Author: Flavio Gori


I was involved in VLF/ULF radio frequency field since 1991. Not really so much time. Though this I have the pleasure to have meet, both in person that in letter, so many interesting people, that I never thought before they could even live. There are on this land people who really like to study and work just for the pleasure to discover something, following their wonderful spirit, to arrive where their heart want to go. And this place is free from money. Yes, they do not search for money, they just look for research, they just want to know how this our world live and work.
I believe this people are a big, very big part, of this Low frequency world. I'm sure they could be a very important example for the young researchers in the INSPIRE Project too.
Most of you know about people who created INSPIRE and the other who usually write on this Journal and other newsletter, dedicated to this radio range. They are very well known in the worldwide community.
This time I will take the opportunity to talk about a wonderful man who have done a very important job in this range. A man who have worked in the VLF/ULF range for about a life, also as a contractor for the NASA Space Program, since 1959, until the first MARS VIKING Mission in the 1975. He has served in some very quiet sites as Ascension Island, a place where you can do VLF research forgetting the background noise. Being a well electronic mastered man, he was (and is still) able to build himself the devices he needs. As you can understand he's able to meet the good kind of design and handling with the very high knowledge of the theoretic side of the range.
Probably, as this point, you are wondering who ever he will be. His name is Mr Jim Stoughton, living in Seattle, WA. Does anybody know him? Probably yes, Dan Levit has written about him sometimes in his column dedicated to the Natural Radio Phenomena in "The Lowdown" newsletter (edit by Long Wave Club of America) in some items.
Very unfortunately the hard noise in Seattle do not permit any kind of VLF activity to Jim, though he is still very active to produce interesting devices, useful for "our" research. Some brief resumé about his earlier space work can't go on without say about Gemini, Mercury, Apollo, Apollo-Soyuz and Viking project! What a stuff!
Back in '59 he was in Grand Bahama, serving all nights from 0000 to 0800 in the morning at the big hi-pwr xmtr site. First at the Grand Bahama GBI-03 xmtr site, then he became site chief-RF system, and responsible for all logistics, personnel training and Missions Operations of three different sites: radio xmtrs/rcvrs, Apollo EME and Command Control/Destruct range safety site. GBI being one of the great T-Storm sites in the world where he also did much research on lightning as well as VLF work. His job was as a RCA International worker, a second contractor for NASA.
He reports about the wonderful Ascension Island time: a paradise for VLF and also for Sun and sea lovers, only they have to stay very awake for the big fish going around, also near the beach. So the time there is not just for research, though not so easy, so far away from anything. In Ascension Jim could tracking also some interesting phenomena such as missiles re-entries coming in atmosphere from space at great velocities and took imagines of the Southern Cross. Some Columbia University VLF scientists came there to investigate about distant missile liftoff signatures left in the atmosphere, Jim did build his own gear and indeed verified disturbances in the VLF range. Maybe you remember a similar research made by some USA and European scientists headed by Dr Jack Dea in San Diego, in the 80's. This is a very interesting research who probably starts in the '60 from an idea of an Italian researcher who's living in USA and working at Harvard University: Dr Mario Grossi.
The space vehicle signs can be detect in the radio spectrum below 15 Hz, so this request an important antenna system, very accurate. Likely you have to consider many hours to get the best from the system. This is what one friend of mine and me have done last winter, though we could not go down than 14/15 kHz. We need more turns. Many more turns. Of course we have faced some problems connected with hum-noise, also the computer noise. In a professional lab, here in Firenze, we are trying to get close those frequencies, thanks to important collaborations.
As you can understand also in these few words, his life has been really fascinating. In the present days he is still well involved in the VLF radio range and from Seattle he is in tune with some people involved in this side of radio science. His NATURAL RADIO LAB, who is located just at his home, is able to build fascinating analog devices such as

Rhiometer (very able to detect space VLF radio waves);
T-Storm/Solar activity monitor;
Simple spheric/T-Storm monitor;
combo photon/IR level meter;
Volt auto electrical system Analyzer

just to say a few. I have purchased these items, just arrived at my home. As soon as possible I'll begin to work them and let you know how they work. I am sure these devices will be perfect. One more Jim's device is a GRAVITY WAVE DETECTOR, It'll be the next for me.
All of these are items who let us penetrate a little bit more, the secrets of our Earth and the atmosphere surrounding all of us. The Jim's instruments give us a way to investigate more in depth our physical world. They give us a way to understand, by our field sessions, how the Earth lives and works. Which kind of research could be more useful for our minds?
This kind of instruments are a real dream come true for a curious spirit like mine (I'm sure: like yours). People involved in a field research such VLF/ULF radio waves have to be interested in all the kind of scientific research, especially if connected to very low radio waves. God only know how many they are.
I think Jim has a wonderful way to spend the autumn years life, as Jim called his time, now. Ham people have to think to this, trying to not become just a push-bottons men, like someone I know, in these lazy years. Here in Europe, probably in USA too, many hams (and not only hams), are becoming lazier and lazier, like people only TV watching. They prefer look television (sometime un-understanding and no seeing too), avoiding to let the brain works on some problems incidental to radio waves propagation, or building devices, or any other kind of design and work.
This is probably not a good way to go in to the future and the young people should be warning about this risk, for their future life. The same risk is very present for the older people, who probably should stay well in tune with the new and old things, if they permit to use our mind. In this way we'll enter in the future in a better shape, not only for our body. Hi!
The very wonderful world we can experienced in these years is not enough. We have to catch the many opportunity we see in front of us. We have to keep our eyes very open to don't spoil all these opportunities. In a time rich of important and brand new items we are risking not profit these occasions driving our brains in a closed road.
Jim Stoughton gives us a hand. We should be awake enough to take it.



The Inspire Project, a NASA Educational site devoted to Very Long Radio waves and Natural Radio emissions. This article was first published in The Inspire Journal, the official Association's Newsletter:



The Long Waves Club of America, Important Association involved in Long Frequency Research: