Italian Amateur Radio Station IZ4JFD

The Operator

My story, as a ham radio operator and as a person, including all situations shared by both experiences.

  • 1972

    This story begins at the Galliera Hospital, in Genoa. It's 8.45 AM on a September morning like any other.

  • April 4, 1978

    The first episode of the Japanese anime "UFO Robot Grendizer" goes on the air in Italy. It will ignite my passion for Japanese manga and anime, and will make a fundamental contribution to my passion for technology.

  • Easter 1986

    During the vacation days, in the cellar of the Brancaleone house that will become my first QTH, I find a pair of Midland 75-764B walkie-talkies, 3 channels each. The first QSOs, the first friendships born via radio. Everyone has a nickname, I need mine too. A family friend, with a deep love for hunting, suggests one: I'm CB Sparviero (Sparrow). But the summer of 1986 - with its crazy pace - will take priority. My infatuation with the radio goes on hiatus.

  • Spring 1988

    A failure to my Commodore 64 prevents me from enjoying my favorite videogames for a long time. This reminds me of my 3-channels Midland radios and the friends I met on the air two years earlier. Some of them are no longer CB operators. Even if slowly, defections from the citizens band begin.
    This overwhelming mass phenomenon, which arised a few decades earlier, is no longer as overwhelming as it was in the beginning. Those who lived it with passion are still active in the band. For those who lived it only as a fashion, disinterest begins.

  • September 1988

    My "first time" at the Piacenza Ham Fair, where I buy a CTE F16 preamplified microphone. Shortly after, at the Italcom shop in Fidenza, my first "shack": a Midland/CTE 77-800 40 channels, AM, 5W radio.

  • September 1989

    I turn the room where my Grandfather Vito had his tailoring lab into my first radio room. Outside of it, my first external antenna: a self-made half-wave dipole, with an ERE balun (bought at the Italcom shop...) in the center. My first base station is complete, and it includes a Zetagi M27 matchbox and a Comet CF-30MR low pass filter, both purchased at the Mas.Car. shop in Rome.

  • October 29, 1989

    My first DX, on channel 37 (AM): my correspondent is 26 AB 3 Julian, from Dagenham (London). I don't have a DXer callsign, so I invent one on the fly using my initials: I'm station VP (Victor Papa). After the QSO, I can't think about anything else all day long. I write a confirmation QSL letter to Julian, sent as registered mail. However, I will never receive a reply.

  • December 1989

    I trade (at the Italcom shop...) my Midland/CTE 77-800 with a brand new Midland/CTE Alan 27. A few months earlier, I saw it on the cover of the Italian electronics magazine "CQ Elettronica". Since then, it was my obsession.
    In addition, I send the request for a SWL license to the Italian Post and Telecommunications Ministry.

  • September 1990

    One of the best months in my life.
    Coming of age.
    Shortly before, my Family presented me with a Kenwood R5000 and a Comet CRZ-12DB active antenna. With the money "collected" from my Relatives, I buy a Wega 27 from Eco Antenne, my first 11 meters vertical antenna (5/8). From my Friends, I receive a President Lincoln and a CTE A300 linear amplifier.
    Second time at the Piacenza Ham Fair: I get back home with a Midland/CTE Alan 48 radio and the VC-20 module for VHF reception with the Kenwood R5000.
    I start my DXer activity with the 1KRN01 callsign. Shortly before my last High School year, I send the request for a CB license to the Italian Authority.

  • December 1990

    I get my SWL license.

  • January 15, 1991

    The First Gulf War begins. For the duration of the conflict, I enjoy decoding clear-text RTTY broadcasts from international news Agencies, to read the news on the progress of the war with the Kenwood R5000, the Commodore 64 and a self-made interface.

  • Summer 1991

    The most prolific period in my personal history as a DXer on 11 meters. After the end of the High School graduation exams (July 8, 1991), no one day has passed without me making a QSO with Italian or foreign stations. The peak is September 10, 1991: on that single day, I received 20 QSLs.

  • October 1991

    After enrolling at the University of Parma, I move from Brancaleone to Salsomaggiore Terme. I take my CB and SWL stations with me. The only antenna that I can use on 11 meters is a Mini Boomerang by Eco Antenne, which I buy at the Italcom shop (17,000 Italian Lire, at the time) and install on one of the balconies of my apartment.
    Meanwhile, one year after my request, I receive my CB license. I go on the air as CB Vampiro (Vampire). The other operators call me "the Vampire from Salso", since there is another station in Tabiano Terme (very close to Salsomaggiore Terme) with the same nickname.

  • Winter 1992

    With the Albertville Winter Olympics, I relive the glories (of the same period) of the previous year and begin to receive images of the Games and current events, as well as weather maps, transmitted via radiofax by European press Agencies. Studying, however, is taking up an increasingly large amount of my time. Soon after that, my activities as a CB and as a SWL de facto come to a halt.

