ME AND THE FCC
EMMETT GOODMAN, WD4GOL
Because of the recent passing of Emmett Goodman, WD4GOL we have decided to dedicate this issue of CQ de WA2LQO to his memory by reprinting two of his contributions. Hope you enjoy reading these really great articles again.
After being exposed to ham radio at my place of employment in the early fall of 1939, I purchased a ARRL license manual and built a code practice oscillator. Every spare minute in the next two months I studied the manual and practiced that ole devil code. The FCC inspector was scheduled to make his quarterly visit to Winston Salem NC to give ham testing in December. To this day I don't know why the inspector, stationed at the Norfolk VA FCC office, came to Winston Salem instead of to Charlotte, the largest city, and more centrally located in North Carolina. Another fly in the ointment was he gave the testing on a weekday requiring you to miss a day's work and maybe a day's pay.
On a cold December morning I arose at 6AM, dressed and jumped into my car
and headed to W/S thinking that I could drive the 88 miles, park and be in the examining room by the scheduled time of 9AM. I also thought that I would have time to make a quick coffee and donut stop on the way. Alas, that too, was wishful thinking. Living on the south side of Charlotte I had to battle going to work traffic all the way across town before I ever reached the highway north to Winston Salem. I never even got my donut!
As I opened the examining room door in the post office at W/S at 9:25 AM they were just
finishing the code test. I made a big hit as I greeted the FCC inspector. . With a frown, He said. "You are too late, you should have been here at 9AM."
"But sir," I said, "I came from Charlotte and took a day off from work to take this test." "Okey." He said, "Take a seat and I will see what I can do later.” Much later, after he had graded the code test just given. He passed out the exams to the lucky ones and finally called me up and gave me my private code test.
Of course, anyone could have predicated the results. I failed miserably.
Six months later in July of the next year I repeated the same effort. This time I was on time. I failed the code test again. I copied 59 characters in a row correctly. The requirement for passing 13 WPM was 65 correct characters in a group anywhere in the five minute test. The FCC inspector sympathized with me and said that I would make it next time.
Now fast forward to June 1942 when I am a very busy man. I am managing two hotel newsstands, picking up remote broadcasts for a local AM radio station and going to North Carolina State Extension College three nights a week trying to get my electrical engineering degree. WW2 is six months old and radio broadcast engineers are being drafted like crazy. So one morning the manager of radio station WAYS grabbed me as I walked in to collect my monthly check for the remote broadcasts. What A Check it was! I was getting $5.00 each for picking up six church services, $5.00 for each at-home baseball game. $10.00 for double headers, plus ten cents a mile for my car expense. I wasn't getting rich quick!
Well the station manager told me that he was losing another engineer to the draft. He assured me a full time engineering position if I could get my second class radiotelephone license. He knew that I was class 2B in the draft. Being married with a wife and one child to support. I quickly purchased the study manuals for second class. I had already obtained the third class license by mail. After studying diligently for next two months I made a 9AM appointment with the FCC office in Norfolk VA on a weekday morning. To get to Norfolk from Charlotte I had to catch a northbound train at 7PM to Danville VA. It reached there at 11PM. I then had to wait until 1AM to catch another train going east that was scheduled to reach Norfolk at 7AM. To go by bus was even worse. Anyhow I would have been very embarrassed to go by bus. My father, father-in-law and baby brother all being railroad men.
I was a very tired and sleepy human being when that mixed train reached Norfolk at 7:33AM. Oh! I forgot to tell you that it was a mixed train made up of two day coaches, a baggage car and about 30 freight cars. That train dropped off and picked up cars all the way across the whole state of Virginia. I had a seat all to myself that I could lie down on as the train only had about ten passengers per car. Every time I dozed off to sleep the train stopped and started to shift those freight cars again!
After washing my face and combing my hair at the Norfolk railroad station I grabbed a quick breakfast at a greasy spoon just across the street from the federal building and made it to the FCC office on time. The inspector in charge gave me the examination questions for elements two and three necessary for second class radiotelephone and told me to take my time and give them back to him when I had finished and that he would grade them while I went to lunch. If I passed, after I came back from lunch, he would give me element four necessary for first class radiotelephone.
