My Radio Life by

My Radio Life by
saving my allowance and picking up what money I
could as well as getting a commitment of financial
aid from my folks. So, in 1937 before we moved
from St. Paul, Minnesota to Washington, DC, I
managed to buy a Philco mantel model radio. It had
the regular broadcast band plus TWO short wave
segments. One of these brought in police calls,
which I found fascinating. The other band spanned
from about 6 megacycles to around 18 megacycles.
I started listing to hams on 20 meters and was
hooked by the thought of becoming one. I listened to
the BBC and was entranced by the sound of Big Ben.
I heard the ranting of Adolf Hitler on the German
radio. This radio stuff was all very interesting to me.
In the 5th grade, we had library day. We
would walk from the school to the local Saint
Anthony Park Library about a block away. Most of
my classmates looked for the kinds of books tenyear-olds should be interested in, but not me. I had
discovered the Radio Amateur's Handbook, then a
relatively small publication put out by some outfit in
Connecticut called the American Radio Relay
League. I would immediately go to the shelf where
that intriguing book was located, take it down and
peruse the pictures and drawings contained within
the some 200 pages. I couldn't understand the circles
and jagged lines, but I was fascinated by them
nevertheless.
Just before leaving St. Paul, while in the Cub
Scouts, I met my Den Leader's younger brother. I
remember his name was Walter Fish. He was about
18 and studying to become a ham. I remember
visiting him one evening and seeing the 160 meter
phone transmitter he had just completed. It was built
on a piece of wood, about 1-1/2 by 2 feet and had
many glowing tubes. He had it hooked up to a light
bulb as a dummy load and had screwed up the
trimmers on a broadcast set so it could receive 160
meters. I recall being transfixed by him turning the
transmitter on and seeing the light bulb glow brightly.
Then, when he talked into the microphone, you could
hear him come out of the speaker and the bulb would
get brighter with each word he spoke.
I was hooked. But then we moved.
About 1939, I was no longer satisfied with
My Radio Life
by
Bill Tynan, W3XO
Others have written in the Static of how they
became interested in Amateur Radio and various
HCARC members have urged me to do the same.
So, here goes. I hope my story doesn't bore
you too much. It's quite long, because I’ve been
around for quite a while.
I remember first being entranced by radio at
age three. Possibly what sparked my interest, even at
that young age, was because my Dad, in 1929,
bought a radio. He had waited until
superheterodynes became available and cheaper.
The thing was in a box which my parents mounted up
in the shelves above a desk. The speaker was
separate and placed in a corner behind a chair.
I can remember being fascinated by Dad
turning the dial up in the desk and the sound
changing down behind the chair. I specifically recall
lying on the floor, with my head practically in the
speaker, listening to; "If I had the wings of an angel,
over these prison walls I would fly..."
A few years later, my Dad bought a Philco
console model with the speaker built in. I'm glad this
wasn't our first radio. I might never have become
interested in the function of this exciting new
medium. I do remember being disappointed,
however that the new set did not have short wave. I
had heard about this new strange kind of radio on
which one could receive broadcasts from countries
all over the world. But Dad opted for the less
expensive 1933 model rather than the 1934 offering
which boasted the short wave band. "People buy
these sets and only listen to short wave for a few
weeks before becoming tired of it," I remember
hearing him say in response to my pleading for a
radio that would allow me to listen to the world.
But my interest in radio persisted. I
remember one day, lying on the front lawn when I
was about six, looking up at the sky and imagining
seeing radio waves being intercepted by the wire
antenna strung across the roof of our house.
Intent on getting a short wave set, I began
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on these and obtained the license and signed up with
the Montgomery County, Maryland WERS
organization which had been issued the call letters,
WMDD.
WERS did not give one unrestricted use of
amateur frequencies. It employed the old 2-1/2 meter
band from 112 to 116 megacycles. Operation was
limited to two drill periods per week, each just 2
hours in length. Operation could also take place
during air raid drills. The closest station to me was at
the Bethesda Station of the Montgomery County
Police, about a mile and a half from my house.
But, WERS gave me a chance to meet some
real licensed hams and I began to learn a lot more,
especially learn how little I know.
I've been learning that ever since.
I also joined the Washington Radio Club and
began taking the bus down to Capital Radio
Engineering Institute at 16th Street and Park Road
where the Club held its meetings. Through the
Washington Radio Club, I met many interesting and
knowledgeable people. I learned more about radio
and the traditions of Amateur Radio, especially the
key role the ARRL played in its founding and
continued existence. One particular Elmer was Gill
Dawkins, W3EJB.
During the War, while in high school, we had
what was known as the Victory Corps. Because of
my supposed knowledge of radio, I was tapped to
teach a radio communications course as part of the
Bethesda Chevy Chase High School's Victory Corps.
I suggested to my students that a good way of
demonstrating completion of the course, was for
everyone, including me, to obtain an amateur license.
Unfortunately, my parents moved to Silver Spring
half way though the semester and Montgomery Blair
High School, where I had to go, did not have a radio
course in its Victory Corps. I was given the choice of
marching around the athletic field with a wooden
gun over my shoulder or learning Japanese. Though
I chose the Japanese course, I didn't learn much. I
always thought the instructor, who was a fellow
student, was about two lessons ahead of us - as I had
been when I was teaching radio over at BCC.
During the 1940s, reading books and
nothing more than a broadcast set with a short wave
band. I wanted a real communications receiver. I had
begun to buy radio magazines and had seen ads for
wonderful receivers such as the Halicrafters S-19R,
Sky Buddy and S-20R, Sky Champion. Even better,
were sets such as the SX-17 and SX-25. But these
were pricey for a twelve-year-old and I settled for an
AC/DC Echophone EC-1 for $19.95. It had all of the
short wave bands and even tuned up as far as 30
megacycles. In addition to 20 meters, I could listen
to 160 meters, 75 meters and 10 meters. There was
no amateur band at 15 meters in those days. There
was another strange place on the dial around 7
megacycles where all one could hear was a jumble of
noise. I didn't find out until later that this was the 40
meter band which was then entirely CW.
World War II began December 7, 1941 and
Hams were immediately banned from the air. I
remember listening to W1AW which was given
special permission to operate for about a week
following the outbreak of war to inform everyone
that all amateur operation was suspended until
further notice.
Fearing that my little AC/DC EC-1 might not
last the War, I set my sights on a Sky Buddy. By
mowing lawns and delivering newspapers, I
managed to collect enough money to go down to Sun
Radio on F Street in Washington and plunk down the
$33.95 necessary to purchase the more robust
looking receiver. The price of the Sky Buddy had
already increased from the $29.95 which had
prevailed for several years previously.
