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WILK News Radio>Audio & Video on Demand>>Phil Galasso Interview

Phil Galasso Interview

Mar 24, 2014|

WILK's L.A. Tarone's interview with Phil Galasso.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Ground -- is under way forward is Monday night 180437009888300. And I made very happy. To welcome till the last zones in the studio on tonight's real good evening -- good evening LA how are you are. Right bombs and doc wallet golf mutual friend contacted me. And sad how ham radio do you think that is -- any interest to anybody and I thought yeah that's pretty interesting because. I'm assuming it is changed quite a bit over the years. And that you don't have a little homemade transmit error in. One maybe you do do you still have a little homemade transmitter mirage and things I go I still have homemade equipment. There is a whole universe. Of things that we do. Some of us will just work out a piece of plastic and by you lay down 3000 dollars for the latest wonder box. From Japan now that will do everything but make your coffee for you that morning action however is not we're searching for you were around for your appearance here tonight. I saw couples wonder boxes and 3000 dollars is not out of the question you can easily spend -- But since I don't have that kind of money. -- another. And in fact if you go to my web site K two PG dot com. That's my amateur call signed. You'll see. That I took a couple of AM broadcast transmitters side. Stations that I had worked for in the past got rid of when they were upgrading -- off and return them to our frequencies so. And in fact I was down in New Jersey where I have one of those set -- I was there a couple of days ago and was talking on momentum and -- -- bowl. Non it is worth noting that you also worked in this business commercial radio for years as well 42 of them to be 42 years out. -- guess I'll -- com first of all. Ham radio. What do you do. What do I mean I I think a lot of people -- think of ham radio. They would think. If you're old enough the old two way radios to used to be in trucks. -- Three CB's. Or maybe -- think of the citizens band broadcast was a ham radio car payment of ham radio or amateur radio now. For the most part it's a hobby -- people. Can get the radios or build a more re purpose -- more whatever. Some people will get on the short wave bands. And just see how many countries they can contact -- There are some. Cool get on VHF locally and just talk to their bodies. There are others who are involved an emergency communications. There are some who do experimentation. There's even a guy over in bear creek. Who has a high powered UHF facility. UHF and microwave. He can use the moon has a passive reflector. -- bounce a signal off the moon. And haven't come back to worse in Europe or somewhere that. And that has been going on that sort of thing has been going on since the 1950s. That. Police. What jobs that you mentioned three different frequency bands there are what is how how many different frequency bands can you guys use -- one of the most commonly used one. It's -- all the most common ones are I would say twenty meters which is. In the middle of the short wave range fourteen mega Hertz and that has worldwide propagation. You can get on with a hundred watts. And talk anywhere in the world of the -- conditions are right. We have -- -- -- for example let me jump in first second yes if you want -- to tonight and you could find somebody who. Understood the language you could be talking to somebody in cry me -- right now to see what's happening that we wish. Abdication from Ukraine and Nat confederation of Russia Mueller as well provided that the government didn't shut down radio in that area do. -- to it being such a sensitive thing. And the sensitive area off. Even in this country during World War II our government shut down amateur radio how they shut it down a step by jamming signals no. They just the Federal Communications Commission here. Just issued a decree ordering -- off the air okay basically the licenses were invalidated ha -- So that's. That's -- sort of thing are some countries that still do not allow amateur radio or. That barely tolerated. North Korea is a case in point -- So. Did it depends on the situation and depends on the politics and that sort of thing. But what we do here in this country. We have frequency bands ranging. From a 160. Meters. Which is just a little above the standard AM broadcasting end. Our band is 18100 to 2000 how can get -- viewers is 54217. I have about seventeen to money now and solve. We have that we have shortwave bands 3.5. 714. Ten. Etc. We have VHS stands fifty -- cycles are megahertz. 