photo of Oklahoma sunset, with ham radio callsign license plate, name, and some logos of ham radio clubs



picture of a middle aged man wearing a fluorescent yellow shirt, in front of bunch of fireweed growing in Anchorage, Alaska


I’m James Branum, KG5JST.

You can find out more about me on my website (or for my radio blog, visit To QSL, please use or LOTW. I enjoy receiving paper QSL cards but I’m sometimes slow at responding to them so if you want a fast response, please use QRZ or LOTW.

picture of my family (me, wife and stepson) standing in front of an Amtrak train

As of 2023, I mostly operate via SSB voice, digital modes (esp. FT8, FT4, JS8Call and WSPR), and FM Voice (for our local repeaters and occasional simplex).

I mostly operate lower power (5-20 watts), but sometimes use  remotes to overcome the challenges of QRP. I also do some radio stuff by bicycle, but have yet to find the perfect HF antenna to use while rolling, so I more often use my bike to get to an interesting place to operate field-day style.

I’m also an avid Shortwave radio listener (I sometimes blog about this at and in the past have broadcast programs on Shortwave and Mediumwave via purchased air time from WRMI (Okeechobee, FL, USA), WBCQ (Monticello, Maine, USA), WINB (Red Lion, PA, USA), Channel 292 (Rohrbach, Bavaria, Germany) and Unique Radio 3210 (Halls Creeks/Tamsworth, NSW, Australia), as well as on local day-time AM/medium wave station KTLR 890 AM in Oklahoma City. I also have at times broadcast to my home and a few neighbors via part 15 AM and FM.

I have also had the opportunity to visit my friends in the correspondence department at Radio Havana Cuba. I highly recommend making this a stop for any shortwave radio enthusiasts if they get to visit Havana.

When not traveling, I’m located in the Montague-Sonador neighorhood of far Northwest Oklahoma City, aka Deer Creek (locator EM15ep) in Oklahoma County.

Bio (non-radio)

  • Law: – Law Firm of James M. Branum (I primarily practice in the area of defending US servicemembers facing courts-martial or other administrative proceedings, but as a civilian).
  • Editing/Writing: I currently serve as the editor of Humanistic Judaism, a quarterly magazine of the Society for Humanistic Judaism. I also blog at
  • Interfaith Peace Activism: I currently serve an an interfaith minister with the Oklahoma Objector Community, a religious humanist community affiliated with the Objector Church
  • Father and Husband: I’m a step-dad (and home school teacher) to an awesome teenager, and also am a husband to a physician/writer here in Oklahoma.


Since I do a lot of portable/field-day style operations (mostly digital), I use several callsign suffixes, etc to enable more efficient and accurate logging, especially for folks who are gridchasing, etc.

  • KG5JST – My home QTH, EM15ep
  • KG5JST/B – I am operating while riding on a bicycle (or bicycle), or portable from a location I rode a bicycle to.
  • KG5JST/M – Operating mobile from an automobile
  • KG5JST/P – Portable
  • KG5JST/KH6 – Operated near Waikoloa Village on the Big Island of Hawaii (June 2022)
  • VP2V/KG5JST – Operating on Tortola, British Virgin Islands
  • KP2/KG5JST – operating in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
  • KG5JST/HR9 – operating on Roatan Island, Honduras
  • KG5JST/14 – Operating in grid EM14
  • KG5JST/880 – Receiving only with my Tecsun 880, most often at EM15ep
  • KP4/KG5JST – Operating via remote in Puerto Rico
  • W1M/KG5JST – Operating via remote in Athens, Maine, USA

Non-Ham Callsigns

  • WRQD513 – GMRS
  • WQYG399 – GMRS (former)
  • KJMB73065 – CB (former)


