A Neat Idea = Member's Reminiscences


ARNS Bulletin

Your club probably has some members that have been hams for a considerable amount of time. Why not take the time to interview them about what amateur radio was like when they first were licensed and use the interview as the basis for an article in your club's newsletter? Sure, you can look to CQ, QST and other sources for articles on what ham radio was like "back when", but an interview with a local ham can provide a lot more local interest and color than an article in a national publication. As an example, here's a portion of an article that appeared in the September 1998 issue of the "Cedar Mountain Ragchew", the newsletter of the Cedar Mountain ARC. Melba Epperle-WA7UPK is the Editor. The subject of the article is Ev Marine-W7EM.

Everett Marine was born in Valparaiso, Indiana on June 27, 1905. Shortly after, Ev and his family moved to Chicago, Illinois, which is about 50 miles from Valparaiso. There was a period right after W'WI, about 1919-1920, when there was a lot of war surplus radio equipment around, and they had also released the limitations on Amateur Radio operations. "It was at that time," Ev comments, "that I got interested in becoming a radio amateur ... when a neighbor built a two-tube audion receiver at his house. They were the tubular tubes with double filaments. He had it set up with a one-stage amplifier. I used to go over to his house along about midnight and we would listen to the radio broadcast, it was a code broadcast in English from Mexico City, and its station call was XDA. This man had a very good fist, he could transmit very clearly, and perfectly, and we would try to copy his fast transmissions which was about 30 words a minute. It was a lot of fun to pick up the news over the XDA broadcast. Later on, after practicing and listening to this fellow for a year or two, we got to where we could copy most of it, which was pretty good. That is where I first got my code speed up."

About 1922, Ev took the Amateur Radio license test and passed the test which was set up for licensing an individual. They did not give you a station license then. Ev didn't realize this. When he found out later that to operate a station, he had to fill out an application and describe the type of the transmitter he intended to set up and use. And how it was to be connected and so forth. Then he had to draw a diagram of it and make a list of all the equipment he planned to use. He mailed it to the FCC office. If it was OK they would send back the license number, code, and a sheet with all the information he had given them. This had to be posted in the station. So at that time, he had two licenses -- one for the operator, and one for the station. His call was 9AGE. (They didn't put a 'W' in front of the calls in those days.) He held this call from 1922-1926. Also, for part of this time, the high school Ev attended set up a small club and called him the "Chief Operator."

"Some of the equipment we made and worked on," Ev says, "were honeycomb coils, and spider web coils, and loose couplers and the three unit tube varometer and coupler units for receiving." Ev started out with the Ford coil for the spark, and ordinary helax. He got by with that and then later he got the 5-watt tube so he could operate CW and he set that up with the Thordarson transformer at first, and then later got an Acme transformer which was bigger and better. He operated that for awhile on raw AC without any rectified current on the voltage on tile plate. He could copy fairly well, but it was kind of a bad situation, he said, so the next step was to buy or build a rectifier, a Borax aluminum rectifier, using a Birch connection. He was able to rectify the AC off from the transformer and then put in filters and capacitors to give it a little better tone. He operated that, which was not the very best, he said, but it was at least a lot better than the raw AC that he started out with.

To Dual or Not to Dual: That is the Question By Gerry Crenshaw, WD4BIS

About handitalkies, that is, do you really need that dual band handitalkie. Are they worth their price? Will you use all of their capabilities? Is there enough traffic on 70 Cm to make it worth the effort.

One of the first items purchased by new radio operators is the handitalkie. Believe it or not, the profit margin on these items is very small, hardly worth the effort but the manufactures continue to turn out new smaller more advanced HT's. Many of these HT's now have so many features that when faced with a purchasing decision confusion abounds. Why do the Manufactures even bother cranking out a new, better model every year. The reasoning here lies in customer recognition and loyalty, and putting their name in the hand of as many hams as possible. After making that first buying decision, you will base future buying decisions on how it worked and after-purchase service.