With the war on and no chance of operating
on the ham bands, I slowed in my attempts to get my
ticket. I think it's called "incentive licensing". I had
no incentive to get a license, if I couldn't use it. But,
I soon heard about something called the War
Emergency Radio Service (WERS). It would
provide me my chance to get on the air, sort of.
WERS, which was part of Civilian Defense,
was mainly staffed by hams, but one did not need an
amateur license to participate. One could be a part of
WERS with as little as a Restricted Radiotelephone
License. This only required answering a few legal
questions, no technical ones. I immediately boned up
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later. Mel was interested in the mechanism which
caused Sporadic E and had postulated that weather
conditions had something to do with it. He was
working at the Naval Research Lab in Southeast
Washington and had an apartment near there. I
remember visiting his apartment and seeing a stack
of weather maps about three feet high on the floor.
He also had several racks containing FM receivers
attached to Esterline Angus chart recorders. The FM
receivers were tuned to the frequencies of various
FM stations in places like Chicago, Cleveland and
Boston. When a chart would indicate reception via
Sporadic E, Mel would try to correlate it with
weather conditions prevailing at the time.
On graduation from high school, I attended
Washington College in Chestertown on Maryland's
Eastern Shore for one year. Of course, I took my
JFM-90 with me and installed it along with an FM
dipole in my dorm room. Remember that the FM
band was then 42 to 50 Mcs, so the dipole consisted
of wire supported on insulators mounted on a strip of
wood. Being for the 7 meter band the thing was 9
feet long. I came in for more than my share of
razzing, but I was able to hear the Philadelphia FM
stations and occasionally stations from as far away
as New York City.
During the summer of 1945, I worked at the
National Bureau of Standards Ionosphere Field
Station at Sterling, Virginia, about where Dulles
Airport is today. I learned a lot, including how to
read Ionosphere soundings. The station had an
Ionosphere sounder with one or two 813s in the final.
With a bunch of motors and gears, the thing would
sweep from about 3 Mcs to 18 or 20 Mcs. This, and
a number of direction finders, made Sterling a
fascinating place to work.
But something else was going on that
summer. The war in Europe had ended and
speculation was that the Pacific conflict might not
last too much longer. No one knew, of course. If we
had had to invade the Japanese islands, it could still
be a brutal and protracted struggle. Nevertheless,
incentive licensing reared its head. I felt that, now, I
had the incentive to obtain an amateur license. The
theory did not present much of a obstacle. From my
magazines, including QST; I became very intrigued
by the higher frequency bands as well as by a new
form of broadcasting which had begun operation in
early 1941 - frequency modulation. In those days FM
broadcasting occupied the band from 42 to 50
megacycles. There was an experimental FM station
operating in Washington on 43.2 Mcs with the call
letters, W3XO!
I first tried to listen to W3XO on my Sky
Buddy which tuned to somewhere around 45
megacycles. Of course, on a receiver designed for
AM with an IF about 10 Kilocycles wide, the 75
kilocycle deviation FM sounded awful. But, I was
listening to UHF, which VHF was called then; and I
was listening to this new kind of radio station. In
about 1943, my folks bought a used Stromberg
Carlson radio phonograph console that included the
42 to 50 Mcs FM band. I was elated. I would finally
be able to hear W3XO properly. But, I was wrong.
The set had the average sensitivity for FM radios of
the day, approximately 10 microvolts for 20 dB
quieting. W3XO was located in about the worst
place in DC for a UHF (VHF) broadcasting station,
near Wisconsin Avenue and M Street in Georgetown
- only a couple of blocks from the Potomac River.
But occasionally, during the summer months, I was
able to hear clear, although fading, FM signals from
places like Chicago. I remember particularly the
Zenith station, W51C on 45.1 Mcs. I had discovered
Sporadic E propagation and became even more
hooked on the higher frequency bands.
But I had to have something better than that
Stromberg Carlson. I had read that General Electric
had an FM tuner called the JFM-90, which boasted
a sensitivity of 4 microvolts for 20 dB quieting. I had
to have one. For my sixteenth birthday, my father
brought a JFM-90 back from New York City. He had
gone to considerable trouble to get it, having to
travel down to Cortland Street which was then "radio
row". To get there and back to his hotel, he had to use
the New York subway, a conveyance he intensely
disliked. But, I had my JFM-90 and clear reception
from W3XO.
One man I met in those days was Mel Wilson,
W1DEI, who would become a great friend years
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tube was used for both functions. The bias on the
grid was switched to cause the tube to function as a
self excited oscillator or as a superregenerative
detector. As a matter of side interest, I had bought
the DK-3 from F.E. Handy, W1BDI, who had been
a well known ARRL official before the War but was
serving as an Army officer at the War Department in
downtown DC. His son, Ed, was in my BCC Victory
Corps class. I heard later that Ed Handy did obtain
his ham license.
I was not able to get on the air myself, with
only an LSPH (Licensed Since Pearl Harbor) ticket
- no station license. Since prewar hams were
desperate to get back on the air, I was able to quickly
sell the DK-3 for a good price.
I didn't have much time for hamming anyway.
I was off to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy,
NY. Not long after arriving, I received my first
station license with the call, W3KMV. When 10
meter operation was authorized, some of us put the
RPI club station, W2SZ, back on the air. Later, we
were active, when we had time, on 20 and 75 meters.
We began a college net, with Union College in
Schenectady, Lehigh, West Point and Yale, along
with others participating.
A year after passing my Class B exam, I was
eligible to take the Class A. While home from RPI, I
went down to the FCC office in Washington and
passed the Class A and, at the same time, took the
exam for the First Class Radiotelephone License.
Not content with operating only from the
club station, I built my own rig consisting of a 6V6
crystal oscillator mounted on a 4 x 6 inch piece of
wood. The thing ran about 6 Watts and I used it on 80
meter CW from my dorm room. There was an empty
field out back with light towers at one end. So, my
half wave dipole ran from one of the towers to the
dorm building.
While at RPI, I helped start WRPI, a campus
carrier current station. I even acted as a disk jockey
one morning per week, going down the hill to the
Troy Record Shop and borrowing a stack of records,
then hauling them up the hill to play the next
morning. Then, that afternoon, I would haul them
back down again. How they there able to sell those
own reading and the tutelage of some very good
Elmers, such as W3EJB, I had only to review the
questions in the License Manual in order to assure
myself of passing the written exam. But the code was
another matter. I had sort of learned it, but never
practiced and obtained any speed. The amateur
license required one to send and receive at 13 words
per minute. There was no Novice or Technician
license with a 5 word per minute test. You did 13
WPM, or you flunked.