144. And we have frequencies all the way up into the microwave spectrum so -- riding in a massaging and a fine. All of them on line. AMR all of them on UH out there were. Variety of frequencies yes. Just as we have a variety of different types of activities. Some people just like to talk some do we emergency communications. Some experiment. And there's even an amateur station. Up inside the International Space Station now operates. In the VHS stands. Mostly two meters 144 megahertz. I think they're also on UH have -- 432. Megahertz. And there there have been school kids. Course set up with the local amateur radio operator who were put in touch with the astronauts and cosmonauts left in the space station. Indeed need to. Some things that you can't do right for example you couldn't. And I'm dating myself here but up what plug a couple of CDs in -- in the old days a couple of turn tables and -- music division I pay Ascap and BMI is that while it's not a. Only Ascap and BMI. It's an FCC regulation. The FCC band. The transmission of music on amateur radio in 1939. Okay. Because some people were. Going a little too far they would test for audio quality. Because back then most of the guys who use voice use AM -- and some of those transmitters were really sweet sounding news. By. They would go overboard and try to play broadcaster whom and of course the commercial stations didn't like that. Also since amateur radio is predominantly a two way service. We don't want people on mayor of playing broadcast stern tying up frequencies by playing music. Right right because you would be as she said -- way you want a response from whomever you're hitting. Yes -- is that harrah's and allow do we have one around here for a while there was a pirate station around here for awhile and there wasn't I read about them in New York there's there's somebody jam and frequencies. And I am assuming -- you lose. Equipment similar to what you have just on a different frequency. While a lot of the pirate broadcasters. And they are broadcasters they're not hands. Some of them are using. -- -- stuff that they. Can get from a surplus store but there are others. Who are using regular commercial broadcast equipment. And most of these guys now are on the standard FM band out. And what they are doing -- years ago. The pirates. Lot of them -- college kids that. They wanted to be. Broadcasters. Couldn't get a job on a local commercial station right or they didn't like the music that there's rations were playing. So they would set up a transmitter in the old days it was AM. Or even operate on short wave around may be seven point four megahertz -- and some of them had some really bizarre programming on. There was one guy who did a show -- are a thing called the voice of communism. And it was a beautiful parody of radio Moscow -- -- Even down -- the fifty cycle hum that the Russians have on some of the transmitters that we're not properly maintained. There was another one called radio more rainy. Which made fun of all the propaganda stations on short wave off all the stations we have on during the Cold War. But. These are not or not necessarily hams. Now the ones on. Seven point four megahertz. They used. AM amateur transmitters for the most part and just three tune them put them out of the band. But. What we have now -- days. Due to the situation was broadcast ownership. Due to the fact that the FCC will auctioning off frequencies for commercial use. Thereby meaning that you have to have very deep pockets. In order to put a new station on the air. And you have to have deeper pockets if you wanna buy an existing one -- This has squeezed a lot of ethnic groups. And a lot of people who have an idea for a alternative programming. Out of the industry. So this is what you are having maladies. There was one. Thank god busted up about twenty years ago win in New Jersey. Howell township. In the east central part of the state -- in Monmouth county spin. They've. There was no good oldies station in that area. WCBS. FM. Would start to cut out there because they're on the same frequency as the station in Philly -- so there was a lot of interference. At that time the -- when those two stations came on the commission short -- a lot of FM stations. Nobody else was playing oldies in the shore area. So what this person did. -- I won't mention his name on the air. Is he got hold even on the 15100. Watt. Commercial FM transmitter. Was one of the lower string brands. He -- short and FCC license. And one over the local fire house. Rented space they are put paid to -- to section FM antenna. On top of there. And she rented a storefront. I'm route nine US highway nine which. There's a busy road it's like Rudy left -- right now you're down around Toms River -- yes it's actually very where he was was between freehold and light blue -- okay. She did a professional job he had jingles cut. He actually hired people who didn't realize they were working for an unlicensed radio station. It was on -- four point seven FM. They had advertisers. They even got an agency spot. There was a car dealership in freehold site. Was using an agency and making buys on all the local stations they bought on his station. And then it turned out that there's another station. A license station. An Egg Harbor damn near Atlantic City now Tehran 104 point nine. Well probably having the two adjacent frequencies created interference down. Just happened that the manager of that station. Was the president of the New Jersey broadcasters association. So she complained to the FCC. But that pirate was on the air for about six months. I think I read one recently -- recently about a year ago in New York that was a Spanish broadcaster. That not only was jamming frequencies because it didn't set up its own frequency it jumped over some of the lower powered frequencies. And out was also very elusive they managed to be able to move. Because they realize yes she's he was looking for them and they did eventually get the men you know the owners -- like a 101000 dollar fine and home. My -- that's typical fine now