The Radio Room Main Operating Positions
A Very Short Autobiography
I was first licensed by the FCC (Federal
Communications Commission) in 1961 as WN8AQL in Marquette, MI. In
addition, I operated from Biloxi, MS and Austin, TX, and held the call-signs WB5FCO and WJ5MH. AJ8MH was issued September 26, 2008. My wife, Pam, was licensed March 20, 2009, and
holds the call-sign KD8KMN.
AJ8MH is a member of ARRL, and the Hiawatha Amateur Radio Association of Marquette County. AJ8MH has also been a member of FISTS (#14321), SKCC (#5857), AMSAT, YL - ISSB (#9420), QRP - ARCI (#3904) and 10-10 (#5991).
My interest in electronics started in 1961 when I was eleven years old. Not too long after my initial interest, I studied and tested for my Novice amateur radio license. At sixteen, I took the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) exam for the 3rd Class Broadcast Permit, and started to work for Lake Superior Broadcasting (WDMJ AM/FM). I worked for them while in high school and college in addition to WNMR-FM at Northern Michigan University.
In 1968, I joined the United States Air Force and trained as an air-traffic control radar technician serving in Amarillo, Texas; Biloxi, Mississippi (I survived hurricane Camille while in Mississippi in 1969); Nakhon Phanom, Thailand; and Austin, Texas. During my tour of duty in Thailand as a radar tech, I did volunteer work for the Military Affiliate Radio Service (MARS Call-signs AI8NP and AIA8NP), and the American Forces Thailand Network (AFTN/AFRTS).
Military Service Notes (1968-1972): Air Force Communications Service (AFCS) Air Traffic Control Radar Maint 3380th CMS Squadron Keesler AFB Biloxi MS - 1987th Comm Squadron Nakhon Phanom (NKP) Thailand - 2013th Comm Squadron Bergstrom AFB Austin TX - Volunteer work: Air Force 6001st Support Squadron AFTN/AFRTS Nakhon Phanom (NKP) Thailand.
After leaving the Air Force in 1972, I worked 2 years for Gulf Coast Broadcasting in Gulfport, Mississippi. I was a Top 40 DJ for WROA AM, and program director for WROA FM. In October of 1974, I started working for Teltronic Communications, a Motorola Service Center, and this is when I tested and was granted my "commercial" license issued by the FCC in New Orleans.
In 1978 I left Mississippi and moved to Austin,
TX. I worked as a radio technician for Austin Communications, another Motorola Service Center. I
also worked part-time for KKMJ, Majic 95 FM. Austin was the birthplace of my daughter, born on "Cinco
de Mayo," 1981.
I started my cellular communication career as a technician for McCaw in 1987, and quickly moved into engineering then management. Some years were better than others, but my personal satisfaction greatly diminished when the McCaw / AT&T Wireless operation was sold in late 2004 to Cingular Wireless and the organizational culture changed. When Cingular was renamed to AT&T Mobility, it was certainly not the original AT&T that I enjoyed working for.
In February 2008, after 21 years, I retired from AT&T Mobility (Cingular / AT&T Wireless / McCaw Communications) as Operation's Manager and joined the ranks of the unemployed. Having enough of the big city life, I left Texas and moved back "home" to Marquette in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, fully realizing that most people move south when they retire.
After settling in Marquette, I worked a little over a year with a great staff at Northern Star Broadcasting; a group of 2 AM and 3 FM stations including WDMJ and WJPD-FM. I decided to completely retire shortly after the stations were sold to Sovereign Communications in 2010. The sale didn't have anything to do with my decision. It was just time to close another chapter of my life.
Since the 60s, I've had an interest in photography, and still do today. With the advent of digital photography and photo editing software, I've taken a renewed interest. Designing web pages is an interest that parallels photography and allows me to release some of my artistic abilities.
Station and Activities
The radio-room (my little museum) in Michigan is
on-the-air. Current antennas include a Mosley TA-33-M-WARC (4 element beam) at 36', a homebrew sloping
inverted-L for 160 with a trap for 40 meters, and a homebrew standard inverted-L for 80, 75 and 30
Over the years, I've experimented with packet satellites, most of the digital modes, antennas, built QRP rigs, and I've operated in many contests. In 2002, I found duplicates of the Hallicrafters equipment I had during the sixties. I refurbished all of it, and actually use the station.
Refurbishing the old station lead to many other projects including an RCA Radiola, a Hallicrafters SX-16 and SX-99, an Echophone EC-1, Heathkit AT-1 transmitter and a complete Heathkit HW-101 station. I've also refurbished a small collection of telegraph equipment manufactured by Signal Electric of Menominee, Michigan.
Check the Site Map for pictures and links to many of my projects.
These days, you'll find me chasing DX as I try and make up for lost time. With so many avenues to follow in this great hobby, I lost focus. My DX totals really aren't what they should be, but I'm making an effort to greatly increase the number of entities worked. Links to my tracking spreadsheets are listed below along with my current totals.