There was no reliable code on the air. The
hams were not yet back on. So I rented an
Instructograph machine. This was a big black box
with punched paper tapes with the code on them.
You could vary the speed from a few words per
minute up to 30 or more. Every waking moment,
when I wasn't at work out in Virginia, I listened to
code, as well as practicing my sending. By the time
the first atom bomb was exploded over Hiroshima, I
was ready to go down to the FCC and take my test
for a Class B amateur radio license. Class B was all
a newbie could get. You had to have that for a year,
before you could take the Class A which gave you
phone privileges to 20 and 75 meters. With a Class
B, you could operate CW anywhere and phone on all
bands except 20 and 75.
By the way, I had turned 18 and immediately
received my draft notice with instructions to report
for a physical. I ended up taking three physicals
before they finally gave up on me. My vision didn't
meet their standards. It's interesting that I later spent
36 years working at the Johns Hopkins Applied
Physics Laboratory on US Navy weapons systems.
I'm sure they could have found something useful for
me to do in the Service.
The War was over! And, it was only a few
weeks after VJ Day, that the government reinstated
SOME amateur operation. Those who had had
station licenses before the War were given
immediate access to the 2-1/2 meter band where
WERS had been. I had acquired an Abbot DK-3
transceiver and used it under the WERS call
WMDD-23. In those days, the term "transceiver"
meant not only that there was a combination
transmitter and receiver in one box, but that the same
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to take a job in Minneapolis. So we chose not to fight
the eviction. My folks moved into the unfinished
attic of their house and I headed for Minnesota. Of
course, I took the 829 6 meter rig with me.
I accepted a job with Minneapolis Honeywell
as a Production Expediter at their gyro plant. A
Production Expediter is the lowest form of
management and despised by everyone in positions
above and below that level. I lasted less than a year.
While in the Twin Cities, I operated on 6
meters with my 829 rig from a rented third floor
room with a wire dipole stretched across the ceiling.
Through my operation, I met many good ham friends
and managed to work 22 states during the summer of
1951.
Leaving Honeywell, I took a job with the
University of Minnesota Radio station, KUOM, a 5
kW AM on 770 Kcs. Three days per week, I was in
the studio and two days at the transmitter. It was
another chance to use my First Class Phone license
and I learned a lot about studio procedures and
practices, including how to splice audio tapes. The
station had two Ampex 300 machines, which were
the nuts in those days. By the way, I saw one of those
same machines, not one like it but the same machine,
in a radio museum in Minneapolis in 1996, 45 years
after I had worked at KUOM.
In the fall of 1951, I returned to Washington
and obtained a job with the Johns Hopkins Applied
Physics Laboratory where I remained for 36 years
rising to the level of Senior Staff Engineer. At APL,
I worked on various Navy missile programs
including Talos, Terrier, Tarter, Standard Missile
and Tomahawk. For several years, I was Chairman
of the Standard Missile Correlation Task Group,
which maintained the interfaces between various
parts of the missile itself and between it and its
shipboard fire control system. Later, I became a
Project Engineer for launch systems in the
Tomahawk program with special emphasis on
vertical launch from 688 Class attack submarines.
Just before retiring in March 1988, I oversaw the
generation of a specification to put GPS on
Tomahawk.
In Amateur Radio, I continued my 6 meter
records after all that playing and hauling by a bunch
of RPI kids, I don't know. I also spent some time at
WHAZ, RPI's 1 kW AM broadcast station on 1330.
WHAZ shared time with two New York City stations
and thus operated only six hours per week, from 6
PM until Midnight on Monday evenings. But, it gave
me a place to hang my new First Class
Radiotelephone license.
Sill interested in the higher bands, I built a 6
meter transmitter with an 829 in the final and an 815
modulator. I even used this in the dorm for a while
without much success.
While President of the RPI Radio Club, I
asked Ed Tilton, W1HDQ, then VHF Editor of QST
and author of the column devoted to the higher bands;
to appear as a guest speaker. I had been reading Ed's
columns which he had begun in 1939. They were one
of the things which had heightened my interest in the
higher frequency amateur bands. Having Ed Tilton
as a guest speaker, began a long friendship which
lasted until his death in the mid-1990s. Incidentally,
I followed Wayne Green, W2NSD, as RPI Radio
Club President. Wayne later became the publisher of
73 Magazine.
In 1950, the summer I graduated from
Rensselaer, I operated from home on 6 meters. My
folks were living in an apartment in Silver Spring by
then. Television was coming along and a few
neighbors had TV sets. My 4 element beam was on
the roof, supported by a piece of 2-by-2 stuck down
a vent pipe. Being on the first floor the 300 Ohm
twin-lead ran down the side of the building and in the
window. To rotate the antenna, I had to go up 2
flights of stairs, climb an iron ladder and lift a trap
door to get out onto the roof.
It wasn't long before my folks received and
eviction notice. It didn't cite TV interference, which
I had plenty of. It only stated that we were operating
an appliance not normal to the conduct of a
household, or words to that effect. I brought the
matter to the attention of ARRL and actually met
with Paul Segal, their General Council at the time.
The League was considering making mine a test case
because of the "normal appliance" aspect. But my
folks were completing a new home and I was about
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1968, then living in Silver Spring with a new wife
(the one I'm currently still with after 41 years), I
bought a used Swan-250 and got back on 6 meters
for Cycle 20 which proved much inferior to Cycle 19.
Nevertheless, I worked a lot on Sporadic E,
including KH6. It's a good haul on Sporadic E from
Maryland to Hawaii.
Later, I acquired the Drake twins along with
the receiving converters and transmit converters for
6 and 2. I also got on 220 and 432 and managed to
work aurora on both of those higher bands as well as
on 2 and 6.
But broadcasting had always been another of
my interests, especially FM broadcasting. About
1959, a friend who I had met on 6 meters, Bob
Carpenter, W3OTC, and I began talking about
putting on a station. We studied the rules, looked for
potential locations and began preparing an
application. We were confident we could do all of
the engineering work ourselves, which we did.
In those days, FM was only mono. The FCC
was just beginning to study the various proposals for
stereo broadcasting. When we received our
Construction Permit they still hadn't come out with
stereo rules. But we began to assemble materials to
build the station. In my early days at APL, I had
worked on weekends for WASH at its Wheaton,
Maryland transmitter site and thus knew Everett
Dillard, the station's owner. Mr. Dillard had, in the
back room, a big grey box which he had received
from Major Edwin H. Armstrong the inventor of
superregeneration, the superheterodyne and FM. The
box contained a 1 kW amplifier using a pair of
4-400s and a 3 kV power supply. It had been
employed by WASH prior to Dillard acquiring a 5
kW RCA transmitter. Mr. Dillard had later replaced
the exciter from the RCA transmitter with an REL
Serrasoid modulator, which was considered the best
available FM exciter at the time.
