Welcome to the Amateur Radio page of Jerry Perlman
Located in South Bryan County, Georgia on Cape Hardwicke - Grid EM91(jv) right on the bank of the Ogeechee River near Richmond Hill, just south of Savannah, Georgia USA
Sorry The W4SGA-R Echolink Node most recently found on the 146.97 repeater in Savannah, Georgia is currently off the air. Hope to be back soon!
Thank you for visiting my website. Here you'll find a collection of random ramblings presented in a blog-like format and links to some great stuff for HAMS.
I hope you find it interesting enough to come back and visit again from time to time. I'm trying my best to add new stuff more often. 73 and hope to catch you on the bands. Contact information is at the end of this page.
QSL and Contact Information - Jerry Perlman - W4SGA 205 Warnell Drive Richmond Hill, GA 31324
I reciprocate all QSL cards sent to me. There is no need to include a SASE with your cards sent to me. I just love getting them and I am more than happy to pay the return postage anywhere in the world.
Because bots seem to find my e-mail address and SPAM the hell out of me I will give it to you here but you'll have to decode it as only a thinking human can do (so far) - it is - my call at my last name dot net. Or you can look me up on QRZ.com and get it there too.
Live Davis Vantage Pro weather instruments monitoring conditions on the Ogeechee River @ Cape Hardwicke available on the internet through WeatherUnderground.com.
My new Davis weather station consists of a wireless solar powered Vantage Pro2 ISS on my dock at an elevation of about 15 feet above sea level. It is over the water about 15 feet from the river bank. The console is connected to a computer using the data logger and the computer is running Weatherlink software. I owned several other brands of "toy" weather instruments before assembling this system because I got tired of looking out seeing the wind blowing and having no readings. Then the wind would die down and the anemometer would read 15 MPH !! It is because almost all the other systems update data at intervals of up to 90 seconds. The Davis is near real time. Davis is the real deal. If you are looking for serious weather instruments at affordable prices don't look any where else. The company support is great and ebay is full of the stuff.
About Me !!
My initial interest in radio dates back to about 1962. My dad bought us a Hallicrafters S53-A receiver and strung a wire antenna up between some trees. I listened to radio stations from around the country and the world and eventually covered a couple of walls in my room with QSL cards from shortwave broadcast stations from all over the world. I also listened to the HAM bands some. A short time later on we got a radio that would receive some of the VHF band and a few other bands. I listened to the police, taxis some business 2-way radios and some old radio telephones. Of course there were also HAM's back then on some of the frequencies I could receive. I listened to them too.
Some time around 1965 or so my Dad introduced me to a friend of his that was a HAM, an old guy that was a pharmacist that lived across the street from my Grandmother on 52nd street in Savannah. Every time I went to my Grandparents house I headed over to Henry's house and spent time with him listening to him talk around the world. I learned radio and basic electronic theory from him.
But when it came to learning the code I just couldn't do it. As hard as I tried I just didn't get it. I was going to Hebrew school at the time learning Bar-Mitzvah and having to learn to read and speak Hebrew. Learning 2 "languages" was just too much for my young brain to absorb at the time.
I became a listener, an SWL enthusiast, and was satisfied with that as a kid until I
discovered girls, photography, rock and roll music and then later on broadcasting.
Somewhere along the way in the mid-1960's my dad and I played
around with CB a bit. CB was a lot different then.
Somewhere along the way in the mid-1960's my dad and I played around with CB a bit. CB was a lot different then.
I became a Broadcaster in 1975 when I got my first radio job. I became as interested in broadcast engineering as I was in playing rock & roll music on the radio. A lot of the engineers at the radio stations I worked for and later on at WTOC-TV/AM/FM were all HAM's. By then 2 meters was well established and all my HAM pals were building Heathkit 2 meter radios.
Crystal scanners were around and I bought one of them. When synthesized scanners came around I bought a couple of them, a couple for the house and one for the car. Along with listening to the Cops I always had the HAM repeaters in there too.
By this time in my life I had fully adopted the attitude that as soon as the FCC dropped that damn Morse code requirement I was going to get my license.
When the FCC dropped the code requirement for the Technician's ticket in 1991 I knew it was time to get into the hobby.