Dual Band handitalkies/mobile come in every combination you can think of 144 and 440, 144 and 220, 440 and 1200 or in any combination you might think of. Why even consider one of these when making that first purchase? Depending on what your plans are the dual band may be your best buy. In many Radio Frequency-congested areas you may need both bands to do the communications you plan. Most emergency and traffic nets will be carried out on one band while casual QSO's and rag chewing will be carried on another. Public service events may use two different bands for different jobs, health, safety and welfare on one band and logistics (delivery of equipment or supplies, trash pick up, etc.) on another or medical traffic such as getting an ambulance to the aid stations or rest stops may be assigned exclusively to a separate band. If your plans include working some sort of Public Service events or working the Thons, a dual band may be worth the expense. Check around first and see what other bands the general ham population is using. 440 Mhz seems popular in the Dallas area while 220 Mhz seems to be popular in areas such as New York and Los Angeles.

Another great use of the dual band radio is as a cross-band repeater. A mobile or base station is set up to re-transmit and receive everything from one band to another.
144 Mhz Rx-440 Mhz Tx

440 Mhz Rx-144 Mhz Tx

For example, the 144 Mhz side is left on the repeater frequency and the 440 Mhz side is put on a simplex frequency. This can be very useful in situations where you want to extend the range of a handitalkie. This has been used with considerable success during emergency situations. A couple of things to watch for are picking the frequency to cross band from/to (a seldom-used simplex frequency makes a good choice from the handitalkie to the mobile) and the transmit power level of the mobile. It is very seldom that a radio will have independent control of the power level for both bands. So if you put the 144 Mhz side to high power to reach the repeater you are cross banding to, the 440 Mhz side will also be in high power. This means that one side or the other of the radio will be transmitting in High Power. In the course of several hours this will run down the best Die Hard battery.

The dual band radio is a good for public service work or for the convenience of having two bands in the palm of your hand. They can enhance the operation of any amateur operator in any kind of public service net or event. These make a great addition to any shack but don't say to good-bye to the kids college education money to get one.

73 de WD4BIS

Copyright 1996 Gerald Crenshaw WD4BIS. All rights are reserved.

An Interview With the 2,000 Year = Old Radio Amateur

This first appeared in the September 1998 issue of "Collector & Emitter", a publication that includes sections for a number of radio clubs, including this from the Oklahoma DX Association. Harold Miller-KBIZQ is Editor of C&E.

In a rare OKDXA Exclusive, KC5QVV interviews tile oldest living radio amateur. Your skepticism about this ham is understandable, but please read on!

Q: On behalf of the OKDXA, I want thank you for doing this interview.

A: It's good to be here. When you're 2,000 years old, it's good to be anywhere! The name here is Max, that's short for Maximus DeXus, and the call is IV.

Q: Quite an unusual call...

A: Yeah, most Hams think it's "India Victor", but it's the Roman numeral four. I was the fourth Ham licensed by The Roman Empire, and I'm here to tell you a lot has changed since then...

Q: I'm sure it has. I low long have you had your license?

A: I got the call IV when 1 was 16 years old... In 352 I upgraded and they gave me the call KKVIC. I asked for my old call back because every time I made a contact into Oklahoma, they kept calling me "Chuck"...

Q: You've seen so many changes in the hobby, is there and one thing that stands out as the most significant advancement in Ham Radio since you were licensed?

A: Wire.

Q: Wire?

A: Yeah, WIRE. You thought I'd pick something like the Compactron tube, but wire is essential. Take any radio and cut all the wire out of it. Then what do you have? You have JUNK! Try forging a full size 160-Meter rhombic out of a bronze ingot and you'll get the idea. Insulated wire was even better. I like wire.

Q: I would have thought the discovery of electricity was a significant event. You couldn't have radio without it.

A: Sure, electricity changed many things, but wire was a really big event. We had plenty of Amateurs long before electricity was discovered. They worked spark.

Q: How could you run a spark transmitter or receiver without electricity?

A: What transmitter? You want a spark, you take a piece of flint and a rock then bang the two of them together. You get a spark. We didn't have receivers. You had to go to the top of a hill at night if you wanted to work DX because you couldn't work 'em if you couldn't see 'em...