for unlicensed operation for any kind of transmitter. There was one in Wilkes-Barre. Thank -- busted. A couple of years ago. When I was. Working for another radio station in the area I got a call from a woman who. Normally listens to our station and she was getting interference from. The station that was on and Spanish. So I took a ride around the Parsons section of Wilkes-Barre and sure enough I saw on FM antenna on top of the double block house -- And there was a trailer parked in front of it. With the logos the station was broadcasting in Spanish. They took the name of a popular station from the Dominican Republic. So I spoke to Dave Dombrowski over at the FCC in Philadelphia -- he came up here and and shut them down. That operation was based in New York City. They have a transmitters they are. So this is a translator of a pirate transmit error a hundred miles away. While there wasn't really a translator they were able to operate. Independent okay. But they used the Internet to get their audio to that site the main one was a New York City. They had one in Parsons. And one in haseltine top. Can hold things. There might have been paid commercial market. For that sort of thing Virginia early in -- DNA results and now. But. Radio being the way it has become. Nobody wants to touch formats that are out of the mainstream for their area. Well there was a job. I hazel send. Station that had. God when I say extensively fairly extensive is Spanish programming and an ice and then they start another one in Carbondale which of course didn't go anywhere nasal and a one dollar. Why is it's only six is Monday night till the last sell an amateur radio operator is our guest for India a balance of the hour. I still what do you do. So basically in my case I am I do some experimentation. Meaning. -- home check propagation on various bands I -- two experimental licenses as well. For frequencies below the standard AM broadcast spend. But I also try you just talked to friends of mine. I've -- purpose to commercial and military equipment because I don't have 3000 dollars my. I don't know anything. And I used to build my own stuff it. My very first transmitters. Was built from plans in the now defunct popular electronics magazine. It was for Morse code. Single tube. And a little crystal which determines the frequency moon kingdom and Sam agreed that I made contact with the I had a bull. Movie when you say you just talk to friends is it. For those of us who remember when CDs were very popular is amateur radio ham radio -- Something along the lines of that. Yes and no. There are some. People who do similar things to what they do on CB but. We do a lot of other things -- there's an emergency communication wanted to get to that in some detail. Well one thing that I do personally. As I participate in the communications. Drills that PP NL has four of the Salem. Steamy like -- generating station. Now I remember covering one of them -- I was a newspaper reporter oh boy this is what 97. I think and they make it very. Very. Realistic. So I'm assuming it's it's in the same from an amateur radio stand tall exactly and the reason why -- We are -- there is to provide a back up in case one of the local government. One of the county radio system should go down. It's a duplicate system. And what happened I am pleased to live in Wilkes-Barre when I first came here and then moved to Huntington township. Down in the western part of the county. Well the emergency. The emergency services person. For Huntington township spied my entire work you're. So we found out who I was I and sort of drafted me. So what I do when they have these drills is I will go to the fire house. Over in Huntington mills. And four other municipalities. The amateurs do the same thing there's an amateur stations set up bad county emergency management and wilkes-barre. And we have a very. Disciplined. Radio circuit. They'll. The network as we called the -- And we will pass realistic sounding graphic. And use forms. For writing down the messages. Identical to what the county people use. Soul. It would be in in that case. Our mod PD element steam electric station nuclear plant if there were an emergency there. You would be broadcasting. Like sort of duplicate broadcasting. Evacuation notices and things like that while it's not really broadcasting. Because. Broadcasting. Implies. -- one way transmission meant for the general public okay. What we are doing is handling. Communications. That are passed on. Two police fire to fire police sometime whomever. And there would be stuff coming up from the governor's office. State emergency management down and Harrisburg and the lieutenant governor's technically in charge of Pennsylvania murder of the Pennsylvania emergency management agency yes so that that's the kind of thing we do. There are public service communications. For example the more gossip club. Will do. Communications for walk upon us. That they have for various charities various events. Other clubs do the same thing. And there are cases when the real thing hit. For example when hurricane sandy hit. Some of the commercial communications were knocked out. There were no landline telephones right were wiped out. In some places the cellular service was knocked out to. Towers got knocked down currently -- knocked out of commission now but there were amateur radio operators was a little hand held. Radios