“But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.“
― Carl Sagan
A little about me: I have a passion for learning new, or sometimes old things. I got interested in radio through my collecting hobby of military radios, vehicles, and technology from World War II and the Korean war.
I fund the website out of my own pocket, this includes daily maintenance and updates to the website, security, server storage, etc. So if you like what I do, and want to help out, I truly would appreciate your help. I have links to KOFI throughout the site, please consider helping out.
I spent my professional career in law enforcement, first as a Law Enforcement Park Ranger, then as Chief Ranger, and finally finishing out that career of 25 years as a Chief of Police. I am a Life Member of the IACP and Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police. I reside in a small mid west town with my wife Pamela, our two dogs, and a plethora really cool things.
I receive a lot of emails with a lot of questions- but just to be fair, and clear, I am no know it all expert. I am however willing to share the information and knowledge I have gathered in this hobby, and through daily operations. I can also provide some contacts to some folks that I have come to rely on for advice, products, etc.
You can reach me on :
Publications my ideas and projects have been featured in:
NOAA/NESDIS – Presenter GRB and HRIT/EMWIN User Group Meetings 2021, 2022, 2023
The altered life of GOES-3 The Weather Satellite that Refused to Retire: Group for Earth Observation No 79 Sept 2023
National Weather Service, 2022 and 2023 Satellite Enthusiasts round table.
Story of the Feminist Antifascist Weather Front -A work of speculative fiction, It probes the emancipatory possibilities of an alliance of amateur satellite signal decoders and earth-watchers in a not-too-distant future.
Software Defined Radio: A case use for satellite reception. University of Vigo, Spain 2019.
VS-3 VIBRATOR CONVERSION for analog Radio 2018
Visualization & Analysis Tools Satellite Educators Association, Inc.
The Ubiquitous FAQ
Q: Is this radio stuff really awesome?
A: It is for me! consider that you can receive thousands of signals on a device about the size of your thumb, compare that to the ‘high tech’ 50-pound radios of the 40’s
Q: Why do you offer to help people out with tech hobbies?
A: Keeps me busy, it’s affordable and I like to ‘pay it forward’ A lot of good folks helped me out and I want to return the favor.
Q: Is this radio stuff legal?
A: That depends on where in the world you live in. Here in the USA it is, but then again I always see black vans with tinted windows parked on the street by my house, and there is always a clicking sound on my home phone whenever I answer.
Q: How did you get your wife to agree to put up all those antennas?
A: Next Question.
Q: If electricity always follows the path of least resistance, why doesn’t lightning only strike in France?
A: Not sure, maybe the lighting is an equal opportunity Striker.
Q: Do strippers in the southern hemisphere spin around their poles in the opposite direction as strippers in the northern hemisphere?
A: Good question for my friends down under… Maybe a research grant on the Coriolis force and it’s effect on glitter-covered bodies whereby a stripper moving in a rotating system experiences a force (the Coriolis force ) acting perpendicular to the direction of motion and to the axis of rotation (the pole being the center of the axis of rotation). On the earth, the effect tends to deflect moving objects to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern and is important in the formation of cyclonic weather systems.
Q: Who are you, really?
A: My name is Carl, but you can call me Carl. I also answer to “Your Highness”, “Lord of the Manor”, and “Sir”.
Q: How much does this all cost?
A: Great Question. As with all things, you get what you paid for, I only list on my site those individuals and companies I have had great success with. I tried the knockoffs, a terrible waste of money. If you’ve already got a computer, you can get into RTL-SDR for about $40 US.
Q: What do you think of Flat Earthers?
A: The Only thing Flat earthers fear is sphere itself! I mean really, flat earthers would have believed in round earth if the earth was flat! I got kicked out of a flat earth group during COVID, I asked if the 6-foot distancing pushed anyone over the edge…. But then again, you have to try and rationalize with the flat earthers, after all, they have members all around the GLOBE. I am hoping, however, that they make a documentary on their struggles for validation…maybe they will win a Golden Globe?
