is my virtual playground where I share my hobbies and interests. Through
this site and my newly launched YouTube and social media pages, I hope to
specifically show how exciting and fun learning to be a ham radio operator can
be. I've been interested in radio all of my life, but only recently took
the steps needed to become a licensed ham radio operator. I'm learning a
lot more than I thought was ever involved in amateur radio - and it's
amazing! I volunteer at my local radio club and I hope to share the
lessons I'm learning along this journey to becoming a ham on the air!
I guess you found the website because you're here! My site started out way
back in the 1990s (so you'll see a lot of it still looks embarrassingly
old-school). I prefer to have full control over the HTML code on the site,
plus much of the existing content is already in place - so the site is a work in
progress. But it's a place to share my corner of the Internet with you.
video is part of my ARRL Orlando HamCation series. This episode focuses a
little less on radio and more on the travel aspect of HamCation. Although
I do show the HamCation site and a few scenes from the event, I focus this
time more on how you can make the most of your Orlando and Central Florida
area visit with the least amount of money (and most amount of fun)! This
video will show you how I turned my HamCation into a low-cost extended
vacation. My road trips include a visit to the space coast to watch a
rocket launch (and tips on where you can watch a launch), and some classic
roadside attractions (like alligator farms and the historic Desert Inn).
You'll also learn about Fort Christmas and the town where Christmas is
celebrated all year round. If you like wildlife, history, exciting
amusements, awesome scenery, along with radio communication - you'll enjoy
Orlando HamCation this year, I was invited to tour an amazing shortwave
radio station in Okeechobee Florida - just a short drive south of Orlando
into the vast open tropical farmland on the outskirts of the Everglades.
It was an unusually hot February day filled with adventure. I was given a
full tour of the shortwave facility and the vast antenna farm that fills a
square mile of land surrounding the station with station engineers Bob
Biermann, Don Frish, and Pat Travers. General Manager, Jeff White
discusses the history of the station and gives his insight regarding the
future of shortwave radio. Office Manager, Thais White provided warm
hospitality and made sure my visit was both educational and memorable!
About My Channel....
started a YouTube channel back in 2010, but couldn't decide on a direction to go
with it. I have a LOT of hobbies and interests and my channel became an eclectic
hodgepodge of just about anything that interested me - family adventures,
haunted places, antiques and vintage records, historic places and events.
I called it "Everything Weird & Wonderful with Don Vallone".
It gets a handful of views a few loyal subscribers. Then in 2019 I earned
my FCC amateur radio license and finally added ham radio videos to my
channel. The ham radio videos documented events at local radio clubs,
special field operating events, training presentations, travel to ham events
around the country, and interesting radio-related topics that got me
Those videos quickly became the most popular on my channel - yet
held little interest for the long-time subscribers who came for "weird and
wonderful" content! So I created a NEW channel exclusively for the
ham radio content and decided to start the companion website and Facebook pages
to better engage with other hams - the elmers and the newbies, like
myself! I hope you'll check out both my channels and subscribe to let me
know you're out there watching!
2020, I added a Facebook page to help keep all of us in contact. I hope
you'll follow the page. I'll be posting cool ham-related links that I
discover, sharing news stories, promoting ham events, and using the page to
engage conversation and interest in the hobby.
Navigating the Site
Radio Shack is Don's Ham Shack. Here you'll see the current radio equipment,
ham news and information, contest operations, latest QSOs around the world
(including a world map of contacts made), and more!
Lab is where he spends his free time
collecting and restoring antique radios and phonographs, preserving
vintage broadcasts, and cataloging antique records.
Video Lab is where Don's photography studio is located. There, you can
also learn about vintage television, vintage photos, vintage advertisement, and
even vintage ViewMaster slides!
Earth Lab you'll find his weather station, and learn about earthquakes
and even rocks and minerals!
Space Lab is where you can learn about observing the sky (the planetarium is where Don keeps
his telescope and sky journals). You can find information
upcoming sky and celestial events, and investigate strange and
Computer Lab is where Don plays with his vintage
TRS-80 Coco 2 and also dabbles with other programming and computer-related
MORE ABOUT MYSELF
up in the 70's, I was inspired by some of the most "exciting"
weather events to impact the region, such as Hurricane Agnes in '72 and
the Great Blizzard of '78. I spent much of my childhood captivated
by the weather - documenting daily climate statistics and dreaming of
being a meteorologist some day when I grew up! Eventually I earned
my degree in Meteorology - choosing to attend schools on the shore of
the Great Lake Ontario to study lake effect snow formation and
atmospheric physics. Papers I authored include studies of
Mid-Latitude Cyclogenesis and Atmospheric Refraction at Low Altitude,
and I published a weekly newspaper column discussing local weather
events called "WeatherAware". I have been a member of
the American Meteorological Society and an on-air Broadcast
Meteorologist for the Northern Finger Lakes and Western regions of New
York State. I
later pursued my Master's Degree in Secondary Science Education at the
State University of New York and taught Earth Science and Astronomy to
9th & 12th graders. I've since earned a living as a Software
Quality and Product Development Engineer for several global companies in
the graphic communications and medical diagnostics fields. I still
enjoy a good storm chase and find myself always looking to the sky
(usually with a camera or a telescope!) and waiting for the next
exciting weather event to unfold.
I'm a recently new ham radio
enthusiast, licensed in 2019. I currently hold a General FCC license.
I'm a member of several local amateur radio clubs. For me, the hobby
started out as a love for antique phonographs and radios. Before I was
even a teenager I had a wind-up Victrola and hundreds of 78 RPM records.
Then I discovered radio and began collecting AM and Shortwave sets from
the 1930s, 40's, and 50's. I am a proud member of the Antique Wireless
Association and recommend that you visit our new radio museum in
Bloomfield, New York if you haven't already been there! After I retired
I decided it was time to take my hobby to another level and get on the
air! Along with my experience from my most recent career as a software
test engineer, I am a trained meteorologist and educator. I taught high
school Earth Science and Astronomy. I've spent time as an on-air
meteorologist and presented planetarium programs to introduce school
children to the wonders of the universe around them. I have a weather
station and still love to track and monitor storms. I'm a trained
Skywarn weather spotter and my weather station provides data to the
National Weather Service and other weather organizations. I have a
weather page on my website which interfaces with my station and webcam
to provide local weather information.
ham shack includes an ICOM IC-7300 HF rig that I bought at the Dayton
Hamvention. I operate with an end-fed dipole over the roof that gets
me on the air across 80 meters through 6 meters. I'm learning CW and
have an MFJ 422 Pacesetter Morse Code Keyer/Paddle Combo with a
Bencher iambic paddle. I am a member of my local ARES/RACES
organization. My go kit includes a simple 5W Baofeng Tri-Band VHF/UHF
HT radio with a high-gain antenna and shoulder mic. I am combining my
passions for meteorology and astronomy with the ham radio community to
contribute to severe weather awareness and education, climate data, and
I currently operate a YouTube channel
on which I feature videos that document my ham radio journey - sharing
the knowledge and experiences that make the hobby fun and exciting. I
visit interesting radio-related venues, hamfests, and conventions as I
persue my hobby. As a videographer for the Rochester Amateur Radio Club,
I am helping to bring the flavor of club events and educational
presentations to new audiences and new hams via YouTube. I'd be honored
if you were to visit and subscribe to my channel. I release a new video
every week. Here is a link to my ham radio playlist. I also have other
videos not related to ham radio if you also happen to be interested in
history, travel, weather, astronomy, geology, antiques, vintage audio
and video, and all things weird and wonderful.