and they have some of them had portable repeater station -- Peter just. -- transmit sort that are no different frequency -- higher power. And that helped get the communications. Through and helped organize things. There is health and welfare type traffic. Let me tell you hold any emergencies because I know every once in awhile. When there is one hurricanes and he's a good example I was also thinking of the tsunami. Odds and get southeast Asia 00 I don't know maybe that's 67 years ago whatever wise. I even the television news reports CNN Fox News ABC. They ER reported listening to amateur stations and reporting why. The amateur radio operators had seen and had earlier transmit. Yes and they were doing. Couple of types of traffic some of some of those amateur networks. We're on the air most of these run short -- -- Give me asking for various supplies things that were needed. Food medications. Personal hygiene products. Things like that. Others word is giving health and welfare traffic. Where people would ask about the status of relatives. That's what I meant earlier when I said Nelson -- okay. And there is one group. In fact one organization. That's set up. An amateur radio communications. Arm for exactly that sort of thing Salvation Army are okay. They called their group Saturn. Per Salvation Army team for -- -- sex Salvation Army. Team emergency radio network. All right all right. Local league in the flood of 2011. Or you -- demand was Smart because -- is for awhile it looked like. The wire -- in fact the walls an dikes in Wilkes-Barre and went up to 44 street of course much of Murray got decimated by at west -- stand. Our weight ballooned his -- were -- not far for you leave shake shake the dog got hit very hard by at how active were amateur radio operators man. Say were basically on a standby has needed. Type of situation. Because the one thing with emergency communications. You don't just margins. You don't get in the way it. Of the fire police of the regular police or whatever -- but if you are called upon and you provide the communications. There were certainly people involved with county emergency management. And some of the local read Peter's -- standing by for a for such traffic. But there wasn't anybody who we say -- doll along the river in 44 it. Just broadcasting and anybody who -- and looking for a broadcast partner -- using. I'm not far from the river and boy it sure looks like and -- on a forty feet. No -- corral fence that's irresponsible. If there's terror is a danger of spotlight that. He'll let the authorities take care of it if they need you as a back up communications. Service. They can call on new venues stepped in but you don't play cop. You don't play fire police you don't get in the way of the authorities. Okay that age is I I sort of expect that there would be. Somebody like that well we were on standby because. That flood did not knock out the communication rice the county had regular communications. And personally I was not involved in that because. I was handling regular. Broadcast reports had abroad she got a commercial broadcast station in the area the. All right well -- break a look at the back our guest tonight is still the last -- -- as an amateur radio operator a ham -- is an offensive term. Harry -- know but the whole thing nobody knows word came from either. It dates back to the earliest days of that activity. Nobody knows word came from. Okay that's interstate forty last doctor James from -- and James you're on W wild hey -- fill the last south. Hey hello or it thanks for taking my call our. Go back to -- you're talking about these emergency. Situations. Are men who were going back along I do. Actually -- used to cover. -- -- Oversight already diamond cutting intelligent remark and I -- -- -- -- -- At least a couple times you you're great guy anyway -- -- we we salute its feet. Emergency preparedness drills. Are at these terrorist threat we know he had to have an operator -- an end. And make traditions and always had provisions in our NR AMA. Building. Our. Operators chased -- Our -- and our other original sources include Croatia went down so they'll -- Provided -- sort of an important. When needed. Now where he was talking about cutting and -- -- your three year for air miles. From the actionable plan does that -- cannot or should -- you're right there. Well does not give up all group which is even closer. Pond here. And -- -- community in particular is a different pearl yes and aren't they took off fell almost. Fell under the areas that needed that out. I am a culture also -- actually quite -- on them. I'm by the NR CM. PMA. I hope you guys that your great by the NRC com. That definitely. -- there a representative from the NRC viewer there they great. Actually quite as low as our group did see we are represented as overshot. And McGrady a -- Forward Air support -- don't -- preparedness. Okay. -- and far right and you know we you know we had them in Huntington township as well. I think I have to sort of hello again I'm just assuming that Almonte. Heard -- I think you're required to. Facility in and make arrangements for ham operator on and the entire strategy also an indication the emergencies look right. And so was Huntington that's. That's why when -- -- that's why when their emergency -- saw my tower he gave me a call LA now Mena tour it. Now I group James I don't exhibit called