I've managed to assemble a good station since I returned home, and for the first time in 50 years of ham radio, I now use a small amplifier to help me compete with the "big boys."
73, and hope to work you on the bands...again, or for the first time.
~ Joe [ AJ8MH ]
A Few Accomplishments
Download: ( WAS Tracking ~ ARRL LoTW ~ LibreOffice/Excel Spreadsheet ) My original WAS-Mixed award was completed October 12, 1972 in Austin, Texas under the call WB5FCO. After moving to Michigan in 2008, I made an effort to work all states again, but on CW, Phone and PSK-31. I succeeded and was awarded the ARRL Triple Play Award (#533) on February 15, 2011.
Download: ( WAS Digital Tracking ~ ARRL LoTW ~ LibreOffice/Excel Spreadsheet ) I am currently working on tracking WAS using the digital modes.
See LibreOffice/Excel spreadsheets for additional information.
Download: ( DXCC Tracking ~ QSL Card and ARRL LoTW ~ LibreOffice/Excel Workbook ) My original DXCC Mixed award was received June 3, 1975 in Biloxi, Mississippi.
After moving to Michigan in 2008, I was awarded DXCC CW (LoTW - June 7, 2012), DXCC Phone (LoTW - June 8, 2012), DXCC for 80 (LoTW - 2015), 40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12 & 10 (each LoTW - 2013) and DXCC RTTY/Digital (LoTW - 2014). 5BDXCC with endorsements for 30, 17 and 12 was awarded on May 19, 2015.
I qualified for the DXCC Challenge Award on January 5, 2014, with 1000 DXCC band-points, and entered phase 2 with 1500 band-points on November 23, 2015. Currently at 1665 band-points.
As of May 12, 2018 my DXCC Mixed Country total is 335 worked and 335 confirmed.
The vast majority of contacts were made running 100 watts or less. As of September 9, 2012, I use an Elecraft KPA500 at 500 watts. See LibreOffice/Excel workbook for additional information.
I also use eQSL, and tracking CQ Magazine's Worked All Zones (WAZ) is a nice feature. On July 11, 2013, all 40 Zones were confirmed and CQ WAZ (#9036) was completed. CQ Magazine also allows eQSL confirmations for CQ WPX, CQ USA-CA and CQ DX awards.
Of course, you can always apply and download the awards issued by eQSL. I've received eDX (175), eDX100 (Mixed 175), eDX100 (CW 150), eDX100 (SSB 100), eDX100 (20 mtr 100), eDX100 (15 mtr 100), eDX100 (WARC 125), eEurope (53), ePFX300 (Mixed 700), eWAS (Mixed), and eZ40 (Mixed).
In January of 2015, QRZ started an awards program based on station logbooks that were submitted to them in addition to LoTW confirmations. Since I do upload to QRZ, I've received all five of the awards (Continents of the World, DX100, USA50, United States Counties and Grid Squared) for Mixed, CW, Phone and Digital modes.
DX Code of Conduct
1) I will listen, and listen, and then listen again before calling.
2) I will only call if I can copy the DX station properly.
3) I will not trust the cluster and will be sure of the DX station's call sign before calling.
4) I will not interfere with the DX station nor anyone calling and will never tune up on the DX frequency or in the QSX slot.
5) I will wait for the DX station to end a contact before I call.
6) I will always send my full call sign.
7) I will call and then listen for a reasonable interval. I will not call continuously!
8) I will not transmit when the DX operator calls another call sign, not mine.
9) I will not transmit when the DX operator queries a call sign not like mine.
10) I will not transmit when the DX station requests geographic areas other than mine.
11) When the DX operator calls me, I will not repeat my call sign unless I think he has copied it incorrectly.
12) I will be thankful if and when I do make a contact.
13) I will respect my fellow hams and conduct myself so as to earn their respect.
*14) I will have patience and ignore the jerks, especially the pile-up police, on frequency tuners, wrong VFO space-cadets, other jammers, pirates, all other LIDS, the ill-mannered and the inexperienced, both on frequency and on the DX cluster.
*15) I will remember that the technology can be turned off, and I can do something more productive to pass the time.
"I'm often asked what you can do to help Amateur Radio and help enforcement. There's several things you can do. One is, don't engage people and don't humor the idiots. We have a certain number of idiots, just like the legal profession does, the plumbers profession, medical, whatever. It's just our society."
"But, stupidity can't be regulated, no matter how good the rules are. The thing you do to help the
most, is to just turn the big knob. Every rig has one. Whether the transceiver has 20 buttons or
77, it has one big knob."
Riley Hollingsworth, Retired Special Counsel, FCC Enforcement (11/2014)
Vintage StationsDetailed photographs of the station equipment can be viewed at:
( www.aj8mh.com/todayphoto.html )
A Small Collection from The Good Ole DaysDetailed photographs of the station equipment can be viewed at:
( www.aj8mh.com/todayphoto.html )