Club Station: W8KYK
Name of Club: Nocturnal Netwits
Welcome to my WEB Page....
We're going to try to bring all of you up to date as to how we got into this hobby.
Well, it started back in 1956, when I got my FIRST license, KN8BBE. I took the test
in February, of that year, and was promised, by my Father, W8KYK, that I would
go to the BIG radio show in Dayton, The DAYTON HAMVENTION. The year
before, I wanted to go so bad, I played hooky from school, and hid in the trunk of
the car, hoping to go. My luck was going good till Dad picked up George Lightfoot,
W8KH, and opened the trunk. Lots of swearing went on, and the 10 mile trip
back home, shot me down for that year. I did get a letter, from my Dad, telling me
to get the license, and I would go next year. Old George, would help me with the
code, whenever he called. George was an Engineer at WHBC, and would call
to talk to my Mother or Dad, and If I answered, he would whistle CW to me over
the phone. I also practiced with an old friend, using an old Regen receiver tuned to
I hooked the receiver antenna to a 75
meter Zepp antenna, and when the
Receiver would oscillate, by adjusting the Regen control, it made a transmitter.
We were like Marconi, the two of us, calling each other to tell what stations
were on, and by accident, I adjusted my Regen control, and Terry said he
got a carrier. Little more fooling around, we found out that it was my radio.
A few modifications, and we were on CW. Later, we found out by adding
a carbon mike to the antenna, we can modulate the oscillator...Little il-legal
even at that time, but it was fun. I also did what every New ham did, when
there is a transmitter available, and my Dad would not be home for two days,
I operated his Home Brewed 20-A. Oh ya, I did get QSL cards, too,
and my Dad always questioned it. He finally caught on, when Harry Marry,
W8UOS, called me and I worked him thinking all was ok. He told my Dad
that some Young voice was on SSB, and he didn't think it was him. My Dad
put a lock on the 20 A and that was that. That was the Good ol Daze...Hi Hi...
Well I studied the code, drew oscillators,
power supplies, and went over the
regulations, till I was doing it in my sleep, and in February, I sent in for the Novice
exam, and took it from W8KH, the second Saturday in February. Those days,
if the FCC didn't notify you in two weeks, you passed, but the wait was for the
call. Since My Dad would NEVER operate a radio that was bought, I had to
follow the same way. I built a 60 watt Transmitter, using a 6146 oscillator,
for 40 meters, on 7173. That was my only 40 meter crystal. My receiver
would be a modified BC-224, and the antenna would be a Zepp, with a
Home brewed Tuner. I had the Transmitter finished by April, but still no license.
By April 23, Dayton Time, Still no license, but I did go. My Dad knew I would
be getting it sooner or later, so he made me a tag saying KN8QRX, just waiting.
Boy, for a Kid the age of 10, ALL the new equipment, and fun, I fell in love
with a keyer from Halicrafters called the TO keyer. I played with it for hours
there, then I brought it to my Dad's attention, hoping something would come from it.
Well, as you already know, it had to be built, so my Dad, knowing W9TO, got the
circuit, and built the TO keyer, and added a Vibroplex key to the station. I was
told I had the best fist around.
My license came the first week in May, and
I was finally on the air legally...Hi..
For two months, I worked 40 meters, working everything I can work, till a
radio store called Wireless Radio, owner Al Albert W8TTJ, went out of business.
All the Hams were there looking into parts, tubes, and other goodies, and me looking
for crystals for a new band, 80 meters. Al had a number of crystals for 80 meters
that would work fine in the Novice band so I bought one for every 10 kc.. At that time,
the Novice frequencies for 80 and 40 were 3700 to 3750, and 7150 to 7200, 75 watts,
crystal controlled. With my purchase, I wanted to make something All novices wanted,
but didn't have. A VXO to move anywhere in the novice band. As long as the transmitter
used a crystal, you can swing it plus or minus the operating frequency to cover the complete band.
I built the unit, and added it to a converted Command Transmitter, and presto, I was on 80
meters. Now I can work both bands with the same antenna, as long as I change the coil
in the antenna to 80 Meters.
I had to mention that, because as all New Ham Operators,
was not a real ham operator,
unless he or she GOOFED up, and got an Official Observers notice of a violation.
Well on a day in September, I was working 40 meters, when a friend of mine, Mike
Eisenbry, called me and said he just got his license and he wanted me to be his First contact..