So after lunch I rushed back to the FCC office at 1PM to get the results. The inspector greeted me with a smile and a question. He asked, "Are you sure that you have a full time engineering job waiting for you in Charlotte?" I said. "Sure I have, you can make a call to station WAYS and charge it to my home phone, if you need proof." "Ok." He said. "You passed, if you will give me your third class radiotelephone license I will endorse it for broadcast station usage. Your second class license will be mailed to you later. I asked. "What grade did I score?" "Never mind." he said "You passed." I left it like that. I didn't even ask him if I should try element four for first class.
I still have that third class radiotelephone license with "Broadcast Endorsement" typed
on it. I never did get that Second Class Radio Telephone license. I wonder why? I quit my hotel newsstand jobs and worked as a full-time broadcast engineer at WAYS on that Broadcast Endorsement license until January 1945.
Then I jumped ship and went north and took a job as a Jr. Engineer in the engineering lab of the Duramold Division of Fairchild Engine and Aircraft Corp. at Jamestown, New York. I worked there until World War II ended.
My next contact with the FCC came in autumn of 1957. I was now employed at Fairchild in Farmingdale NY at their Pilotless Plane Division and living in Hicksville NY. One evening my son, a student at Hicksville High, casually mentioned that next week the adult education classes were starting an amateur radio course that would culminate with the instructor giving the FCC amateur mail exam to all that passed the course. I talked my son into signing us both up. So for the next six weeks, two nights a week, I went to school again. I built another code oscillator and taught my son the code and swore to myself that I would make it this time. During the course you filled out the FCC 610 form and the instructor mailed them to the FCC and bye and bye the written exams, double sealed, came to you.
After finishing the course we were given the code test and the instructor unsealed the exams and gave them to us. My son and myself got a novice license and I got the technician license too. You could hold both at that time. Of course the novice was only good for one year. I missed getting the general because once again I failed the 13 WPM code test. The technician code requirement was only 5 WPM which I passed, hi hi. I was a happy technician operating on 2 and 6 meter phone. I invested in a 40 foot tower with a rotator for a 2/6 meter beam. I have cards from 23 states on 2 meters AM and 26 states on 6.
Good news arrived in the early 70's when the FCC "grandfathered" the technician license. The FCC ruled that since you had passed the written part of the general license to become a technician all you had to do now to get your general ticket was to pass the 13 WPM code test. With that good news at hand it was back to the books! Or rather the old code oscillator. I was also able to borrow a set of code practice records from the Grumman Amateur Radio Club since I was now a member. Oh! I forgot to tell you that in November 1965 I left Fairchild and joined the reliability engineering department of Grumman in Bethpage, NY.
So in December 1972 I called the New York city office of the FCC and they told me that they gave the code test any weekday between the hours of 9AM to 4PM. At 7AM the next Wednesday I joined the commuters bound for New York city at the Hicksville Long Island Railroad station I rode to Penn station and took the subway down to the federal building in lower Manhattan. A young lady at the FCC office greeted me with a smile as I entered at 9AM and told me to be seated and that I was the first candidate to arrive for code testing. She also told me that they waited for a minimum of three persons before giving the code test. So I sat. At 9:45 AM another candidate arrived and we sat until 10:30AM when the third would-be ham arrived. A young lady of 12 years complete with her mother. At 11AM the inspector in charge came in to administer the test. Two people passed. One failed. Guess who failed?
On November 19, 1976 I retired from GAC and moved into a new abode in Casselberry FL (11 miles north of Orlando). I set up my 2 & 6 meter station and went back to the code. In January 1977 I scheduled a visit to the FCC office in Tampa 88 miles away.
I left early and got to the office on time. It took me longer to find parking than it did to get there. Or so it seemed. Result. No good.
