Hello, World!

Allow me to Introduce myself. My name is Greg Williams, and my amateur (ham) radio callsign is K4HSM. I live in Knoxville, Tennessee, and I am married to Jessie (K4RLJ), to whom I just celebrated my 17th wedding anniversary a few days ago.  We have 2 daughters, one of which is a ham herself (Lauren, K4LRN, and she’s had her ham radio license since she was 9!) and the other is Amber, soon to be 14, and her passion is anime and karate, where she just earned a black belt.

As you can imagine, it’s a very hectic time in the Williams’ household. Lauren is into piano and softball, and Amber is involved in her middle school’s chorus program. It makes for very little downtime.

Besides ham radio, I am into computers and geeky things that no one else probably cares about…my favorite sport is hockey, and has been for a long time. Since I am in Tennessee, my team of choice are the Nashville Predators in the NHL. There is a local hockey team in Knoxville, called the Ice Bears, and they are in the SPHL.

I am wanting to learn Linux (I keep putting it off) and tinker with Raspberry Pi and Arduino. These two components have enormous potential in ham radio and could be useful in experimenting with new modes of communication.

I’ve been a licensed ham operator since 1993. I’ve dabbled in a lot of different aspects of this amazing pastime. Some of the things I have done include:

  • Making contacts around the world
  • Talking locally of VHF and UHF
  • Talking to the Mir Space Station
  • Contests and special events
  • Receiving Slow-Scan images from the International Space Station
  • Sending text messages on shortwave through modes such as PSK-31 and JT-65
  • Launching weather balloons in to the stratosphere
  • Digital communications

Hopefully I can explain these in more detail as time moves along.

I also enjoy web site design, but I’ve slipped a bit in my work. I maintain the East Tennessee SKYWARN web site for locals to easily access weather information and radar data, as well as sign up for e-mail weather alerts. I keep promising to update and change the site around if necessary, but with two teens taking up a lot of time and money on their stuff, it’s taken a backseat.

I’ve also done work for another ham-related web site called This Week in Amateur Radio, which was a popular ham radio news service until going on an indefinite hiatus for a few years now, but there’s persistent talk about it returning some day.

I have spent the last 15+ years doing computer help desk support in some variety or another. From the “Mom & Pop” ISPs to major companies. A lot of what I have done has been support over the phone, but my current job is mainly setting up accounts for users and corresponding via email and IM chat. I’ve supported web hosting services as well,

Besides provisioning accounts, I have also been working on projects for my company to set up their new intranet site and maintain the old site while the new one is integrated. It’s a lot of javascripting but it’s good stuff and I’ve learned a lot about scripting since I began working on it.

When I’m not toying with ham radio or hunched in front of a computer, I like to go stargazing and satellite spotting. I go up to the Smoky Mountains several times a year and take in the views, day or night, from Clingman’s Dome and atop the Foothills Parkway. I have a Sony camera that I’ve been experimenting with for photography and long-exposure pictures of the stars. I’m still a novice but I am hoping to be able to photograph stars and lightning (safely!) during thunderstorms.

I have a fascination with weather, as if it wasn’t obvious already. I used to go stormchasing back in the late 80’s and early 90’s before I got smart and decided it was too dangerous, especially in East Tennessee. Still, it’s an amazing attraction that I occasionally am tempted to still want to do when the weather gets bad. However, I’ve found that helping the Weather Service by conducting SKYWARN nets on ham radio is much more productive!

I keep a weblog on another service which is dedicated specifically for ham radio stuff I’m doing. I’d like to open this one up to more generalized stuff that I find interesting and hope you will as well.