Q: Operating technique must have been very different from what we have today...

A: Yeah, I was really lucky back then. I had a three-story house on a corner a perfect DX location with a clear view in three directions. My neighbor down the street was IIX and XXIV was around the corner. IIX relayed for me on Net night. I remember a guy who claimed to be CLV wanted to be a regular on the Net, but his sending was so poor I checked up on him and he turned out to be a bootlegger. Nice guy and all that, but he had arthritis or something and couldn't pass the 13 words per hour code test. Lots of guys had that problem. He got a big stick and a hollow log and became a CB'er. What a shame. His neighbors complained a lot. You needed big rocks to pass that code test. Little rocks wore out too fast.

Q: Did you say 13 words per hour?
A: Yeah, code was different back then. We had 'Dits', but the 'Dah' hadn't been invented. The ARRL, you know, the Arabian Radio Rock League, was a bunch of crusty old codgers who insisted on preserving the Egyptian and Greek code characters. The Greek part wasn't too bad, but the Egyptian Hieroglyphs? Oy! We all bought Rosetta Stones for study guides... They said you weren't a real Ham unless you knew all the traditional characters, they said it would keep the riff-raft out of the hobby. You think learning code today is like learning Greek? Back then, it really was! 'Q' signs hadn't been invented, so it took forever to bang out a QSO, and I really mean bang out a QSO! I'll bet you thought the Rosetta Stone was a rare archaeological find. They were study guides. The ARRL sold them by the hundreds at HamFests. Very few of them survived. Most guys got so frustrated with learning the code they ended up selling them for boat anchors.

Q: What else was different?

A: We didn't work DX on sunny days. You couldn't see the sparks very far.

Q: Couldn't you use a mirror and signal by the sun's reflection instead?

A: I wish we had thought of that...

Q: What else was different?

A: Well, working mobile wasn't popular. You couldn't carry your big radio rocks on a jackass. It wasn't until 143 that I worked my first mobile station. I remember it like it was yesterday... It was a very dark night and I saw a faint series of flashes through the bedroom window. It was a CQ. I grabbed my radio rocks and banged out a reply. My wife asked what I was doing, and I told her I was talking to some guy sitting on his ass out near the edge of town. And she says: "For that, you need a license?" I don't think she ever really understood the hobby.

Q: Anything else?

A: Sure... I could go on for hours! Do you know who was the first repeater? It was XLIII. He lived on a big hill near Syracuse and was a chronic insomniac. He'd stay up all night with his radio rocks and relay traffic. Then, XAM in Crete got licensed and they'd relay back and forth between Sicily and Crete. Once word of this got around, they found more insomniacs willing to set up repeaters in Messina, Sicily and Cagliari, Sardinia. They had clear paths into Rome and Naples across the Mediterranean. The Nets ran all night and were incredible! Like 75 Meters today, it was mostly a bunch of crank old guys who couldn't sleep. It wasn't long before the Sicilians and Romans started to get on each other's nerves. Then XMIL in Crete developed a stutter. Did you know the word "Cretin" was invented because of XMIL? Some people say Caesar Augustus ordered Sicily burned to the ground because of the guys on those Nets. I don't think so, but. there was this guy in Sicily they always called "Antis Maximus"...

Q: What do you think of Amateur Radio today?

A: That's a good question... In some ways, it's better than it used to be. But some of the new technology is hard to understand. Do you remember when that Deforest kid invented the Audion vacuum tube? For guys like me who hammered out QSO's with a pair of radio rocks for centuries, that was a really big change! Let's just say I went through a lot of radio tubes before I got the idea of how they worked. I think I still have some scars on my hands from the broken glass... One thing I really wish they'd bring back is the Latin test… I know you have to change with the times, but QSO's in English don't have the elegance of a classic Latin QSO. In my opinion, the hobby took a really bad turn after they started issuing those "No Latin" licenses. And, The Pope agrees with me! I can't believe what passes for a QSO on the typical 2-Meter repeater today...