I earned my no code tech ticket under the new rules
at the first
testing session given on the first weekend after the rule change. My buddy Lyndy Brannen
(now ND4XE - Check out his
website) and I went to the Charleston, SC Hamfest in
the winter of 1991 and took and
passed the test. My first call
I was very active for about 5 years on VHF and UHF
from my QTH on Tybee Island, Georgia.
It was an ideal location for working stations up and down the
eastern seaboard. It was a tall house 300 feet from the beach
and I had some really nice antennas up. I was quite active on all the bands from
50Mc through 70cm.
It was a tall house 300 feet from the beach and I had some really nice antennas up. I was quite active on all the bands from 50Mc through 70cm.
When the Internet
and modern computers came along in the mid 1990ís, computers starting to really become the tools of choice in my
business, television broadcasting, and my attention was diverted from HAM radio
to computers. I also got
married and moved
from my original QTH on Tybee to another place on Tybee that I
couldn't put any antennas up at.
In 2002 my wife and I moved from Tybee to the house we are in now near Richmond Hill in Bryan County Georgia.
I was off the air until October of 2006.
Thatís when my friend Mark Eversoll (KQ4WT) gave me some of his old
radio gear. I pulled out some of what I had left of my old
station, set it up and got back on the air on the 146.970
repeater in Savannah, my old stomping grounds. I connected with some
of my old friends
and made a lot of new ones.
I connected with some of my old friends and made a lot of new ones.
And that started it all over again. The bug had bit me again. I became active once again on all the bands I had privileges on as a Technician.
Soon after becoming active again my buddy Lyndy told me about the vanity call program that had come about while I was inactive, so I checked that out.
While I was exploring the database of available calls I discovered that W4SGA was available. Everyone that is about my age or older that grew up around Savannah Georgia in the 60's - early 80's knew this radio station the "Rocking 140 WSGA". It was a 1000 watt day/250 watt night AM station on 1400 that was the local rocker and EVERYONE listened to it.
It was also the first radio station were I was exposed to the world of broadcasting and my friends there got me into the industry helping me get my first job.
So as a tribute to all the guys that were "Goodtimers" on WSGA 1400 AM in Savannah, I honor them by keeping their call sign and memory alive and on the air. And I sure love saying it.
OK, so I had the bug again.
And I now had the ideal spot for transmitting here at my new
house on the Ogeechee River in South Bryan County, EM91, near Richmond
Hill, Georgia. I have ample
real estate for just about any kind of antenna I might want to put up and a large
area for a radio shack in my shop area downstairs.
In fact, for me a big deciding factor in buying this house was the
downstairs, which was a totally unfinished but partially framed in area with a 2
bay garage with overhead doors and a full bathroom. The perfect
future radio shack.
In fact, for me a big deciding factor in buying this house was the downstairs, which was a totally unfinished but partially framed in area with a 2 bay garage with overhead doors and a full bathroom. The perfect future radio shack.
This is my QTH on the Ogeechee River in Bryan County Georgia. The wooded area on the right side of the house in this picture is where all my HF antennas are discreetly located. Most of the bottom floor of the house is my radio station. Located in the wooded area .
I knew I had to get on HF. I had a look at the test and decided with a little studying I would have the book part down, but there was still the damn code. Lyndy had just learned it and upgraded himself so he gave me the code practice course and on my way to work every day I worked on learning the code. It was still tough. I had a block I couldn't get around. And by now I was a true code requirement hater.
I was very frustrated and questioned why have this antiquated code as part of the test in this age of modern software driven radios, digital modes and computers. It was really just an artificial filter, in my opinion, to keep people out of the hobby by a bunch of guys that had to learn it to get their ticket and if they had to learn it everyone would have to learn it. Under that sort of logic where was the test on programming a digital radio without an instruction book.
But I could see the handwriting on the wall. The code was no longer a requirement internationally to get on the HF bands and many countries, including Canada had dropped it as a requirement for licensing.
Just about that time the FCC made the best decision regarding HAM radio it had made since dropping the code requirement for the Technician class license in 1991. It was dropping that damn code requirement for all licenses and making just 3 license classes.
In my opinion this was the smartest move the FCC could have made to advance the hobby and remove a roadblock for many that had been in place way too long. Removing the code requirement has brought some of the best and brightest new operators to the hobby in numbers we have not seen since the 1950's.
So like I did in 1991 I studied and took the test at the first testing session I could find, this time in Brunswick Georgia in December 2006. I had to wait until the new rules went into effect in January 2007 to get my ticket stamped and officially become a General class operator.