thank you very much I. On the phone is higher -- -- everybody recognizes Bob Reynolds from WNEEP. -- Robert good evening you your are you -- That's why I called you know I thought -- I would go there and in fact I talked to sort -- Earlier today are probably certain call can I. -- -- a far better from operators since 1977. And it's one of the greatest hobbies -- anybody could have. I guess both you guys this does it get does that a friend of mine who want to mention Bob shot -- Al longtime radio -- engineer. In in this market for forty some years is -- ham for many many years. And he said if not it's it's just something that. It becomes kind of addictive I love it you and you can't stop does that follow for both the view as well how does remain. Yeah me to it it's. It's great to get very general. General call. And I am community it's like pressuring you don't know who's gonna pastor you. -- French radio the bear arms so we operate out there have been so good. For all of the Middle East is that is very actually what temperature radioactive British. The middle. It has centrist sainted who talked to a -- over there. Could get. It is take out what's going off. Yeah I'll bet it would be especially. In some other countries in this comes back this up and -- that a little earlier Bob. -- if you're talking to somebody and say Egypt or Tunisia where there's a great deal of unrest of the government doesn't blocked things. You're getting your view then you can't get from and who's not. Well that's one way I think it's. Did you know short wave radios are not that expensive anymore and they're -- its interest -- listened to. The BBC hammer. -- year old great PCP. Yet another country to get very nutritious and their -- Why got to tell you guys I have any yeah I I had out I'll preempt problems all again as Mohamed anymore. And I haven't fooled around a long time I have about a 1930. Model Atwater Kent. In my upstairs living room and it has a short wave bad. And when you were talking earlier fell about. Radio Moscow. And radio Havana I would easily pulled an in and I would love to listen to -- to -- a -- take. On advancing compared how the American Media is where is when that went to take on the -- I had that I had a great time doing that and then that -- unfortunately. Well radio Moscow no longer exists. It became the voice of Russia right after the Soviet Union collapsed right and now they've discontinued their shortwave broadcasts in North America. You can only get them on the Internet. Havana is still very active. Well I think the greatest thing about her radio orders. If the worst of the worship Arab firm. So called communications. Become jammed because so. Over use. And even the public safety Arabs with police and fire. Get chair doctor amateur radio war always point sure. And I and I think we saw that in as you mentioned before -- her case sandy was a great example of that and also New York during 9/11 yeah. Because there where of course what they think that yeah because a lot of the public safety base stations. And repeater stations. We're on top of the world trade -- a commercial radio stations Latin nonstop because they're towers on the top of the world trade sand all but I. Couples the TV stations as well. New York City had a no television. Other than channel true. And a couple of obscure UHF stations around the suburbs deck is everybody used on the top of the world carry on one -- on the trade center. But the amateur radio operators. We're able to step in and help provide communications. -- cellular. All right there were other cell sites New York as a big said he might but. There was so much traffic on them that the phones would just drop out. Bob let me ask -- biggest -- wasn't here yet and hey I know -- tell you just say you started is ham operator in 1977. Why years before that of course we had to add guests and then in 75. There was still -- ways that. -- -- and almost does as as bad late. Com -- hands. Active men and instrumental in in those two floods. We are not really sure because that's prior to the character and I got my license. Okay. All right Bob Reynolds from under was what sixteen and now fellow and opera I should say fellow from your standpoint fill -- mind from my gosh thanks for the call. OK so arbitrary date take care I mean by our our. By the way that 73 mean OK that is an old leg her first term okay. Goes back to the earliest days of radio means best regard I'll tank. OK I figured there was a needing meaning to it how are you who often are you licensed by the SEC BS -- a license to be -- Am radio yes and I have held a license for 45 years. The game and one time the requirements were fairly stiff arm you had to know the Morse code. The beginners license is still needed five words per minute okay. And then depending upon the grade of license. You had to take a written exam off the beginners license was given by a volunteer. Other than that you have to go tour and FCC field office in. Well for us who would be New York City or Philadelphia. Sit down take the code tests take the written exam. And the atmosphere there was very nerve thing. Would be like going to the IRS to be audited or -- And so that's the way it was but nowadays. There's no more code test. People still use the code. Because it's a kind of international language Shah. But. You don't need to know what to get the license anymore. There are