About W3EEE

A heap of LF stuff in a dark, furtive basement corner at W3EEE

As is plain from the above picture, the receiver of choice here (along with much of the LF community) is the Icom R75, one of which is dedicated to each 'Grabulator' and the DCF-39/Lakihegy monitoring. Also in the rack are at top are a Kenwood TS-140S and a TS-440S transceiver; these have performed excellent service at LF over the years in various applications, both being better by far at LF than most ham-radio transceivers. When things get 'interesting', it isn't unusual for all these radios to be lit up at once!

In the middle is a true behemoth - an Eddystone S850-2 LF receiver. Tuning 10kHz - 600kHz in six ranges, and with a twin-crystal filter offset exactly for wide-space FSK, this was the state-of-the-art and king-of-the-hill in LF-manship in the early 'sixties; this one probably fell off the back of a submarine. For those not familiar with Eddystone, a well-renowned British manufacturer of that era, the heavily-flywheeled slide-rule tuning on these things is pure sex. All that said, today such radios are pretty much useless in all important respects, and this one serves no purpose but to exude cool and band-cruise NDBs and BBC Radio Four once in a while.

In contrast, at bottom is the ubiquitous Hewlett-Packard 3586C, an extremely useful piece of gear. It makes a decent and most importantly - calibrated - receiver, and the internal tracking oscillator (particularly when the oven-controlled option is installed) is brilliant. Unlike the 'consumer' ham-gear, it's possible to make real, meaningful measurements using this thing instead of just comparisons.

To the right is the heap of mouldering ancient cast-me-down 'puters which run the FFT programs (SpecLab and Argo principally) and which FTP periodic screenshots out to this website for the 'Grabulators' and monitoring; at bottom left, too, is a laptop which gets periodically stolen back from a daughter for 'special events'. A couple of machines in a nearby office space get co-opted too with muchly wires akimbo when things get 'interesting' at LF. The main 'puters are sitting on heavy, and heavily filtered, UPSs to hopefully coast through the frequent power interruptions we get here at the nether-end of the electrical universe. Bringing all the machines back up after a major outage is a serious pain - note the sequence instructions taped to the side of one of the 'puters. . .

W3EEE (an Amateur Radio Service Licensee) is in Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania (which one likely will not find on a map) which is some 10 miles east of Hershey, PA (which one likely will). Yes, it is THAT Hershey.

The village of Gretna is a turn-of-the-century resort community started as a park by a local enlightened robber-baron of the time for his minions, which developed into the Pennsylvania Chatauqua (a philosophical retreat) and a summer bible camp (never the twain shall meet). The little wooden huts thrown up 100 years ago on tent-size lots for inhabitation for 3 weeks during the summer have now largely been renovated and winterized, resulting in a peculiar but fun environ of gingerbread-style 'munchkin' houses, and a predominently year-round community. It wakes up in the summer, becoming a kind of cultural nexus, with a well-regarded juried art show held beneath the twee shadowy pines in the village, musical and dramatic events in an extraordinary circular playhouse, a lake, and by no means least, a killer ice-cream shop. Overlooking the village is 'TV Hill', a ridge, indeed the most southerly hiccup of the Appalachian range here, home to the two towers of WLYH-TV, and in their shadow a little hairy ham-bone and copious wires.

Maidenhead Locator is FN10sg.

Since being originally licensed in England in the late '60s, most facets of ham radio have been picked over at some point. Gradually scraping and slithering down the spectrum leaving scratches and dents on satellites, VHF, HF DX contesting, and extensively on Topband, I have seemingly thudded to a rest in the LF spectrum. Hence the general theme of this site.

In the real world I run a small consultancy specializing in high-end digital audio design.

© Steve Dove, W3EEE, 2003,4,6,7