During the wait before I could get on the air I bought an HF radio and a tuner, put up a wire antenna, downloaded HRD into my Hamshack computer and waited for the day. It came pretty quickly. My first contact was with W1AW on February 25th on 20 meters. 5/9 report. I was thrilled.
Since then HAM radio has become my number one hobby and I enjoy every moment I am able to indulge in it. I'm on my way to building a world class HAM shack over the next 20 years or so, I hope. It's grown a lot. I've made a good start.
I can operate on the HF bands 80-10 meters, only 2 meter and 70cm FM right now. I've made about a dozen 6 meter contact and then only loading up my 102 footer. My primary modes of operation are SSB and a little QRP AM contacts on 80 meters. I also operate PSK31 on 20, 40 and 80 meters mostly and have an Echolink node running 24/7 that connects to our club repeater on 146.70 covering the Savannah and Richmond Hill area up into South Carolina.
Drop me a note if you want to try a contact on any band I can work. I'd love to give it a try. 73 - Jerry Perlman - W4SGA
Originally posted Summer 2007
Some fellas from Pennsylvania that I met late one night on 60 meters turned me on to this soundcard based oscilloscope that is very useful and really cool to use.
The Soundcard Oscilloscope receives its data from the Soundcard in your or from an external soundcard interface like the Signalink USB from Tigertronics with 44.1kHz and 16 Bit resolution. The data source can be selected in the Windows mixer (Microphone, Line-In or Wave). The frequency range depends on the sound card, but 20-20000Hz should be possible with decent to good modern sound cards. The low frequency end is limited by the AC coupling of the line-in signal. The oscilloscope contains a signal generator for 2 channels for Sine, Square, Triangular and Sawtooth wave forms in the frequency range from 0 to 20kHz. These signals are available at the speaker output of your sound card. These can be fed back to the oscilloscope in order to generate Lissajous figures in the x-y mode.
The software is FREE from the author Christian Zeitnitz. He is very adamant that it is free to the point that a dialog box pops up each time you open the program that you have to OK telling you if someone has charged you for it you should kick their ass.
He makes it clear also that he does not want any financial support but also not to expect any technical help. As his website states "Do not expect any help with your individual sound problems. Its up to you to solve these problems related to your installation".
So there you go. Check it out and enjoy. It works really well.
Originally posted June 2008
Ham Radio Deluxe
A Few Thoughts on a Great Product - and it's FREE !!!
Before you read this I wanted to say I am still running one of the old versions of the FREE HRD Version 5 build 2893 and it still works great. Once all the bugs are out of the paid version and they have a few generations under their belt I'll buy it.
I want to recommend to everyone and then brag a bit on the amateur radio software suite Ham Radio Deluxe by Simon Brown, HB9DRV. It has been a part of my radio room since the day I put my Yaesu 857D on the air. If you have a modern radio and a computer in your shack you really owe it to yourself to check out this great, free software. It is about the best accessory that I can think of to add to your radio. It interfaces with almost every modern radios and takes all the functions and controls, some of which are buried behind multiple presses of the function key and layers of menus, and puts them right there on the screen along with all important operating parameters and all kinds of metering.
HRD connects to your radio through the CAT interface connection and then to your computer. You can pay retail price and buy the CAT cable from your radio manufacturer or buy an aftermarket cable for cheap on ebay. In my case, the Yaesu cable was an old style serial connection so in part that dictated the computer I am using for radio control. Some new computers donít even have an RS232 connection. (Editors Note: You can also use a USB to Serial adapter with the stock DB9 to CAT cable) On ebay you can get a pre-made cable that connects to a USB port. I didn't know this when I got mine. Mark Bolton (KA4CID) identified the plug as the same used on a PS2 mouse if you want to make your own.
I have a computer dedicated to operation of the radio, which I might also open an Internet browser on from time to time, but that's about all I run on it. In fact on this computer I am running dual monitors because I am also using the DM780 digital application, which is another part of the HRD suite for PSK and other digital modes. The 2 monitors allow me to always be able to view the digital master program and the radio control screen and not have to switch between windows.
You can configure a small radio control area in DM780 to monitor basic radio functions, but having the 2 screens means you donít have to take up real estate on the digital program, just move from screen to screen. Naturally, this will run fine on a single monitor system youíll just have to switch between apps from the task bar.