several grades. Of license with increasing frequency you privileges. Side. It's just pay written exam and to volunteer examiners. Can give the test. -- gossip club. Gives -- -- what we call our annual -- fast. Which is the first Sunday of July. In the morning. That. -- point you in a minute what -- fast is. But we have the exams available for anybody who wants to take them. Other radio clubs do the same thing Columbia -- tour knock down in bloom -- Is an example. And you could look some of these clubs up on the Internet. So then you might be asking what is I -- fast. Well. We don't get the port can put to close on NN have all that. What it is there's a flea market. Basically for geeks. They'll sell used radio. Computer and electronic equipment. And parts. Some of -- sold users get around there just to follow our life changes on the IP weigh in are from places turned down god card -- people are -- -- -- received their rivals cartridge cartridge tape machine brag yes she will sometimes Feingold broadcast equipment third true. It's mostly amateur radio equipment. Shortwave receivers. You name it you'll find it if it has anything to do with the electronics. Even old computers with a five inch hard drives hard on them. That's how -- some of that stuff says tell us in general in addition and -- what the murder -- radio club dies. Well we do some of the public service communications. We had discussed they do things for walk ons. We have our weekly our weekly we have our monthly meetings. Which are over at the PP and L office buildings. Near Baltimore drive from different planes. That's on the first Wednesday of each month and 8 PM. The meanings -- won't have a business meeting will have a program. And the program will be about various radio topics. But we also are involved in some of the contests. Now contest an amateur radio. Means that you get on the air as an individual as a club. And see how many contacts you can make you know how many different areas. Over let's say a 2440. Hour 48 hour period. There's a VHF contest. Where we would go up on red rock mountains. There one of these in June 1 of these in September. And I'm frequencies that normally would be a line of sight that would be good for local work. We would be getting into Canada -- and down into the southern states. And we would have a ball and just being out there in the fresh air and up there in the mountains. Those are some of our activities. We have field day. Which. Is basically a contest we set up overran it Frances slocum state park. We'll set up some -- or trailers with radio equipment in them string temporary wire antennas up into the trees. And on that Saturday evening will also have food out there were open to anyone who wants to visit. So we do things like that to some of our activities are social. Some of them are strictly radio oriented. So. Well we run the gamut. Lol lol we'll get a chance to tell everybody how to get involved if they want sales Isaiah 56 -- Monday arrogant about top form and it's laugher with us -- the last south from mom among other things the -- S radio club in no wilkes-barre. And a -- no matter radio -- he's -- And they said this sounds like fun. How I get involved what are you know and also I guess along the same side is there a website it is more information on -- getting a task that kind of thing. Well if you're in the world Sperry area stop them and see our radio club. It's the first Wednesday of every month at the PP and L office building. And that's over by Baltimore dries implying he's ten. Now there is a web site. WW WL. Eight RRL. Dot org that the American radio American radio relay league. They have information on the exams on people who are giving them. And they also sells a lot of excellent books. You can find study guides for the exams Zune. And books I'd go more deeply into the theory if you're interested in the electronics. So that site is a gold mine. If you're interested in. More of the technical things. Www. RS GB dot -- Is a good place to get books. That's the radio society of Great Britain thought okay as some excellent excellent publications. But. For the United States pay RL dot org is a good place and they will not steer you wrong. From Australia one final calling here jolt from haseltine Joey you're on WI OK with -- glass soft. All right well I am glad you're covering this subject this is great I mean the president of local radio play -- Michael sensory and then you open. And I just to indict every one that even if you're not a member. -- to come to our meeting on Wednesday night it's 7 o'clock at the -- fire house on saint century. It surged three yes no -- I know no well now you're welcome to -- you well my -- will be on the -- right Barack just Wednesday -- anymore would be great -- to come but this is great show did a great job are not talking about doesn't feel it would like to see you look at -- -- I think you came back a few times didn't get. So I was a member of one time these two PG. We like to see if we will continue for a while. I -- I appreciate the call thank you very much -- at a time from a night. Thank you get where -- pleasant diversion. From the normal politics and they hide charged yelling that we do a nation out to talk about something that was completely different they're not easy is about a call volume and attacks -- here. In just a lot of people thank you very thanks for having me on.