So, I negotiated with Mr. Dillard to buy the
big grey box AND the RCA exciter. I think we paid
about $1,000. We had also bought seven sections of
Rohn 25 tower. But the building owner where we
had contracted to put the station, demanded that the
tower be painted white. No red and white or grey for
operation from my parents' home in Chevy Chase,
Maryland. It was a very poor location with a hill to
the northeast, the direction where most of the activity
was. To help overcome this handicap, I decided I
needed a bigger antenna. Most 6 meter operators in
those days used 3 or 4 element beams. So, I built a 5
over 5 antenna and wrote it up for QST. The article
appeared in the June, 1955 issue and was reprinted in
Spanish in Rivista Tlegraphica Electronica de
Argentina two years later.
In 1956, I moved to my own home in
Rockville, Maryland and continued 6 meter
operation, but with only one of the two 5 element
beams. Now with several hundred Watts to a 4-250
modulated by a pair of 811s, I was able, for my first
time, to participate in F2 propagation, working
EI2W in Ireland CT3AE in the Madeira Islands, as
well as a number of South American, West Coast and
Alaskan stations. It was Solar Cycle 19, the biggest
yet on record.
But, radio had to contend with another
activity which entices young men. In the fall of 1958,
I got married and later sold the Rockville house to
move to an apartment in Silver Spring, in preparation
for building our own home in Burtonsville,
Maryland.
Once installed there, I became interested in
HF contesting and joined the Potomac Valley Radio
Club. PVRC is one of the foremost contest clubs in
the world and I met a lot of interesting people and
learned a great deal about operating. One of the great
people I met was Vic Clark, W4KFC, who later
became President of ARRL. Vic played a key role in
my life later on.
While active in PVRC, I participated in
Sweepstakes and DX contests, winning one Phone
Sweepstakes for the Maryland/DC Section. The high
spot of my HF contesting came in 1970, when I
operated with W1FJJ (now W1FJ) as PJ9AF from
Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles in the CQ
Worldwide Phone DX Contest. Al and I came in first
in the World in the Multi-operator/Single transmitter
category with over 48,000 points. This amounted to
over 4,800 contacts in the 48 hour contest period.
But the VHF bands were my first love and in
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transmitters needed only to note the transmitter
model on a form and they were home free. But not us.
We had to do a lot of cobbling as well as borrowing
of commercial test gear in order to perform what was
known as "Proof of Performance". Some of my old
friends from the Washington Radio Club came in
handy when we needed to borrow expensive
specialized test equipment to get the job done.
But we DID get it done, and on November 12,
1961 WHFS hit the air from a basement room in the
Bethesda Medical Building. The Nation's Capital
had its first stereo FM station.
Since news of the issuance of broadcast
Construction Permits appear regularly in
Broadcasting Magazine, the trade publication for
broadcasters, the granting of a CP to High Fidelity
Broadcasters Inc. of Bethesda, Maryland was one of
the items the magazine carried. This announcement
was seen by a young soldier at nearby Fort Mead
who was about to be released from the Army. Marlin
Taylor had worked briefly in radio in eastern
Pennsylvania before going into the Service and was
anxious to renew his broadcast career. So, he went to
the address given for our company. Bob was
surprised to see a young man in uniform show up at
his front door, and Marlin was just as surprised to
find that the headquarters for High Fidelity
Broadcasters Inc. was a modest home on a Bethesda
side street.
Bob and I hired Marlin to handle the
day-to-day operation of the station, while I retained
the official title of Station Manager and President of
High Fidelity Broadcasters Inc. Bob was Chief
Engineer and did most of the technical work.
Marlin Taylor left us before we sold WHFS
to go to Philadelphia and then on to New York
putting two stations on the maps of those two major
markets. He is currently running several channels for
XM Satellite Radio, including the 40s channel to
which I listen frequently.
A young man I hired when Marlin left was
Richard Mostow, W3YAV. Dick had some
publishing experience, having put out the yearbook
for the Washington area radio and TV performers
union.
him. So, I got a couple of painting gloves and a can
of white paint, propped each tower sections up on
sawhorses in my backyard and proceeded to paint
the tower. Then I hauled the sections, a few at a time,
on the roof of my old second-hand Plymouth, from
my home in Burtonsville to Bethesda where the
station was to be located.
In June, 1961, FCC came out with their
stereo rules. Bob and I were well on our way to
assembling equipment, but decided we had to hit the
air with stereo. If we could be first in the Washington
area with this new type of broadcasting, it should
give us a leg up. And we needed more than a leg up.
We were licensed for 1 kW at 200 feet above average
terrain whereas all the other area FM stations were
running 20 kW at 500 feet above average terrain.
But how to generate stereo. No stereo
broadcasting equipment was yet available - no
exciters or control room consoles. I had seen a
magazine article showing how CHFI in Toronto had
managed to produce stereo. The Canadians had
begun this new form of broadcasting months before
we did in the US. The article showed that CHFI had
an RCA exciter like the one we had purchased from
Mr. Dillard and that they had used this in
conjunction with a piece of H.H. Scott test
equipment that had been developed to test stereo
receivers.
That was our answer. We bought a Scott 830
Stereo Generator. But the RCA exciter required low
impedance to drive the reactance tube modulator, so
it contained a transformer to do the impedance
transformation. That would never do. To generate
acceptable stereo, one must maintain phase with one
or two degrees up to at least 150 kHz. A transformer
couldn't do that. The article I saw, said that CHFI had
employed a cathode follower to obtain the necessary
low impedance, but it provided no details on its
design.
Bob came through, designing a cathode
follower. He also built a stereo console for the
control room.
Since we had built our own transmitter, we
were required to do extensive testing to show FCC
that we met standards. Stations using commercial
7
AMSAT's first satellite and the first Amateur Radio
satellite launched on a non-military rocket. It carried
10 meter and 2 meter beacons and included a
command system which demonstrated to
the-powers-that-be that amateurs could control their
satellites.
AMSAT soon began work on another
satellite, one which would offer two-way
communication between hams on the ground using a
transponder with a 2 meter input and a 10 meter
output,
what
was
termed
"Mode
A".
AMSAT-OSCAR-6 (AO-6) was launched October
15, 1972 and immediately displayed a problem. It
had a mind of its own regarding whether it was ON
or OFF. Keeping it in the desired condition, required
what became known as "intensive use of ground
command".
While AO-6 was being built, I was asked to
become AMSAT’s Vice President for Operations. In
this post, I was responsible for coordinating the work
of various command stations which had been set up
around the world. AO-6's antics kept me and the
command stations busy for the life of the satellite.