The features of the DM780 program are really another story that I will write as a follow up after I have a little more digital experience under my belt. It looks like it will run every thing from Morse Code to RTTY, all the PSK variants, Olivia, slow scan TV and many others. You can customize the waterfall, receive and transmit windows any way you like and use pre-set macros or make your own so you donít even have to type. Hit one button to deliver the proper response such as station info and signal reports. Like the logging program, which I will be describing in a moment, DM780 queries QRZ for information on contacts and auto populates the log and uses the info to fill in dynamic fields in the macros for replies. It makes getting on the air on PSK or RTTY easy. You can of course just type stuff in and hit the send button.
Iíve had some great fun using PSK31 making contacts all over the USA and several European DX stations and no one works with over about 45 watts of power and simple antennas.
The interface looks really good on the wide screen monitors that are becoming more the norm with new computers. And the wider screen will essentially allow you do view it like I am doing with 2 monitors.
Setup and connection was super easy. The first time I used my new radio I started out with it connected to the computer using HRD software. I cannot imagine using this tiny (but great) radio any other way. About the only controls I ever touch on the radio are the on/off button, the button to activate the 60 meter band and the tuning knob. I still like to spin the knob, which instantly reads out on the screen via Ham Radio Deluxe. Any function you change on the radio is instantly reflected in the graphical interface.
Every other control; band changes, recalling from memory, mic gains, power levels or any operating control other than the few I mentioned I control from the interface screen via customizable sliders. HRD allows total customization of the GUI so you can really make it look any way you want. I change mine constantly, making little tweaks here and there now that I have settled on a basic layout. You can save all your layouts and instantly change the look.
HRD contains the best logging software I have ever seen or used. It opens as a tab on the operating screen and can be set to auto hide. It interfaces with QRZ also to fill in QSO information and can automatically record time, frequency, virtually everything from the radio as you log the call. Just set it for auto fill and hit F1 and all fields are populated from the radio settings and from QRZ. It contains extensive data handling capabilities in the recorded records such as tracking status of QSL's, contesting information and much more.
There is also a QSL label printing application available that works with HRDís Logbook, see more about it at: http://www.ham-radiodeluxe.com/Programs/HRDLogbookLabels/tabid/128/Default.aspx
With the recent changes at QRZ.com, youíll have to download a patch in order for the HRD Logbookís QRZ lookup feature to work properly. The patch can be downloaded at: http://www.ham-radio-deluxe.com/Downloads/BetaKits/OH2AQClusterFix/tabid/125/Default.aspx
There is a satellite-tracking program as part of the program that works great. Update the elements with one button and select the satellite you wish to track from the list. It will show you forecast tracks with hover elements wherever you select. It will show you the Birdís footprint at any point in the orbit and give you azimuth and elevation settings.
There is an audio grabber program that allows you to record, store, manage, and playback audio files.
The last of many functions Iíll mention here is the DX Cluster window, a fabulous feature. There is an HRD DX reflector website that you connect to when you launch the program and once you connect it will auto update at regular intervals that you can set. There are actually many sites you can pull information about DX from but this was the default setting and I have never explored the others. You can select the band you want to watch DX info fly by in the window or watch all bands from 160 meters to 33cm. When you see a contact you want to listen to click on the contact in the DX window and it switches to that band, frequency and mode. Very cool stuff.
Oh, and I forgot to mention you can run your radio from a remote location, like in another room on a laptop or another desktop computer. This is a really great feature I seldom take advantage of but it is there and works great. I have not tried it over the Internet outside my home network but I understand it works well that way too.
Lyndy Brannen, ND4XE uses HRD remote all the time and is a real expert on the subject, particularly the audio issues encountered in remote control operation. See his website at www.ND4XE.com where he has information about remote operation and a player where you can listen to his receive audio.
I canít emphasize more how great and powerful this program is and best of all, it's free!! Weíve all had to buy software like Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop that is really expensive but obviously worth it. This program is every bit as powerful and like Photoshop or Excel, will do almost anything you can dream of doing and things you will never even uncover. And best of all its totally FREE!!!
You've got to check it out. Go to http://www.ham-radio-deluxe.com/ . Write me if you have any questions. Iíll try to help.
