Leigh Orf

A little about myself:

I am a professor of Atmospheric Science in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Central Michigan University. I study thunderstorms. Interests/hobbies of mine include noncommercial radio (broadcasting and engineering), amateur radio (my callsign is KG4ULP), audio reproduction, brewing beer, and playing the saxophone. In a former life I volunteered as both a DJ and an engineer (as well as served on various committees) at WORT, 89.9 FM for many years. WORT is one of the best community radio stations in the world. Volunteering at WORT was one of my favorite things to do, and I miss WORT terribly here in Michigan (however it is somewhat of a consolation that WORT does stream most of its shows live). I was radio engineer/straightman-co-host of the Thursday Eight O'Clock Buzz (8AM) for about 4 years. For more than 5 years I was the host of a contemporary classical radio show called Variations On A Theme which aired from 5AM to 8AM Thursday mornings. You can still hear the show at the same time but with different hosts and a different flavor.

Another of my radio experiences was being the engineer for Higher Ground, which used to air Saturday nights on the Ideas network of Wisconsin Public Radio. At the time, Higher Ground was a variety show which included live interviews, music and drama, and during my 9 months as engineer I learned how to "work the board", apply different micing techniques for different setups and gained valuable on-air engineering experience. I would like to get involved with live radio again someday, perhaps through CMU Public Radio which has its studio right on campus, and broadcasts, via several different FM transmitters, across central and northern lower Michigan.

In addition to my enthusiasm for noncommercial FM radio, I have been an avid shortwave radio listener since I was old enough to spin a tuning knob. I became a General class ham (amateur radio operator) in July 2002 and upgraded to Extra class at the 2005 Dayton Hamvention. I am still active, but somewhat sporadically. You can almost always find me on 40 meters on Saturday mornings where I have a weekly schedule with my dad (KB1ONS) who lives in Maine.

I have enjoyed playing alto saxophone in various concert bands including the Edgewood College Campus-Community Concert Band, a community/student band in Madison. From 2001-2003 I am played alto and baritone saxophone in UNC-Asheville's Campus Community Jazz band.

Music has always been an important part of my life, both performing and listening. I have put a fair amount of time into assembling/acquiring a stereo system that I enjoy listening to for hours at a time. My current setup includes a Dynaco Stereo 70 power amplifier (which has been almost entirely rebuilt - all but the output and power transformers) driving ProAc Tablette Anniversary Speakers (2012 upgrade!) and a powered SVS PB-12Plus subwoofer. I recently built a Bottlehead Foreplay III and it serves as my preamplifier. I do enjoy tubes - they sound great and glow when the lights are turned way down. My digital source is a Squeezebox, a wireless digital media player which also sounds great. I have an external DAC, the Cambridge DacMagic, which is fed by the optical output of the Squeezebox. I have ripped my entire CD collection to disk and can access any of it in seconds. Recently I put my old Marantz turntable back into service, fitting it with an Audio Technicha AT440MLa cartridge, probably the best bang for the buck cartridge you will find. I also built a Hagerman Bugle phono preamp in order to feed the Bottlehead preamp, which does not have a phono stage. I am quite satisfied with the combination. I occasionally still buy vinyl, new and old. Mostly I get stuff from the '70s which sounds like crap in digital form due to poor remastering and the ever escalating loudness war.

In 1999 I remastered a few Grateful Dead shows from the Port Chester, NY run of February, 1971 which still circulate today. You can read more about that here. If you are interested in trying to remove noise from recordings you may be interested in this although some of the information is out of date (but not the sentiment).

Finally, being a weather/computer geek, getting a weather station up and running was a natural thing to do, and I've been reporting data for a few years now (since June 13, 2005). I use the Peet Bros Ultimeter 2100 system. I report to The Weather Underground and also The Citizen Weather Observation Program. Click here for a flash widget which shows updates every three seconds (courtesy of the Weather Underground). NOTE: Due to a bad sensor I am not reporting currently - problem will not be addressed until June. Inexplicably, temperature values have returned to reasonable values, and as of 4/4/11 I have begun reporting data again.

You may or may not be interested in knowing some of the hassle I've gone through to get my weather station to a stable state which regularly reports good data. I've kept a log of all the updates I've done to my station. The only problems I am currently having are not related to the hardware itself, but to the computer which inputs the data and sends it out. It's a routerboard, doubling as a wireless access point, running Linux. I've written about it here at great length.

You can contact me by emailing . I get about 100 spam emails a day to that address and have some serious filtering in place. If you send me email, there is a small chance it could be caught by my filters such that I never read it. If you send email from a verified email address it should get through without a problem.