As a member of the AMSAT Board of
Directors during the 1970s, I met Bill Dunkerly,
WA2INB, who was also serving on the Board. Bill,
at that time, was Managing Editor of QST. In need of
a conductor for that magazine’s VHF column; he,
knowing of my interest in the higher frequencies and
that I was regularly meeting a magazine column
deadline, asked me if I would like to take on the task.
I jumped at the chance, particularly since I had been
an avid reader of the column since the 1940s. My
friend, Ed Tilton, W1HDQ, was one of my heroes. I
felt honored to take over what Ed had begun and
follow in the footsteps of other notable VHF column
conductors such as Sam Harris, W1FZJ, and Bill
Smith, K0CER.
My first column appeared in the April, 1975
issue of QST and the last one in November 1992, a
span of nearly 18 years.
With encouragement from my PVRC friends,
I studied both theory and copied code from W1AW
in anticipation of taking the Extra exam. Hoping I
was sufficiently prepared, I went down to the FCC
By the way, even though we had become
broadcasters, both Bob and I were smart enough to
keep our day jobs.
When we sold the station in 1963, I
suggested to Dick Mostow that he start a monthly
magazine listing the selections to be played on
Washington/Baltimore FM stations which offer
classical music and program their music in advance.
WHFS had published its own program guide we
called "Stereo Notes". Dick took me up on the idea,
coming out with Forecast FM and asked me to author
an equipment column. I began "Technically
Speaking" with the first issue and submitted a
monthly column for the next twelve years, until Dick
sold the magazine.
In my 36 years at APL, I was active in the
radio club. This led to my receiving a call one
evening in early 1969 inviting me to a meeting in
downtown DC concerning "Oscar East". I
immediately asked who Oscar East was, saying that
I didn't know anyone by that name. But I was told
that it was an organization not a person, an
organization being formed to carry on the work
begun by Project OSCAR on the West Coast. Of
course I knew Project OSCAR had built and
launched the first Amateur Radio satellites and was
eager to attend the meeting to learn what was
planned.
The meeting was at the apartment of a young
Comsat PhD named Perry Klein, K3JTE, now
W3PK, and included representatives of various
amateur radio clubs affiliated with various
Washington area organizations active in space. The
gathering led to the formation of the Radio Amateur
Satellite Corporation, or AMSAT. I became Life
Member Number 10 and was somewhat miffed in
getting a two digit number. AMSAT life
memberships now number in the thousands.
I was tagged to provide publicity for the new
organization and to act as liaison with the
Australians who had built a satellite which had been
languishing on the West Coast for several years.
AMSAT made arrangements to receive this
spacecraft, refurbish it and obtain a launch.
Australis-OSCAR-5 was sent aloft January 23, 1970
8
All States being achieved on 6 meters and 37 states
logged on 2 meters before leaving Maryland for
Texas in 1988.
I viewed my stewardship of The World
Above 50 MHz not merely as a means of reporting
what was happening, but as an opportunity to make
things better in terms of increased enjoyment and
occupancy of the higher frequency amateur bands.
And, through the column, I was able to accomplish
several objectives which remain in place to this day;
and which, I believe, enhance VHF and above
operation.
From reading overseas VHF columns I
learned that the Europeans had a system of grid
squares, called "QRA Locators", which had become
very popular as collectibles, just as we collect states.
I devoted the September, 1979 column to the system
and suggested that we should have something similar
over here. I even gave a talk on the subject at one of
the Central States VHF Conferences and was
practically laughed off the stage.
But, I kept up the pressure for acceptance of
a grid system here in North America and worldwide.
In the September, 1980 column, I featured a proposal
by G4ANB which was later accepted by the
Europeans at a meeting held at Maidenhead, near
London, England. Thus, the new system became
know as the Maidenhead grid system.
A few months later, I was asked by John
Lindholm,
W1XX,
then
the
League's
Communications Department Manager, to become a
member of an ad hoc committee he was setting up to
examine the ARRL VHF contest rules. I had long felt
it unfair that VHFers in the Northeast, not only had
more stations to work, but also had many more
ARRL Sections nearby than did those in most of the
rest of the Country. So I accepted John's invitation,
and at the first meeting urged that the multipliers
used in these contests be changed from ARRL
Sections to the new Maidenhead grids. After
considerable discussion regarding the pluses and
minuses of such a major rules-change, the other
members of ad hoc group agreed to the proposal.
John lost little time in instituting the change and in
launching the VUCC which provides recognition for
office and managed to pass the written exam as well
as the 20 word per minute sending a receiving test.
At that time, the Commission had a program
in place (sort of a forerunner to the current Vanity
Call Program). If one had an Extra and paid $25 one
could receive any one-by-two call available. Many
took advantage of this opportunity. But I wanted a
W and a call never before held by an amateur. That
was a tall order. I had used the AMSAT call, W3ZM
some, but only for AMSAT nets and schedules. But
while doing so, I received a number of calls saying
something like, "Harry, where have you been? I
haven't heard you in a long time." W3ZM had been
held by another of AMSAT's founders, Harry
Helfrich, who had passed away. AMSAT had
obtained W3ZM in his memory. I did not want to
continually go through such exchanges with my own
two letter call, so I held off applying for one.
In 1976, a series of meetings took place at
FCC to help prepare the US position for the 1979
World Radio Conference. I was able to take vacation
from my APL job to attend one or two of these
sessions. During a break at one of the meetings, I
approached a PVRC friend who worked at the
Commission and asked if they couldn't make
available the "X" calls which had previously been
used for experimental stations. He and a cohort went
out of the room and returned with several rule books
and proceeded to go through them to determine what
rules would have to be changed to assign "X" calls to
amateurs.
A few weeks later, I had occasion to talk with
Prose Walker, then head of the Amateur Division at
FCC, on another subject. In the course of the
conversation, I asked him about issuance of the "X"
calls to amateurs. His reply was, "We're working on
it." On the basis of this encouraging response, I
applied for the call that had been held by
Washington's old experimental FM station. A month
or so later, W3KMV became a thing of the past and
I've been known as W3XO ever since.
In succeeding years, I’ve been happy to hear
many other "X" calls appear on the bands and take
some pride in possibly helping making it happen.
My VHF operating continued, with Worked
9
elsewhere in south Texas.
As the conductor of the QST VHF column, I
began receiving many complaints, particularly
regarding the June VHF contest concerning big
mountain-top stations monopolizing the low end of
the 6 meter band for the entire contest period. The
complaints cited the fact that some intrepid operators
had journeyed to rare Caribbean islands for the
contest. These represented new countries for many,
but contact with them was inhibited by the loud
signals from the mountain-top-kilowatts taking up
much of the portion of the band where these
DXpeditions and other DX stations usually operate.