Q: Have you worked The Pope?

A: Which one? I've worked just about all of them. The Vatican repeater is probably the only place in the world where you can still find a good conversation in Latin. They had a heck of a time programming the digital voice ID'er, but it's like music to my ears. Some of the Greek amateurs think they're better than the rest of us because they still use a classic language, but I have a set of beams and I like to yank their chain every now and then with some really high-class Latin modulation They still get nervous when I talk about the good old days of The Roman Legions. Hi. Hi. And the Sicilians? Don't get me started! Let's just say I think Anus Maximus had a lot of descendants. I don't mean that in a bad way, I just think there isn't anything wrong with Sicily that a couple of Roman Legions with a weekend Pillage Pass couldn't straighten out…

Q: Are you saying there are some things about Amateur Radio that never change?

A: Yeah... It's true. As the last living citizen of The Roman Empire, let me say there's one thing I've learned from the Romans that's still true today: "You'll never get anywhere in this world until you learn to give a full day's work for a full day's pay". As for Amateur Radio, my latest project is setting up an ATV station so I can bang out QSO's with my radio rocks. Remember, you can't work 'em if you can't see 'em...

Contents Copyright 1998 - de Nelson Derks-KC5QVV- "lllegitimis Non Carborundum"


I know that all of you were saddened to learn this week of the death of one of our club's most valuable employees.-- Someone Else.

Someone's passing created a vacancy that will be difficult to fill. Else has been with us for many years, and every one of those years. Someone did far more than the normal person's share of the work. Whenever leadership was mentioned, this wonderful person was looked to for inspiration as well as results.

"Someone else can work with that group". Whenever there was a job to do, a class to teach, or a meeting to attend one name was on everyone's lips, "Let Someone Else do it".

It was common knowledge that Someone Else was among the hardest workers in the company.

It was common knowledge that Someone Else was among the hardest workers in the company. Whenever there was extra work to do, everyone just assumed that Someone Else would make up the needed hours.

Someone Else was a wonderful person, sometimes appearing super-human, but a person can only do so much. Were truth known, everyone expected too much of Someone Else.

Someone Else was a wonderful person, sometimes appearing super-human, but a person can only do so much. Were truth known, everyone expected too much of Someone Else. Now Someone Else is gone. We wonder what we are going to do. Someone Else left a wonderful example to follow, but who is going to follow it? Who is going to do the things Someone Else did? Remember, we can't depend on Someone Else anymore. This is your chance to be somebody in this club. Please give it some serious thought.

Provided by Lee Knirko, W9MOL




The meeting was called to order by Pat KE2LJ at 5:07 PM, with KB2UB as acting scribe.

In the absence of our Treasurer KD2UB, Pat gave the financial report.

Bob, W2ILP

Bob W2ILP reported no candidates at last session but 4 VEs showed up. Regarding changes in Amateur licensing, Bob said it would be at least July of 2000 before anything develops.

Gordon, KB2UB

KB2UB reported no new developments. Some complaints about a "noisy" repeater on 145.330. Time for new antennas??


Hank, W2ZZEwas sighted in the Credit Union, back from wintering over, but did not attend the meeting.


Bob reported no new WAG awards but Pat has put WAG information and standings on the Web site.

Field Day

Pat - We will again join with Suffolk County RC at the Grange site in Oakdale.



Thursday night 2 meter net is thin again. Sunday morning net was good last week.


Dayton - Marty NN2C reported a disaster story about lost reservations at the favorite hotel in Dayton. Reservations for this year were made last Year when our members departed the site. Motel 6 was not able to straighten it out for all, so Marty suggested everyone going to the convention should double check their room reservations.

High Seas Radio - KB2UB reported that AT&T discontinued its maritime HF/MF worldwide services in February. This leaves only one US transocean SSB service in place. Article by Gordon West in NMEA Journal.

Filters - Howard W2QUV reported that old telephone company filters can be used efficiently to suppress rf interference.

Meeting adjourned and we went into "show time" session, which was a display of digital clocks which have been built by members over the years. There are some pictures on the web from this session.