March 16, 2013. The episode count is now officially 67, but since some episodes contain multiple programs, we've really done 98 of them. But we're stuck with the official 'episode count,' so I guess we'll wait to celebrate.
DOWNLOAD HAMRADIONOW? Most of you watch the programs 'streaming,' either on our web site, on the hosting site (Blip.tv), or on YouTube. As of February 2013, we're also available on iTunes, and the big deal there is that... with the iTunes app... you can download
the programs for free. You can stream the programs on the iTunes web
site. You need the app (for Windows or Mac) to download. We get an
occasional request for "a DVD." Somebody wants to play a HAMRADIONOW
program at a club meeting (YAY!) and they wisely don't trust live
Internet delivery. The iTunes app is the fast DIY way to do that,
unless something goes wrong. It works for me, but I've already heard
horror stories. So failing that, I can send links for a few downloads
through YouSendIt. Not the whole library, please! If you absolutely must have physical media, send me email to email@example.com and I'll figure it out. The entry below for September 29. 2012 has more on that, as does the bottom of this page.
September 29, 2012. What...
twice a year is too often to update a 'blog'? Sorry. I've been pretty
busy with HamRadioNow. Episodes into the mid-20's now, but some of them
have a dozen or more programs in them, so technically I've done about
40 HamRadioNow shows. I don't want to be 'promotional' here, so not too
much to say. I'm on this page because I needed to update the DVD
ordering info at the bottom. I'm not making DVDs of HamRadioNow
programs for sale routinely. I'll do something by special request. I
prefer to send an 'mp4' file on DVD if you need physical media. Send me
email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll work something out. I can also send
links for downloading programs by request. They're typically 1GB or
more, so know your limits. If you know how to download from YouTube,
feel free. Well, it's OK with me, but it's not really OK with them.
February 28, 2012. Ham Radio Now.TV I was having too much fun (and getting such an ego boost) from my guest-host stints on Bob Heil's Ham Nation. But I realized there was a lot I wanted to do that wouldn't fit in Ham Nation. Add all the Leo Laporte
kool-aid I was ingesting about how Internet based TV was about to take
off, and I realized that there was something I could do to make ARVN
what I really wanted it to be — a topical, immediate source of
interesting ham radio television programming. I could create my own
on-line Ham Radio television program. And so I did: HamRadioNow.
one was to create a name, step two was to secure a web domain for
that name, and step three was to get some programming. That fell
together with the 2012 Orlando HamCation. I don't recall exactly how I
came up with "Ham Radio Now," but when I did, I was sure it would
already be in use, and unavailable as a dot-com on the web. Wrong! It
wasn't in use, best I could tell through extensive Google searches, and
the web site had just been released by the previous owner.
was a little tense, as I had to buy it at auction, and I wouldn't
know if I got it until the noon opening of the HamCation. Then a
curve ball: I won the auction (nobody else bid), but I had to wait another
week while the previous owner was offered the opportunity to buy it
back. I'd exchanged email with him (a retired broadcast engineer in
Florida) and he said he'd hoped to do something with it, but couldn't
for health reasons. So I didn't expect him to reinstate it, but I had
to wait anyway. The week passed, and HamRadioNow.com was transferred to
me. BUT, I really like the domain HamRadioNow.TV
better. I think it says more about the program. So that's how I'll be
branding it. I needed dot-com because that's how people think. Either
will work (and by the way, "ARVN.com" is in a warehouse and they
think I'm rich, so forget it).
Ham Radio Now is now filling up
with interviews I did at Orlando. Soon I'll be recording more
interviews, mostly over Skype, with hams in-the-know about topics in
the headlines, so stay tuned. There should be something every week,
I'm not going to stop doing seminars and documentaries. I just needed more to do (cue insane laughter).
And oh, yes, to pay for it all. As you'll see on the pig-page,
I've come up with the nice, round number of 10,000 hams, $10/year. Can
that be done? I don't know. A few of my videos have hit well over
20,000 views. Most are well shy of that 10k figure. But then most are
previews or promos, not full programs. We'll see. I don't need everyone
wartching everything. Just 10,000 hams who each find enough that
they're willing to kick in ten bucks a year. OK, I'm a dreamer. Cyndi's
excited. She wants to retire.
January 2012. On-Line Video! And now for something completely different from ARVN. With the release of the 2011 ARRL/TAPR DCC
video, we're trying something new. We released all those videos on the
web (on YouTube). Full length, high-definition video, not just a
highlights promo. Now that doesn't make us any money, but McDonalds
still expects us to fork over $6 for a Happy Meal (actually, I haven't
bought a Happy Meal in... welll... ever. So I'm guessing about the $6.