  • Transceivers:
    • Xiegu G90: My primary HF transceiver for SSB, 20 watts max
    • Xiegu GM1 Core: QRP 5 watts, mostly used for digital modes. Bands: 15, 20, 40 and 80 meters.
    • Yaesu FT-817: was my primary HF transceiver, but now having problems on transmission. I’ve struck out on troubleshooting and will likely need to send it off for repairs.
    • Yaesu FT-65R – My current VHF/UHF Handytalkie. I bought it at HamHoliday 2023 and so far really like it.
    • Baofeng UV-5RRA – My first radio. I know they get a bad rap by many but it is hard to beat their price. They work fine for hitting local repeaters as long as you switch out the antenna. On Simplex they can be pretty frustrating as they do not have very sensitiver receivers. I have several of them and they work well for what they are made to do. All hams should have at least one Baofeng.
  • Tuners
    • LDG Z-817 Autotuner (works well with the Yaesu FT-817)
    • MFJ-941E – A really nice manual tuner, purchased for $50 at Ham Holiday in OKC.
    • MFJ-9201 – A QRP backpacker tuner, with one major issue. The ANT and TX connectors get looser and looser over time, eventually requiring resoldering, and more resoldering. This design flaw is very unfortunate and frustrating.
  • Antennas:
    • My home setup: a 20 meter ham stick vertical, a wire dipole (cut for 40 meters), a CB antenna and a magmount VHF/UHF antenna.  I unfortunately have to deal with HOA rules but have been pleasantly surprised by what is possible with some creativity.
    • Bike mobile: I’m still experimenting with several options but mostly I use either a CB antenna or my 20 meter hamstick, mounted to the frame of my bike, but this is a bit cumbersome when riding under trees (full height to the top after mounting is around 12 foot!). For VHF/UHF I use the Nagoya antenna attached to my HT.
    • Portable: Still working to find a a good solution for HF, but most of the time use a backpacker antenna with a wandering lead.
  • Receivers:
    • CCrane Skywave SSB – My favorite radio receiver, super small, tiny power consumption but it receives FT8 modes just fine in USB mode. I had a great time in 2019 taking this radio with me to Cuba, the US and British Virgin Islands and the Bahamas and it worked well everywhere. After 4 years it is pretty beat up so I’m using it less than I used to.
    • Techsun PL-880 – an amazing radio that does a great job of receiving FT8 via SSB. (normally ID’d on WSPRnet as “KG5JST/880”). It has a nice sound but is not easy on battery life. I definitely recommend the spare batteries.
    • Zachtek WSPR receiver for 20 meters (normally ID’d on the WSPRnet as “KG5JST/0”) – retired from service due to issues with the audio jack. It did work well for awhile though.
    • A multitude of portable shortwave receivers— I really need to pare down my collection..
  • Other Stuff:
    • SignaLink USB – I recently switched to it for my digital interface and thus far I like it.
    • Wolphilink Interface — not only can be used with the WSPR beacon and other android apps, but with some tweaking it can be used for most FT-8 and other digital modes via a computer. Unfortunately the manufacturer is no longer making these.
    • Lithium Ion batteries (far superior to sealed lead acid batteries!




  • At my Home QTH (EM15ep) — I use the Splashtop software (I used to use teamviewer but gave up on them due to buggyness and cost) while traveling to remotely control my computer at home, which i can use to do weak signal modes (FT8, JS8Call, etc.).
  • via
    • KP4/KG5JST (in Palmas, Arroyo, Puerto Rico)QSL Card for: KP4/KG5JST
    • W1/KG5JST (Danbury and Chaplain, CT, USA
    • W1M/KG5JST (Athens, Maine, USA)
    • KG5JST/W1 (Oreans, Massachusets, USA in the very rare FN51 grid.
  • Via
    • KG5JST/W2 (courtesy of the Methow Valley Amateur Radio Club in Washington).

Special Event Stations

  • CQ Pride Event– June 2024 – CQ Pride Event – I got to be one of the operators for this event. Here are my personal stats:
    • N6B – 47 Digital QSO’s
    • N6G – 40 Digital QSO’s
    • N6L – 16 Digital QSO’s
    • N6T – 46 Digital QSO’s
  • W5J – June 2022 – Kick-off event for the OKC Jewish Ham Radio Club, happening during field day.
  • W5V – July 23-August 1, 2021 – Promoting COVID Vaccine Awareness
  • W5G – August 2020 – 103rd Anniversary of the Oklahoma Green Corn Rebellion.
  • KG5JST/M – I did a pandemic field day from a cabin in Southeast Oklahoma.
  • W6K – September 2019 – I got to be one of the operators for the Route 66 Oklahoma City Special Event Station on 40 meters FT-8.
  • W5G, August 2019 – 102nd Anniversary of the Oklahoma Green Corn Rebellion
  • W5G, August 1-13, 2018 – 101st anniversary of Oklahoma Green Corn Rebellion
  • W5G, August 2017 – 100th anniversary of Oklahoma Green Corn Rebellion
  • W5O, Nov. 13-16, 2015 – 29th Annual Oklahoma Fall Peace FestivalQSL card for W5O for OKC Peace Festival

Other Special Activities

Awards and Certificates


Certificate - ARRL Worked All States