Even when no contest was taking place, many 6
meter operators frequently ragchewed on the calling
frequency of 50.110 or very close to it. Thereupon, a
group in south Florida proposed to me that a section
of the band be established for contact with stations
outside the U.S. Specifically, they suggested that
50.100 to 50.125 MHz be set aside as a "DX
Window".
Believing this to be helpful to those seeking
to work new countries, I began promoting it in the
Column. Of course, I received much hate mail. But I
also received a lot of support. After several years of
pounding away on the idea, it finally became
generally accepted. Later, ARRL noted the DX
Window in their contest rules and now the 6 meter
domestic calling frequency in generally recognized
as 50.125.
A similar situation began to develop on 2
meters. Prior to about 1980, Technician Class
licensees were allowed to use only 145 to 147 MHz.
Thus, there were two SSB calling frequencies on 2
meters, 144.110 which the Generals and above used
and 145.025 employed by Technicians. The band
from 144.0 to 144.1 was, and still is, reserved for
CW operation only. The same is true of 50.0 to 50.1.
When FCC announced that they would be
opening all of the 2 meter band to Technicians, there
was an immediate cry of 144.110, here we come!
Fearing that a large new group congregating around
144.110 would lead to severe crowding, I suggested
in the column that 144.200 be the calling frequency
for everyone. For this idea, I received wholehearted
those working certain numbers of grid squares on the
various bands above 50 MHz. The Maidenhead grid
system is now almost universally accepted by VHF
operators worldwide and has greatly benefited
operation on all of the bands above 50 MHz.
VHF amateurs owe a debt of gratitude to
those responsible for crafting the system and to John
Lindholm and the other members of the ad hoc
committee for accepting it. I am proud to have
played a small part.
Another aspect of VHF operation which
bothered me was the lack of beacons in the US.
Particularly on 6 meters, beacons operating in other
countries had proven invaluable. But FCC rules
permitted unattended operation only for repeaters.
So, in the name of the JHU/APL Amateur Radio
Club, I drafted a petition to FCC for a Special
Temporary Authority (STA) for W3VD, our club
station, to operate a beacon on 2 meters. The STA
was granted, and with the help of my friend Jack
Colson, W3TMZ, another APL Club member, we
installed a 10 Watt beacon on the Lab grounds
located between Baltimore and Washington. During
its year of operation, the W3VD 2 meter beacon
collected reception reports from the Carolinas to the
Canadian Maritime Provinces proving the value of
beacons for spotting enhanced VHF propagation.
As the one year authority was ending, I wrote
a report to the Commission, also in the name of the
APL Club, on the results of the operation. Along
with this I submitted a Proposal for Rulemaking to
allow unattended beacon operation in the United
States and its possessions. Within the year, FCC
acted on our proposal and instituted rules changes
allowing unattended beacon operation. Beacons
have proven a boon to VHF operators everywhere.
Now there are some one hundred 6 meter beacons in
operation across the Country and many 2 meter
beacons as well. In recent years, beacons on 70 cm,
33 cm, 23 cm 13 cm and even 3 cm (10 GHz) have
been put on by various groups and individual hams.
In this area, the Roadrunners Microwave Group, of
which I am a member, operates beacons on 432, 903,
1296, 2304, 3456 MHz, 5760 MHz and 10 GHz in
the Austin area and others in San Antonio and
10
operating from space. When the Shuttle program
came along, I resurrected the idea and drafted a
proposal to allow Shuttle astronauts who held
amateur licenses, to be able to operate. I ran this by
my colleagues in AMSAT who liked the idea, then
sent it on to ARRL in order to get their blessing.
With only slight wording changes, the proposal was
submitted to NASA jointly by AMSAT and ARRL.
We were all surprised and delighted when
NASA accepted it and plans were immediately
begun to provide equipment for Owen Garriott to use
on Shuttle Mission, STS-9. The equipment, provided
by Motorola, consisted of a specially modified 2
meter handi-talkie which had to undergo extensive
testing before NASA would approve its inclusion in
the Shuttle payload.
In recognition of my role in making
W5LFL's operation from the Shuttle possible, my
wife and I were invited to witness the launch from
the VIP stands about three miles from the pad. I can
tell you that seeing a vehicle of this size from so
close up is like nothing you have ever experienced.
Vic Clark, W4KFC, then ARRL President,
was to also be present and we had made
arrangements to rendezvous on one of the local
repeaters near the Cape. When I called Vic, I was
shocked to hear one of the locals respond to tell me
that W4KFC had died suddenly of a heart attack the
day before. Vic's loss cast a pall over what was
otherwise a wonderful event.
I stated earlier that Vic Clark would play an
important role in my life. During the time I was
working on getting NASA approval for amateur
operation from the Shuttle, the then AMSAT
President, Vern Riportella, WA2LQQ, (now a silent
key) attended a meeting at the Johnson Space Center
regarding amateur operation from the Shuttle,
without even informing me that the meeting was to
take place. This upset me so much that I drafted a
letter resigning from all of my association with
AMSAT. Vic hearing of my plan to send the letter,
called me and convinced me to recant, which I
finally did. If it hadn't been for Vic's very diplomatic
and skillful persuasion, I would not have later run for
the AMSAT Board and certainly never would have
support from the SWOT (Sidewinders on Two)
organization, without which I am sure my urging
would never have been heeded.
Although calling frequencies continue to be
abused by some who never seem to move off of them,
the freeing up of the low end of the 2 meter band has
proved very worthwhile. With Earth-Moon-Earth
(EME) becoming more popular, along with the new
digital modes, the first 150 kHz of the band has seen
more and more use by these activities. With many
QSOs taking place on 144.110 and nearby, as they
now do on 144.200, it's difficult to say if these
worthwhile
pursuits
could
have
been
accommodated.
In the mid 1970s, I joined an organization
which had begun with a small group of six meter
enthusiasts in San Antonio called the Six Meter
International Radio Klub, or SMIRK. SMIRK was
created to promote six meter operation much like
Ten/Ten does for ten meters. I received SMIRK
Number 800. Now membership now runs well over
six-thousand in some fifty countries. I am currently
serving as SMIRK President. Incidentally, another
HCARC member, Dale Richardson, AA5XE is
SMIRK’s Secretary. SWOT is the equivalent
promotional organization for two meters. I’m proud
to hold Number 300 in that worthy group.