  • Autumn 1994 - Spring 1995

    After returning to Brancaleone, I'm again on the air.
    For me, it's the last season of the 2nd millennium as a CB and a DXer. I have already sold my Wega 27 to a friend, the only antenna I have left is the Mini Boomerang I bought 3 years earlier.
    For the Locride area, these are the very last years during which it is possible to listen and/or participate to a QSO in the citizens band: later, the local CB will progressively become a desert.

  • October 1999 - March 2005

    After creating my first Internet account, the Net changes my life. And it rekindles my passion for videogames. To recover the money needed to buy a new PC (suitable for running my fave games), I'm about to sell all my radios and their accessories.
    This frenzy lasts until March 2005. After that, IT becomes my job, and I go back to my roots by refurbishing my President Lincoln and reinstalling my Mini Boomerang.

  • July 2005

    Minister Gasparri signs the Decree that cancels the CW RX/TX test from the ham radio licence exam program. A few days later, I send the request to participate to the next exam session.

  • Spring - Summer 2006

    I live my last season as a DXer on 11 meters (with my 1KRN01 callsign). Helped by an excellent propagation, my Mini Boomerang and a Magnum ME200DX linear amplifier (a NOS item I purchased on eBay, in December 2005, directly from the manufacturer) will surprise me, making this an unforgettable experience, which climaxes with a DX with Puerto Rico during the last days of useful propagation.
    At the beginning of July, I receive the convocation to the ham radio exam session. The date is July 26, in Reggio Calabria. And everything will be fine.

  • Autumn 2006

    In September, I receive my ham radio license.
    Next, I send the request for a callsign. The answer doesn't take a long time. The Ministry for Communications has decided that I am IZ8JFD.
    Accordingly, I submit the request for the General Authorization.

  • January 2007

    The General Authorization arrives. I start setting up my first OM station, which features my President Lincoln, an Electronic Systems LB3 transverter (80/40/20m), and a self-made Windom antenna (40/20/10m).
    Thanks to the QSLs gathered on 11m in 1990/91, 1995 and 2006, I am eligible to join the Alfa Tango DX group. I am 1 AT 654.

  • March 27, 2007

    My first QSO as a ham radio operator, with the II0IDP event station, at 9.15 AM (GMT) on 40m (7047.5 kHz).

  • September 2007

    On eBay, I purchase a Kenwood TS-140S, my first ham radio RTX.

  • April 2008 - July 2009

    A very serious health problem, solved with an emergency surgery, brings my Mother one step away from death. We make it through, despite the dramatic prognosis that doctors and surgeons feared. The long convalescence (one year) that my Mother has to go through clears my radio activity.
    In Summer 2009, I buy an Asay 25AVT vertical antenna from Eco Antenne, a few months before their business is discontinued

  • January 2010 - May 2011

    During a wind storm, the Asay 25AVT is damaged and I am forced to disassemble it: the damage was caused by strong wind and the absence of the tie rods that I should have applied to the radiant stylus (and which I did not apply ...).
    I replace the Asay with another Windom (40/20/10m, again) antenna, similar to the one I used in 2007. Like two years before, I can not install it in a proper way. The effort to figure out how to do it, and the subsequent tests performed to this end, take a year before my Windom is resonant and usable on the three bands for which it was cut.

  • 2012

    I publish the website, where I present my OM, SWL and CB stations, and describe their activity.

  • February 2016 - Summer 2018

    A femur fracture and the post-surgery convalescence (disastrously managed by those who were responsible for it) force my Mother to an 8-months-long ordeal, during which she will not be able to stand and walk again, and at the end of which the sufferings She had (and the complications that occurred) will prevail on our struggle to help Her recover from all that.
    My life and my radio activity are at a standstill. It takes two years to get both of them back on their feet.
    My ham radio experience as IZ8JFD ends on November 8, 2016, the date of my last QSO with that callsign.
    Between 2017 and 2018, I plan to move from Brancaleone to Salsomaggiore Terme.

  • April 10, 2019

    I return to Salsomaggiore Terme. I enlisted in a training course which will start in 20 days, in Parma. It will be a wonderful experience.

  • 2021

    After the horrific experience of the Covid-19 pandemic, to get back to life, I return to Alfa Tango DX group almost 15 years later (now I am 1 AT 983) and reinstall my CB station using my President Lincoln and my Mini Boomerang (which I mount in the same spot, on the same balcony, on which I started using it 30 years earlier).
    On the other balcony, I mount Carmela, a short vertical for 20m which is the first antenna of my OM station, as IZ4JFD, in Salsomaggiore Terme.
    My SWL station is already up and running since a few months before the 2020 lockdown.
    At the same time, I register the domain: the publication of its content begins on September 29 2021.