April 1977 I attended the Jacksonville Hamfest where the FCC gave testing to about 45 candidates. 32 passed. I did not. Now I took a new tack. After answering an ad in the Orlando Radio Club paper I practically stole a like new Kenwood 520S from a ham stationed at the Naval Training Station in Orlando. He had suddenly been given sea duty. I put up a 40 meter dipole cut to the 40 meter novice band. I made up my mind to make two CW contacts daily, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I kept up this regimentation until the Melbourne Hamfest came up in
August 1978. The FCC was administering tests again to a crowd of about 60 people. About 11:30AM the names of those that passed were read. OH HAPPY DAY! My name was in that group! I ran up to get my papers and found that I had scored a perfect CODE test. 10 out of 10 on the multi-choice test. I was now at long last a General. SO ENDED. "ME AND THE FCC"
HAM HEAVEN PART 2
EMMETT H. GOODMAN, WD4GOL
As promised in part 1. (See CQ de WA2LQO, Oct. '97) I said I would tell you how our young engineer/ham upgraded the Police/Fire Radio Communication System of the city of Charlotte (NC) in the late 30's. And he worked ham radio into it at the same time. Here is how he did it.
Our young Electrical Engineer/Ham was commissioned to update the one-way police radio system, then operating just below the broadcast band. The frequency was 1750 kilocycles with 50 watts power. His task was to design and install a modern, state of the art, two-way system powerful enough to cover the city and Mecklenburg County as well. The system was to serve the city police, the county police and the city fire department vehicles as well. WOW! What a project! In the late 30's, the time that we are talking about, the FCC assigned frequencies for two-way police radio was just above our 80-meter phone band. About‑4500 KC if l remember right. Now remember that frequency. More about it later.
Tom ended up designing, purchasing and installing (with the help of two local technically trained hams) a two-way system with a 500-watt transmitter housed in a nice little building up on the roof of the two-story city hall. On the same roof was a 100-foot radiating antennae tower with nice guy wires at the 50 and 100-foot height levels. The little xmtr building also contained a kitchen, a bathroom with shower, and a separate room for sleeping. Just right for any engineer/hams working late at night. Guess whose idea that was? He was thinking of a ham shack already.
Tom, and his two buddy hams, also ended up with a 100 by 200 foot workshop adjacent to the city garage. This was used for the installation and maintenance of the two way radios in the fleet of 75 police cars and 35 fire vehicles. The building had a locker room for clothes changing and a bathroom with showers. Another ham shack. Why not?
It took Tom and his staff eleven months of hard work for the installation of the system with no thoughts of ham radio. When the qualification testing required by the FCC was duly completed. Tom then immediately asked permission from the "City Fathers" for the
installation of his ham station in the transmitter building. Once again using that old argument of "Emergency communication, etc." They acquiesced. So Tom moved his two Carolina kilowatts and receivers up to his new shack. Now remember me telling you about the eight guy wires on the 100 foot radiating tower. Well, guess where they were cut to resonate? Yes. Right in the ham bands. He had slanted dipoles and inverted "Vees" on 10, 15, 20, 40 and 80 meter fone too. All he had to do was to attach the feeders. He was able to switch the receiving and transmitting direction of the antennas by a series of coaxial switching relays too. As t told you before. THIS GUY WAS GOOD)
Did he have adjacent channel interference? Yes. Since the police radio AM transmitting frequency was just above the 80-meter ham band, that band was impossible, as no amount of traps could do the job on that "ancient modulation". No SSB or FM yet. 40 CW was good (no 40 meter phone yet) and 10 and 20 was fair. 15 meters was best when it was open. There were other problems too. During high traffic hours with the police xmtr going on and off continually only 40-meter CW operation was possible. Tom found that his best hamming was done between midnight and sunrise. Still being a single man Tom set new records for contacts with Asians, Aussies and New Zealanders. Many nights Tom did not get home at all.
Soon Tom shipped his 80-meter xmtr and receiver to the workshop location. He had the city maintenance crew put up two 40 foot utility poles and strung up an 80 meter dipole between them and "Presto" the second ham station on city property was in operation.
Soon his number three man brought some of his ham gear to the new workshop station and a three element beam suddenly appeared atop one of the poles and they were operating on all HF bands except 160 meters.