One of the dreams I had long pursued was
that of hams on the ground being able to talk with
other licensed amateurs on spacecraft and eventually
the Moon and hopefully some day, Mars. To this end,
I began to investigate the possibility of amateur
operation from Skylab. I knew that Owen Garriott,
W5LFL, was scheduled to go on that ambitious
mission and had even heard that the head of the
Skylab program had made positive comments
regarding possible amateur operation from the
orbiting laboratory.
So, with the help of Dick Fenner, W5AVI,
who worked at the Johnson Space Center in Houston,
I began to investigate further. It was soon determined,
however, that the project was too far along to permit
the hull penetrations necessary to accommodate
antenna cabling. So, the idea had to be dropped.
But, I didn't give up on the dream of hams
11
funding did not seem attainable, so the AMSAT-NA
Board, including me, reluctantly decided to shelve
the Phase 4 effort.
The term "NA" had begun to be appended to
AMSAT to distinguish our North American based
organization from other AMSAT groups which had
sprung up all over the world. There was
AMSAT-UK in Great Britain, AMSAT-DL in
Germany, JAMSAT in Japan and numerous others.
Just as we were deciding not to pursue Phase
4, Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, came to our 1991 Board
meeting with a proposal for an international project
to build and launch another Phase 3 satellite. This
would be Phase 3D. Despite misgivings on the part
of some Board members we accepted Karl’s
proposal, and work was begun.
One of the major efforts was fund raising and
Doug Loughmiller, KO5I, who had become AMSAT
President succeeding Vern Riportella, and I began
efforts to raise the million or more dollars it was
concluded the project would require. Doug had
asked me to become his Executive Vice President, so
I held that position as well as VP for Manned Space.
The following year, the Board asked me to
assume the Presidency so that Doug could
concentrate on fund raising. With some reluctance, I
accepted. My reluctance centered mainly around the
concern that manned space would take a back seat.
But, I found that Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, who
worked at Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt,
Maryland was interested in the manned space
position. Thus, one of my first acts as President, was
to appoint Frank Vice President for Manned Space.
In recognition of a name change by NASA, the title
of that position is now, Vice President for Human
Spaceflight. I needn't have feared. Frank has done a
superb job ever since and still serves in that capacity.
In recent years, it has been especially fortunate to
have a strong person handling that aspect of
AMSAT's activities because of the work associated
with the International Space Station. Frank now
serves on the ARISS (Amateur Radio on the
International Space Station) Committee which
includes representatives from a number of countries
including Russia.
become its President.
On returning to the fold, I insisted that Rip
make manned space an official department and name
me as it head. Whereupon, I became AMSAT's Vice
President for Manned Space.
In this capacity, I was AMSAT’s
representative on the SAREX Committee which was
chaired by Roy Neal, K6DUE (now a silent key).
Roy had been an NBC newsman and had covered
many of NASA's projects going back to Apollo and
before. So, he was well known by NASA folks,
particularly at Johnson Space Center. Since
everything seems to have to have an acronym, the
term, SAREX, was coined to stand for Shuttle
Amateur Radio EXperiment. Roy, in his
chairmanship of this committee, was key in getting
amateur radio back on the Shuttle following the
Challenger tragedy. I was happy to be able to do my
part.
In 1986 I decided to stand again for the
AMSAT Board, having dropped off ten years before.
Partially because of my work getting amateur
operation going on the Shuttle and partly from name
recognition due to writing "The World Above 50
MHz", I was elected and served as a Board member
until 2003. From 1998 until stepping down from the
Board in 2003, I served as Board Chairman.
In the late 1980s AMSAT was embarked on
an ambitious project to put up a geostationary
satellite. It was called Phase 4. Phase 1 was
considered the beacon satellites such as OSCARs 1
and 2 and Australis OSCAR-5. Phase 2 were the low
altitude transponder spacecraft such as AO-6, 7 and
8. The Phase 3 birds, AO-10 and 13, were in high
apogee elliptical orbits. The first of these, Phase 3A,
was lost due to a launch vehicle failure in May, 1980.
But, it became clear to all of us on the
AMSAT-NA Board that a geostationary satellite was
beyond our capability, both technically and
financially. Principal in the financial area, was the
fact that such a satellite could be used by only half of
the world's amateurs. If it was placed to cover all of
the US, it could not serve Europe and Asia. Thus, all
of the funding would have to come from the
Americas, mostly from here in the US. Sufficient
12
ARRL Board which resulted in the League mounting
a campaign which raised over a HALF MILLION
DOLLARS. Another very successful effort involved
the Hoover Foundation. Pete Hoover, W6ZH, the
grandson of US President Hoover, pledged matching
funds which resulted in the raising of a total of over
TWO-HUNDRED-THOUSAND DOLLARS. We
also garnered very generous financial support from
AMSAT-UK and JAMSAT. The JAMSAT
contribution came following a trip Keith Baker,
KB1SF's, my Executive Vice President, and I made
to Japan to attend the JAMSAT annual meeting in
Kyoto. Altogether, we in North America raised
approximately TWO MILLION DOLLARS in
support of Phase 3D. AMSAT-DL with some
assistance from the German government came up
with a like amount.
Fund raising was not the entire job. There
was a lot of other work to do. It had been decided
that AMSAT-NA would be responsible for
producing the spaceframe and a large adaptor called
the SBS for Specific Bearing Structure. This was an
approximately 8 foot diameter ring about 2 feet high.
The Phase 3D spacecraft would reside inside the
SBS which would then support the commercial
payloads above it. When one considers that costs for
launching a commercial satellite can run some
FIFTY to ONE-HUNDRED-MILLION DOLLARS
and the cost to build such a satellite can run a like
amount, one can appreciate the importance of the
role played by the SBS. Both the Phase 3D
spaceframe and the SBS were built by students at
Weber State University in Utah under the direction
of AMSAT volunteers. This represented but one of
AMSAT’s continuing efforts involving education.
In addition to the construction of the
spaceframe and the SBS, AMSAT-NA was to handle
the integration of the spacecraft. This required lab
space and a clean room. Since two of our principal
technical people lived in Orlando, Dick Jansson and
Stan Wood, WA4NFY, it was logical that that area
be the site of the Phase 3D Integration Lab. A
location adjacent to the Orlando International
Airport was secured and equipment begun to be
moved in. But a full-time director of the operation
Another of the tasks I took on as President
was the collection of what was due AMSAT from a
company located in the Virginia suburbs of
Washington called Interferometrics. Through Jan
King, W3GEY's, work with both AMSAT and that
company, AMSAT had an agreement to provide
Interferometrics with design information on the
Microsat series of satellites which AMSAT had built
and launched. In return, Interferometrics was to pay
AMSAT a specified fee for each of that type of
satellite they built. Since they had built and launched
one such satellite, the fee schedule indicated that
they owed AMSAT the sum of $42,000.