He only had an old Heath kit DX-40, and worked 80 meters, so since I was finished
with my QSO on 40, I switched co-ax cables to the old Command set and started to tune
it up. It didn't look right on the meter, but I really didn't think what it was doing when I was
loading it up. I can remember the QSO as though it was yesterday. I was on long enough to
send: " WA8FIC DE K8BBE K8BBE...RRR OK OM TNX FER CALL...UR RST IS
599 CANTON OHIO...NAME IS CHUCK...BK TO YOU...WA8FIC DE K8BBE...SK"
Mike replied on the phone, and that was it. I got FIVE OO tickets and Two from the FCC,
complaint: working outside the Ham band, Freq, 7440 KC. . .It was not bad enough I
was outside the band, but I was exactly on a Military TTY station. My tuning was on
the second harmonic of the crystal. With the 40 meter coil in the tuner, I was 599...
Boy that one was hard to explain.
Me at my Dad's station.
The REAL K8BBE 1951
I bet I put 100,000 miles on this
car riding around the basement
talking to my Dad when he was
Upgrading to General.......
In every hams life, back in the 60"s, to upgrade, one must go to an
FCC examine point
and take a test. To upgrade to General, one MUST pass the sending and receiving
of one minute solid of CW at 13 words per minute. By this time, I had worked 36
countries, and worked about all the states three times over on CW, and lots of six
meter AM and Tone modulated CW too. My Dad had said, a good code operator
should be able to copy NSS. We had an old military receiver, that would receive
very low frequencies. I used to tune in NSS on 18 KC to copy GOOD CW at
about 22 wpm. After a few months of this, I was ready to go for it. It was getting
close for the Dayton Convention, and we reserved our rooms at the Key Motel,
just down the street from the ole Builtmore hotel, the hamvention's first location,
and sent in an application to the FCC to take the test there. Friday night,
arriving at the hotel, I found the FCC was going to give the test at a local school
Saturday morning. Nervous, I tried to sleep, hoping all would be ok, and I would
be able to go home knowing I passed the test. Saturday morning came, and about
twenty two of us entered into a classroom to start phase one of our upgrade, passing
the code. The classroom was a typical room, thirty so desks, and one up front for
the teacher, It was hot that day, so the windows were open. Across the street,
stood an old fire department, with two trucks . The classroom had one old clock, I'm
sure you all remember them, that jumped every three minutes till it reached the hour.
A bell beside it, to tell the students to go to the next class. A typical class room.
We all filed into the room, where we were greeted by an FCC official, named
Cotton, setting up an oscillator and speakers for the test. He didn't say one word to
us while he was setting the equipment up, till he was finished. He then said in a
sharp voice, "Can everyone hear this". No answer, so it looked like we're ready
to go. He then said "The test will have a series of six V's. These will not count.
Start after that.", and the test started. ...- ...- ...- ...- ...- ...- Text message.
We were all nervous, but it started out fine. 45 seconds into the test, the school
bell rang, and messed up that first minute. trying to compose myself again, looking
well into the first minute, all was going fine again, till the fire bell, across the street
went off. DAM....lost again.....we still have three minutes left, calm down, and go
got it. Another 45 seconds, and the fire trucks started their engines, sirens going off
all kinds of commotion. I looked around and saw everyone had stopped receiving,
the code, and knew the FCC official would take this into consideration, and restart
the test. Well the five minutes were up, I had bits and pieces of the QSO, nothing
made sense, but maybe I had enough to do it. If not, I thought too we would have
another chance. The official said in a gruff voice "Pass the papers to the front of the
class." We all waited, and the results soon came. No one made it. Re-apply
in ninety days. Someone asked, Please let us try it again. All the commotion, we
were unable to copy. Old Cotton, a CW operator from the marine days, said
"If a ship was sinking somewhere in the Atlantic, and it was sending it's location,
would you, receiving the distress call, lay your pencils down, due to some interference?"
and walked out of the class room. Needless to say, none of us were to happy about
that, but he was right. Later on, a few years later, I had the pleasure to meet Cotton
again at Dayton, under different terms, and mentioned it to him. We both had a laugh
or so about it. I will have to say, I did have to drive to Detroit, to do it again, but
I was READY for anything they threw at me. Passed it with flying colors. I will have
to admit, there was no bells, or sirens this time, only clean CW and me setting directly
in front of the speaker.