mounted on a tripode or perhaps on my truck
+ or a 40-meter dipole up about 10 to 12 feet, by the house, sloping up to about the 40-foot level. I plan on making either a random-wire with an auto-tuner, or, a loop using the auto-tuner (the tuner will be at the antenna, not at the radio).
I can operate on 80, 40, 30, 20, 15 and 10 meters. On the Hustler system (while portable) I can work 80 through 10 meters. Mostly, I am on 20 meters.
73 - NW7US