But you get the idea). So, how do we make money?
We ask you to just send it in. See that little piggy bank over there on the right? That's Arvin, our new mascot. Click on him (I think he's a him... not sure), and he'll take you to our contribution page, where you can volunteer to send us some dough. I guess you can call it a shareware
approach to video. You send whatever you think the program was worth to
you. We're only a few days into it as I write this. I'm gratified
by the fact that the average contribution is about $15, even though the
minimum is $1.50. Yay, viewers! It's still very early in the process,
so I have no conclusions about how well it's working. See me in
February. I do know that if this doesn't work, we'll try another
on-line option. It won't be as free and easy.
December 2011. We have a new domain: ARVN.TV! The 'dot TV' domain
became available a few years ago. Moving with my usual glacial pace, I
finally got around to buying the ARVN.TV domain this month. Now, the
rest of the story (and it looks like I need to start a blog...)
The ARVN Story...Ham radio is slowly beginning to embrace
video, about 15 years behind
most other industries.*
We're seeing a ton of crap on YouTube, some halfway decent talk-show
and demo stuff, but just about no fully produced documentary type
video editor since the early 1970's, a ham since the mid 60's, and with
the advent of affordable, high-quality "desktop video" I decided to
have some fun documenting various aspects of ham radio by producing the
highest quality video programs I could on a shoestring
Championships is my first full-fledged
production. In 2008 I released my second, Digital
for Amateur Radio, and
in a couple of
Hamvention Tours (2007 and 2009), and a bunch of
seminars and forums shot at Dayton and at the ARRL/TAPR
conferences in Chicago. This year sees my newest documentary, The Last BIG
Field Day. The list is growing long!
What are you doing at your
Who's the market? Hams, of course. At less than $25
feature DVD's, I think some individual hams would enjoy having a
collection to watch and show friends. But mostly I'm seeing
clubs latch onto them as meeting programs.
the documentaries to 40 minutes or less - that's about as long as most
can tolerate. The Last
BIG Field Day has
a bunch of "bonus" material. Some of the seminars would make good club
meeting programs, too. They usually are more technical (answering a
common complaint about club meeting programs), and most of them are
less than an hour. All the DVDs are extensively indexed so you can find
specific topics easily. Perhaps
you'll let whoever is responsible for your
club's programs know about ARVN!
Profit? Streaming for Profit?
As I've described ARVN to many hams, I get two consistent comments....
The first thing people tell me is that hams are cheap.
You'll never get them to spend money on these programs. I
enough experience now to show that's not completely true. As hams
they've been buying the programs. Sales run between 100 and 300 per
title, so hardly a runaway success, but enough to keep at it.
Alas, ARVN can't be a charity or a
library. If I cover my costs and make a little money off of
I'll keep doing it (the feature programs like "Digital Voice" and "The
Last BIG Field Day" take well over
to produce, so maybe I need to make more than "a little" money off of
Every year we do a
Second, some hams ask if I'll be streaming the videos on the
web. My answer: Yes. See the 'blog' above.
A few people have wondered if the programs can be played on community
access cable TV. Until now, I've said 'no.' Now that most of my
content is on-line, and the DVDs are getting kind of old, I'll change
that to 'yes.' If you know a community access channel that would like
my programs, send email to email@example.com.
embed the video I've put on the web on your web site using YouTube's
embed tools. Just keep my contribution pitch attached, and please post
a link to the ARVN web site, www.ARVN.TV.or the HamRadioNow site, www.HamRadioNow.tv.
KN4AQ shooting an interview for the
ARDF Championships documentary
of Joe Moell K0OV)
KN4AQ (then WA9NSO) circa 1982,
in Edit Room Four at Optimus in Chicago.
just me, though I get some help from family, friends and the
occasional hired-gun professional. I've been making radio and
programs and commercials since high school back in the 60's.
I've been a ham that long, too, starting as WN9NSO in
1965. I'm a writer, too. Earlier this century I wrote for and
columns for CQ and CQ VHF;
September 2007 QST carried my
feature article on
"Operating D-STAR;" I'm now a fairly regular equipment reviewer for
QST; and I wrote
the VHF/UHF FM-DV chapter of the ARRL
You can download PDFs of some of the articles on my OtherStuff
I'm a freelance audio/video engineer, editor, producer and voice-talent. You might have heard me as
the announcer on Travelocity
radio and TV
commercials (I was the announcer, not the Gnome. Click
Gnome picture to link to one of the commercials on YouTube). That
series of spots
ended in 2007. My non-ham video production company is Blind Cat Video.