Q: Is this dangerous? Should I take precautions?
A: As with all things there is some risk. You’re dealing with radio frequencies, of which, millions are passing through your body this very second. With an SDR, you can tune into a few of those. As for precautions…hmmm… tinfoil hat required kind of thing? Probably not, but you should be aware of how antennas, like lightning rods, are often found burnt and melted, and sometimes the house from which they emanate.
And of course, like many good things, it can be addictive, I have been on many a group page where someone brags about how many dongles they have or how long their discone is. With power comes responsibility, choose wisely.
Q: Is this considered Ham, or Amateur Radio?
A: No and Yes, by that, I mean in the context of what I have listed here on my site, there is NO transmission of radio Frequencies. But yes, you can listen in to Amateur Radio, or decode Pagers, Police radio, etc. What you do with that information, literally, determines whether or not you are violating some rules,
Q: What is ‘RF Noise’ and why does every page I look at complain about it?
A: RF Noise is the Thanos to Capt. America, The Borg to Picard, The Klingons to Kirk. Frequency noise can be generated by just about anything, your computer, the LED light in the ceiling above, the power supply for your phone charger, etc. Many a good satellite pass can be ruined when someone switches on the bathroom fan!
(Special Note: Noise can also be generated by screaming loudly when you forget to lock on the satellite or forget to press record, or when Windows updates!)
Q: Ok, I am hooked, can I launch my own satellite?
A: Of course, in fact, amateur satellites are orbiting the earth right now! And to help you out the government has a 67-page form titled “Streamlined Small Satellite and Small Spacecraft Process” Which tells you how to understand the 457-page FCC “Licensing for Satellite Operations Guide” But they did break it into 73 chapters to help you whiz through it. And there’s a handy table that directs you to the 20+ other Foreign, Federal, and State regulations that require permits or licensing. (If you need help ask Elon, Jeff, or Richard). Here’s a NASA guide for building your own Cubesat
Q: What’s up with the time speak? Zulu, UTC, CDT, Local time?
A: I use these times because folks come from all over the globe so having one basic time “zone” is necessary, and you probably wouldn’t want me to use Stardates! And don’t even get me started on daylight savings time!
Q: I live in Ohio. Are you sure Ohio practices daylight savings? Does that change UTC?
A: Despite existing in the past fashionably, and having a nut as a mascot, Ohio is America’s most practical state (and my birthplace) and does indeed follow daylight savings. Ohio is where astronauts come from. I live in Wisconsin now, we survive in most disaster movies and have cows, cheese, and DST.
Q: This FAQ doesn’t really answer the critical questions about SDR, did you know that?
A: I’m sorry, what? I wasn’t paying attention.
Q: Why don’t you tell satellite jokes?
A: They’re always over your head and they never land.
However, once I went to a wedding where two satellite dishes got married. The ceremony wasn’t great, but the reception was amazing.
Q: Someone called my girlfriend fat, what do you have to say about that?
A: To answer this, we must go back billions of years. The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood—all were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star-stuff. Your girlfriend, however, is made up of way more star stuff than everyone else. After she was born, there was practically no star stuff left. Tell your girlfriend to save some star stuff for the rest of us.
Q: I saw some information about you on another site, something about awards? Can you elaborate?
A: Sure, I don’t like to brag, but I once dominated Bulgarian Interpretive Clog Dancing for a couple of days back in the heady days of 1997, and who could forget my third runner-up award for the 2nd-grade spelling bee in Ms. Farley’s class. (I have the certificate matted and framed above my desk!) One of my awards that is very dear to me is my award for Best Office Tag Team! I earned this one for forming a cohesive group at the office, where no matter what project the Director would throw at us, we were able to circumvent and direct blame elsewhere.
Q: How do you hang toilet paper: over or under?
A: I am a strictly over-the-top guy.
Q: Do you think you’re funny?
A: I used to. Until you asked that question!
My Town running on a Cesium Viewer