I made collecting that money my first order
of business Obtaining it required several trips to DC
from my new home in Texas to beard the hard-nosed
Iterferometrics CEO, Mr. Dennis Fecteau, in his den.
I also had to do quite a bit of digging to come up with
all of the documentation AMSAT had promised. But,
I was finally able to gather the material and collect
what was due us.
Sometime during 1992, Doug Loughmiller
decided to take a position with the University of
Surrey in England. That institution, thanks to the
work of Martin Sweeting, G3YJO, had become
preeminent in the Country's space effort. Martin has
since been knighted for his accomplishments. It is
interesting that in the early 1970s, Martin made a trip
to Washington to attend an AMSAT Board meeting
to learn about this amateur satellite stuff. Under
Martin's tutelage, the University of Surrey and its
commercial offshoot, Surrey Satellite Technology
have built a number of amateur and commercial
spacecraft for Britain and several other countries.
With Doug Loughmiller leaving for England,
the job of fund raising in support of AMSAT-NA's
role in Phase 3D, fell to me. So, I set out, writing
letters to AMSAT members commercial companies
and foundations. I wrote articles about Phase 3D for
QST and other publications. I made arrangements
with ex US Senator Barry Goldwater, K7UGA, to
appear in a video which AMSAT produced
promoting Phase 3D and seeking contributions to
support it. Dick Jansson, then
WD4FAB now
KD1K, and I put on a Phase 3D presentation for the
13
flaws in the design and suggested that AMSAT
might be of assistance. Receiving a positive response,
I drafted an agreement which, with a few changes,
was accepted by the University. This began a major
effort by a number of AMSAT volunteers to improve
the space worthiness of the MOST satellite.
AMSAT’s suggestion resulted in the University of
Toronto being awarded the funds to build and launch
the MOST spacecraft. In accordance with the
agreement we had concluded, AMSAT received the
sum of $400,000 (Canadian).
I goes without saying that the accident which
befell AO-40 (known as Phase 3D prior to its launch)
a few weeks after its successful orbiting aboard an
Ariane 5 launch vehicle in November, 2000; was a
huge disappointment to me and to all involved in the
planning, building, testing and funding of this very
ambitious spacecraft. Despite the significant damage
the satellite sustained, the command system, central
computer, one of the S Band transmitters plus the 70
cm and 23 cm uplinks, continued to function for
several years. I, and many others, were able to use
AO-40’s 2401 MHz downlink for QSOs across
North America and throughout the world for several
years. In an attempt to convince those who hadn’t
tried AO-40, thinking microwaves too hard for them,
I wrote an article entitled “AO-40 for Us Appliance
Operators” which appeared in the November, 2003
QST.
Over the years, I have been pleased to receive
several awards. One came in 1982 when I was the
first recipient of the Wilson Award from the Central
States VHF Society. This award, honoring my old
friend, Mel Wilson, W2BOC, formerly W1DEI, was
instituted by the Society following his death the
previous year. Mel had been a long-time CSVHFS
member and had contributed much to knowledge of
propagation at VHF frequencies, particularly
Sporadic E.
In the early 1990s I was nominated by Ray
Soifer, W2RS, to become a member of the Radio
Club of America. This is the oldest radio club in the
World and it is indeed an honor to be a member. A
few years later the Club Board elevated me to Fellow
which was an even greater honor.
was required. It fell to me to find one. Learning that
Lou McFadin, W5DID, who had modified and tested
much of the hardware that had gone onto the Shuttle
for SAREX, was about to retire from his job at
NASA's Johnson Space Center, I induced him to take
on the position of Phase 3D Integration Lab Manager.
That required both persuasion and quite a bit of
finagling with regard to remuneration and benefits to
get Lou to accept. But, he did. Others were brought
on board as well, all as contract people, not
employees
of
AMSAT-NA.
This
made
book-keeping much easier. AMSAT has only one
full-time paid employee, Martha Saragovitz who
maintains our Silver Spring, Maryland office.
Throughout 1992 while serving as AMSAT
President, I kept up the QST column, "The World
Above 50 MHz". That same year, my wife and I put
on the Central States VHF Conference here in
Kerrville. It was quite a year. But, it became obvious
to me that it was time to turn the column over to
someone else. One of the reasons, I had hung on to
the column was that I feared the League would do
away with it. I did not want that long tradition begun
by Ed Tilton to be dropped from the pages of QST.
But Dave Sumner, K1ZZ, ARRL General Manager,
assured me that the column would continue and said
that he had persuaded Emil Pocock, W3EP, to handle
the job if I cared to step down.
With Dave's assurance that the column would
continue and be in good hands, I relinquished the
reins to Emil. He did a fine job until turning the
Column over to my old PVRC friend Gene
Zimmermann, W3ZZ, several years ago.
Though in some ways, I hated to stop
conducting the QST Column; not having to meet a
monthly deadline was a great relief, particularly with
the workload the AMSAT Presidency represented.
In September, 1997, I attended the Small
Satellite Conference in Logan, Utah where I met two
gentlemen from the University of Toronto, Dr.
Robert Zee and Dr. Kieran Carroll. They described
an astronomy satellite the University was designing
and planned to propose to the Canadian government.
It was called MOST (Microviariability and
Oscillations of Stars). I immediately observed some
14
In 1996, I was selected by the Dayton
Amateur Radio Association to be its "Ham of the
Year". This is a great honor for anyone but it was
particularly pleasing to me that year as I shared the
honors with two radio giants, John Kraus, W8JK,
who was selected for the "Special Achievement
Award" and Bill Orr, W6SAI, received the
"Technical Excellence Award".
Though I stepped down from the AMSAT
Presidency in the fall of 1998 and from the Board
five years later, I continue my interest in AMSAT
and Amateur Radio in general. I am currently active
on the bands from 50 to 3456 and have equipment for
10 GHz. I have just acquired a Flex 5000 software
defined transceiver and am slowly learning the
ins-and-outs of this new kind of radio and what it has
to offer.
As well as AMSAT, I am a Life Member of
IEEE, ARRL and the Central States VHF Society as
well as holding memberships in The Radio Club of
America, QCWA, The Roadrunners Microwave
Group, the North Texas Microwave Society, SMIRK,
SWOT and, of course, the Hill Country Amateur
Radio Club.
So, at 81, I keep my hand in and stay
interested. I hope to be around for at least one more
Solar Maximum and to see the launch of the German
Phase 3E, the AMSAT-NA Eagle and possibly an
amateur package aboard an Intelsat geostationary
satellite - a potential opportunity AMSAT is
presently pursuing.
Amateur Radio is becoming more exciting to
me every day. And, I'm still learning.
15
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