You'll find some demo material there if you need
some video or voice-over work done. The picture to the left is me in
1982, editing on an Ampex system at Optimus
in Chicago. The equipment
that supported that room cost over a million bucks. Pretty impressive!
Yes, I knew what every button was for. And yes, I had a lot more hair.
I celebrated the 60's in the 80's.
Do you have an idea for a program you'd like to see. Are you
involved in an activity you think would make a good HamRadioNow Episode?
Comments on the videos you've seen? Problems? Send
me some mail!
*Some of the
DXpedition videos are very
Magazine produced a very professional series of "how-to's"
the early 90's (you'll see my wife, Cyndi KD4ACW, getting bitten by the
Bug in the DX Video). The ARRL also
has a catalog of
videos, some for sale and some they loan free. The ones I've
the "home movie" class of production. Many are available only
VHS and they're getting kind of old. Nothing wrong with
that! I encourage you to check the catalogs and look for
interesting titles. They can be informative and could make a
club meeting program.
And there's more and more video on the web. ICOM
their own series, and there's a ton of ham video on YouTube
and other individual sites. But still, little really polished
production. My customers have told me that ARVN makes a difference they're willing to pay for.
I want to give a special plug to this web site: www.amateurlogic.tv.
These guys have been putting together a 30 to 45 minute "podcast"
video every few months for several years. And they give it
for free! Production values are a little rough, but they try
neat stuff. They get a little more technical than I
will. And I've recently discoverd the videos of a young ham, Chris
N7ICE. He's going to give me some competiton some
him at his web site: 73s.org.
site is also got something called "social newtorking." You know, I'm
well aware of things like Facebook and Twitter. ARVN now has a Facebook
page! I see the value, but don't spend much time with it. You go, Chris!
In May, 2011, Bob Heil
K9EID launched Ham Nation on TWiT
Week in Technology), an on-line network that features a bunch of
technology-related programs. Ham Nation is a weekly one-hour talk show.
You can see it produced live on Tuesday about 9 PM eastern. The
programs are then available for streaming/download. There's not a lot
of production — it's mostly live interviews, and Bob's got the juice to
bring in the top people. Bob brought me in to be
the guest host for a bunch of programs in 2011. He's moved on to other people, and I moved on to HamRadioNow.tv, but I enjoyed it.
In 2011 I bought three High Definition cameras, so HamRadioNow is shot in High Def.
I shoot with a Sony Z5 HDV camera (and two Sony
HC9's – the photo above shows my old PD170), and I edit on Adobe
Premiere PRO CS6. I have a set of wireless mics (two
TR-50 lavs and two EV RE-50 hand mics using Sennheiser wireless TX/RX
the 640 MHz spectrum). This makes "broadcast quality" video
excellent sound. I use a program called Wirecast to produce some of the
'studio' episodes. I output the programs as 720p 'mp4' video files, and
upload them to Blip.tv and YouTube. Blip has a 1.5GB size limit, so I
set the encode rate to stay below that. It's usually 3 mpbs or better,
and I think they look pretty good. I make an archive of the program in
1080p, usually at 6 mpbs (under 4GB to store on a DVD).
I'm not making DVDs of HamRadioNow, so this info is for those interested in the old ARVN DVDs: The DVD's are "NTSC
Standard Definition" - that's 525 scan lines, 30 frames per
second. If you are outside North America, you may need a
multi-standard TV/monitor, or a converter to play them.
I have received reports that the videos play fine on
computers equipped for DVD playback. I do NOT restrict them
regional DVD playback. If you're outside the USA and you want
give it a try, I'll refund your purchase if you can't get it to play.
"Home made" DVDs are notorious for playback problems, usually freezing,
stuttering or skipping. Mine aren't immune. I've scoured the web for
information, but I've found no universal solutions. I'm trying the best
tips I've found: using high-grade 8x blank media, and burning at low
speed (usually 4x), and keeping the encoded data rate below 7Mbps. That
seems to have done the trick, and I'm seeing very few returns. If you
have a problem with
an ARVN DVD, let me know and I'll replace it free. I "spot-check"
each DVD before it goes out to make sure it plays, but I can't watch
them all the way through. And even if I could, DVDs that play fine on
one player may have problems on another.