wa4d media profile

wa4d media consumption

News comes from many sources.  This is my current profile.  The NYTimes, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal are a daily must-read.  When I start looking at a site frequently, I step up and pay the subscription.  Journalism is not free. Reporters, producers, artists, photographers, and musicians deserve to be paid for their work.  Pay for online media just as you once paid for the paper in a vending machine. It’s the right thing to do.

Footnote: I subscribe to CQ and QST but seldom do I find anything of interest in either publication.  Hams will get more value from WIRED  magazine.

QSTmodified WiredCovermodifiedCQCovermodified

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CW: The defining mode of Ham Radio



Amidst the zillions of exchanges online, on the air and personal discourse, Hams have debated the merits and/or relevance of CW for decades. I’m guessing it began in the 60’s as single sideband emerged as the dominant phone mode and the spectrum efficiency wars began with the old school AMers. (I fondly recall the insults that flew between the slop bucket crowd and the AM enthusiasts!) From there it simmered and then flashed again as talk began of reducing and/or outright elimination of Morse as a part of licensing criteria by the FCC and endorsed by the ARRL. Of course, in the end, it faded away as a requirement and we are left with a completely optional choice for the new Ham radio operator. To learn Morse Code.  Or not.


Morse Code is largely irrelevant in 2017 as a critical mode of information exchange.  World maritime authorities turned their back on CW some years ago, as a vital requirement. Despite the Morse code’s gripping historical beginnings and moments of consequence (think the “Titanic” incident and WW I and WWII), it has been displaced by far more sophisticated methods and tools. But to the hobbyist it’s relevance is more than a mere technical operating choice. To many long-time hams, the mode reflects the essence of Amateur radio. Those first moments of CW recognition cutting through the crackle and interpreting the message are the “magic” that many old-timers speak of. I would argue that it is also a reflection of the accomplishment and discipline required to learn the mode. Some Hams tell us the mode is dead!   Yet I would offer, that those who never learn this first mode of our hobby have missed a rewarding experience.


 The heritage and soul of the hobby have been shaped by Morse Code.  ( I was going to conclude with a final sentence: “CW literacy still matters in the 21st century”)  But then who am I kidding? It doesn’t matter. But I still revere the mode.


mike whatley. wa4d.       Learn Morse Code ARRL.Org.      W1AW Code Practice Schedule

.Radio Top Level Domain is here!

Radio URL break out



Most Hams don’t have a personal Web address.  But if you’ve ever thought of claiming your call sign domain— there’s an even better reason to claim it now.  Instead of being wa4d.net. or arrl.org you can now register for  your call .Radio   There is a new internet extension reserved for the Radio Community. ” .radio is a new top-level domain (like .com or .net) which is exclusively dedicated to radio stations, web radios, radio professionals, companies selling radio goods and services and radio amateurs.

Radio url graphic

Learn about the .radio extension–Click on image below. or GO to www.nic.radio.

Radio TDL site

“Thanks Dawg…. But I really just want to get this done as quickly as possible”

Then go Directly to register.radio 

The .radio people say: “Specific to radio: this extension will become quickly a high-value internet space for commercial websites, your mail system and other internet applications.”

Yes the ARRL knows about this too.  Click on the LOGO.


Ham Radio and Space

Ham radio and space exploration have long been linked. The Shuttle astronauts and others have dutifully used Ham radio as a PR tool to reach earthbound students and others with an interest in space.    The 40th anniversary of the “Voyager” mission has been in the press of late.   JPL  released “free” posters marking the occasion. Click on the poster below for JPL site.  (Scroll down for others). Spend an enjoyable hour on this fascinating subject.


Links below to excellent Voyager stuff!


A Reverie for the Voyager Probes, Humanity’s Calling Cards by Dennis Overby.            Video View Time: 5min. Article Read Time: 7 min.

Pondering Voyagers’ Interstellar Journeys, and Our Own. by Lawerence Krauss        Article Read Time:  6 min 

The Loyal Engineers Steering NASA’s Voyager Probes Across the Universe by Kim Tingley.     Article Read Time: 25 Min

Special Event Stations (QSL Cards)

I was the network television pool camera for the Desert Storm “Victory” Parade. We were on a Flat bed truck rolling in front of the parade leaders. I took this still image of General Schwarzkopf and his staff at the front as they marched down Constitution avenue in Washington DC., The parade was in June of 1991. I used the photo for a “Veterans Day Special Event Station” 1991.  On Veterans Day that Year (91) it was pouring rain!  Wet and Cold. We operated near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the service drive next to the Lincoln Memorial.  We were in an empty truck similar to a UPS delivery truck with no packages. We set up a table and put wire antennas out.  It was fun.

This was the first Special Event Station I organized.  Me and several Hams from NBC manned the station, set up near this monument statue near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.  On the air there was a tremendous response.  I shot this photo on the morning of Veteran’s Day 1990. About 7am. I’ve always liked this statue. Jan Scruggs the Vet who made the wall happen, came by that day and said hi at the station site.

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