As all three of the police radio station operators were on duty, around the clock, they were furnished a city vehicle fully radio equipped. So the next thing Tom did was to customize that equipment. He built a crystal change "black box" to switch the mobile unit to an 80-meter ham frequency when they wanted to talk to each other. There being no VHF car to car yet. The mobile police receiver would still receive on the police radio frequency in case they were called. Pretty smart thinking there.
Then December 7, 1941, "A day in infamy" came along and all ham radio ceased until WVV2 was over. Thus spoiling their "Ham Heaven" for a while.
When I returned to my hometown in March 1947 after my wartime sojourn in Jamestown NY I found the same three hams still happily operating from their HAM HEAVEN! Of course when I returned to Long Island in 1948 to work for Fairchild I lost touch with them.
Footnote: In June 1988 my younger brother, by three years, favored me with a visit to Casselberry. My brother retired in 1979 after 39 years in the Charlotte Police force. The last 19 years as chief. So I was very surprised when he suggested a visit to Tom at his retiree address in Port Richey FL. I did not even know that he knew Tom. It turned out that he knew all three hams in his police department. He was always going to them for perks on his radio equipment. Like putting a silencing switch on the police radio speaker in the chief's car so that he could listen to his broadcast radio in peace.
We found Tom sitting on his big 28-foot ocean-going fishing boat repairing some fishing gear. He had his own private dock on a canal about three football fields from the Gulf of Mexico. After looking around his home for ham antennas I asked Tom. What happened to ham radio? .... Oh", he said, "I have a 2 meter HT around here somewhere. WHAT A LETDOWN!
Footnote No. 2: On one winter morning in 1996 after the 40-meter WAG net, I had KM4DJ, Jim Bailey, look for Tom's telephone number in his Port Richey directory. He did not find any listing. The next day during my 8 AM sked with W2WDD I had Jim look in his Sunday Footnote No. 2: On one winter morning in 1996 after the 40-meter WAG net, I had KM4DJ, Jim Bailey, look for Tom's telephone number in his Port Richey directory.
He did not find any listing. The next day during my 8 AM sked with W2WDD I had Jim look in his computer Call Book program for Tom's address. He too was unsuccessful. Maybe Tom is now a silent key in his own Ham Heaven? He was three years younger than I am.
GRUMMAN AMATEUR RADIO CLUB
MINUTES OF GENERAL MEETING – 5/19/04
by Pete, N2PYV
The meeting was called to order by Pat at 5:37 p.m. We met at the Bethpage Library because the UL building was not available. All present introduced themselves.
Finances continue to be in good shape.
REPEATER REPORT –
The Hauppaugue Repeater was off the air for about a week. Gordon, Pat and Bill, N2NFI, went to the site to investigate. They found that the microprocessor for the UPS had died. It may have been the result of a lightning strike or power surge. It does not look like it is practical to repair the UPS. The repeater was connected directly to the building AC power, but this does not give us the capability to shut down the repeater remotely. Bill told us he has other power supplies and that he owes us a controller. The controller should be connected to an auxiliary receiver so that a signal can be sent to the site to shut down the repeater. It was also discussed that installing a UPS on the Bethpage repeater might improve the problem with “cracklies”. We will probably try better grounding first.
NET REPORT –
The Sunday Morning 40-Meter Net was good. They talked to Mike, KJ6XE, at the Dayton Hamvention. The Wednesday Noon 20-Meter Net was good. The Thursday Night 2-Meter Net had only three checkins.
VE REPORT –
There were five VE’s, but no applicants at the VE session held at the Half Hollow Hills Community Library. Bob announced that, starting in July, the General Exam will be changed.
HOUSE REPORT –
Gordon stated that the Field Day equipment that we have in storage has been buried under other equipment. Pat said he would go over there to see what needed to be done to be sure that the equipment is ready for Field Day.
Pat stated that the Field Day site we used last year has been sold. He has been trying to contact the N/G Real Estate guy to get approval to use another piece of N/G property.
Pat related his experiences at the Dayton hamvention. Jack, WA2PYK told us of his investigation into area restaurants for the upcoming 60th Anniversary Party. We are considering a Saturday in September.
Pat demonstrated a Telsa coil that he had built. It was quite impressive, throwing out sparks 18 inches long and lighting up a fluorescent tube more than 10 feet away.