73 - Jerry
Originally posted June 2008
Originally posted April 2008
The 60 Meter Band
The Hidden Jewel of HAM Radio
No matter what time of day I turn on the HF radio I immediately tune to the 60 meter band. There is a lot of activity on the band in the morning when I am getting out of the house to head to work, and a nice group seems to gather each evening about sunset usually before I get home. Heard here usually on channels 2 and 4, (what the heck is that digital stuff on channel 3 and where is it coming from) and lately the band is pretty hot. There is a lot of mobile activity. I am talking to a lot really nice fellas pretty regularly from out as far as Arizona and Missouri down to Florida and up to West Virginia and all points in between. I've even made some DX contacts from Central America, The Caribbean and one HAM in the UK I've talked to twice in the middle of the night.
This is really a fun band and one I consider a "gentlemen's" band (not that bad behavior is a real problem these days on any band like it used to be). Everyone is on equal footing and that foothold is within reach of every HAM at a modest investment. Since maximum ERP is 50 watts no one is trying to blow the other guy away with more power and massive beam antennas. QRP is common. Everyone is courteous and abides by the rules, as far as I have observed. Since this band is shared with government users and essentially on loan to Amateurs, and everyone using it knows it, we're setting an example so perhaps we can be granted more spectrum in the band at some time in the future. There is an official push going on right now to do that. Sometimes this band is real quite. Good microphones, great audio and antennas are the focus of the people using and experimenting on this band. Wire antennas seem to be most common but I have encountered few users of verticals.
Recently I've added an antenna the plans of which were passed on to me by someone I was talking to on 60 meters. Plans for that antenna were recently featured in QST magazine. It works great on 60 as well as several other bands.
I may also build a vertical antenna for this band from plans passed on from others that have built them that I have talked to on 60 meters. Since I am located on the bank of a salt water river and have the room for a ground field I think I am in the perfect location for doing that.
This is a channelized band unlike all the other HF bands and most older radios, although you can receive on your general coverage receiver, they can't transmit on it. The process for making my FT-857 operate on this band was not intuitive at all. I had to get the book out to use it the first time. Tuning up has been a challenge without an auto tuner.
But it has been a lot of fun. I've sent and received a lot of QSL cards with folks and send cards to most people I make contact with on this band.
So now after settling back into the hobby after many years off I'm finding 60 meters as a nitch I like. Of course I'm still operating on the other bands but this is rapidly becoming my favorite.
Antennas in the attic
The final thing a wanted to mention was I took down all my outside scanner, UHF and VHF antennas and put them in my attic. Ken Griffin, W4JKG gave me the idea. He has a bunch of antennas in his attic and performance is great. I was put over the top after talking for some time to my pal Bob Harmon, W4WTO when I found out he has an antenna farm in his attic too. I read as much as I could find on the subject and found this is very popular particularly in antenna restricted areas, which, fortunately is not the case here. I was only worried about attenuation from the roof materials but so far no problems from that either. I have a 4 story house with a full sized, walk up, unfinished attic that made this a very easy project. A hell of a lot easier than erecting and taking down push up poles outside that were never as tall as my house. And getting up on the roof was just out of the question. On a one story house when you are up on a roof you can always rationalize you might just get hurt badly if you fall. From the roof of a 4 story house with a steep pitch I believe certain death is probably going to be outcome of any fall. So the roof was not an attractive option. Ken loaned me his MFJ antenna analyzer and I was able to decrease my db loss considerably with shorter feed lines and I will also decrease my chances of lightning hits and weathering of connections. Adjustments are as easy as walking up the stairs. This was a great idea that has increased my transmitting and receiving ability by several fold. I have also increased antenna height by no less than 10 feet. The fact that the antennas are in the attic seem to be transparent so far. I am hearing things on my scanners I never heard before, and hitting repeaters 80-125 miles out solidly and regularly. If you've been thinking about doing this don't delay, just do it. It's a great idea and a simple solution. Be sure to stay as far away from wiring and if there are walls or areas with foil backing this could present a problem. But otherwise a far better idea than risking falling from a roof.
Originally posted Winter 2007
Marconi the HAM KITTY calls the shack home
Random Notes and Ramblings
The Earth is fine, save yourself.
I carry a 45 because they don't make a 46
From my backyard looking to the west. A clear shot for DX.
Other stuff on the internet that I have done in the past
The story of AOR on WTOC radio - Part of my career in radio