Tokyo 1954

By Bob Wexelbaum, W2ILP





The photo above shows: from left to right, Hisao Shono, JA1AA, who was at that time the president of the Japanese Amateur Radio League (JARL) and editor of Japanese CQ DX magazine, yours truly W2ILP, at that time a private in the US Army Signal Corp, and a Japanese student, who was a high speed CW OP.  The picture was taken by Monte L. Brink, K6MDY.  Monte and I served at the 181st Signal Company (8th Army Signal Depot) in South Korea, and were vacationing in Tokyo, on what was termed by the military: a “Rest and Recuperation” (R&R).   Monte and I kept in touch by sending yearly Christmas cards to each other for over 35 years, until Monty’s XYL informed me that he was a silent key.  JA1AA is still active, now  using QRP rigs.   He is no longer JARL president.


The photo was taken in the home of the student, whose call sign I do not remember  On the right you can see his receivers, probably military surplus.  The rack on the left contains his home brewed transmitter. In 1954, Japanese companies such as Yaesu, Kenwood and I-Com did not exist.  Japanese hams had to build or buy ham gear that was not as sophisticated as the best of American made radios of that time..  Most Japanese hams would have loved to own the Hallicrafters, National,, Hammerlund or Collins radios that US hams owned.  The JARL was much patterned after the ARRL, and I was told that many JA hams bought ARRL handbooks, after WWII as an aid to learning to read technical English ,as well as a way to study ham radio technology.  JA1AA laughed as he showed me a National Radio advertisement, at the back of his ARRL handbook.  In small print the ad said, “Prices slightly higher west of the Rockeys”.  I don’t know if the Japanese hams foresaw the time when Japanese manufactured ham radio gear would be popular world wide.  However the Japanese said that television sets would soon be made in Japan.  They were impressed when I told them that I had worked, as a TV troubleshooter technician, at te Emerson Radio & TV factory in Jersey City, NJ, before I was in the military service.  Using their very limited English, they asked me about television production methods in the US. At that time TV transmitting stations were already operating in Japan.  They were based on the American RCA system.  Few Japanese could afford to buy their ownTV sets.

I had contacted JA1AA while I was in Korea by mail and had set up an appointment for K6MDY and myself to visit some Tokyo hams, when we were scheduled for R&R.  Thus we visited three different ham QTHs, this sudent’s being the first.  Hisao did not own a car, but he insisted on paying all of the taxi fares as we went from QTH to QTH.  At each QTH we removed our shoes and were served tea, as is the custom. The second was the QTH of an active ham, who was a medical doctor. Severeal other JA hams  also met with us at the second QTH. We discussed the evolution of photo multiplier tubes. The most interesting was the third QTH.  This was in a large concrete apartment building on the top floor.  It was the QTH of  Myiao Kan, JA1CO (sk) who was a communication engineer.  His XYL was also an engineer and so he asked us permission for her to sit with us after she served us not only tea, but shots of whisky.  JA1CO wore a kimona, but his XYL wore western clothes. We sat on the floor mats. It was considered customary to ask our permission, as Japanese women, at that time, could not assume to converse on the same level as men without formal permission.  The walls of the room were covered by racks of scanning radio receivers, primative spectrum analyzers and brush recorders.  JA1CO explained that the name Kan was not a typical Japanese name and that some of his ancestors were Chinese.  He and his XYL worked for the Japanese Bureau of Standards.  His job was to forcast radio propagation conditions.  He had written a book on that subject and gave me an English copy of it.  Unfortunately I lost the book.  The math in the book was far beyond my comprehension at that time, as I had yet to take college level statistical courses.  Aparently Kan was using a system that depended on monitoring noise level trends in order to make his propagation predictions.

After completing my 16 month tour of duty in Korea, I returned, as a civilian, to the my old job at Emerson Radio.  I told the people who worked with me that the Japanese were going to manufacture TV sets.  They did not believe me.  They said that the Japanese were unable to make CRTs (picture tubes).  I was promoted to work in the government engineering branch at Emerson Radio.  I worked first on projects involved with early transistor circuit design and then with analog flight training simulators.  Two  years later Emerson Radio & TV Corp in New Jersey was out of buisness.   Their TV manufacturing could not compete with  Japanese companies such as Sony. What remained of  the government branch was sold to Litton and relocated to Maryland.  The Abrams brothers, who had owned Emerson, moved to Israel.   Anticipating the demise of Emerson, I found work at Loral as a field service engineer, avoiding Emerson’s massive layoff.. The Emerson name was sold, along with its music sign logo.  Today Emerson brand TVs and other electronic appliances are made in South Korea.

This trip to visit the Hams of Tokyo happened in 1954.  I was only 20 years old at that time.  I since learned from speaking to Japanese engineers at an IEEE forum in New York, that JA1AA was considered a sort of Hugo Gernsback of his day.  He was an editor of popular pulp radio magazines, but was soon overshadowed by the engineering hams who designed the modern transcievers that Japanese, as well as American hams, prefer to operate, over most of the primative  attempts at amateur home brewing.

K6MDY and myself were not the first American GIs who met with Japanese hams. However we were told that we were the first to come from duty in South Korea and spend part of our R&R vacation time visiting Hams in Tokyo.





This month’s link was suggested by Dave Ledo, AB2EF.  It is the web site of the  Westeren Historic Radio Museum: On its home page you can click on links that show both ham radio gear  and radio receivers from the early wireless days through WWII and after WWII.  There is a link that shows the early keys and bugs;  another link that shows many microphone types.  You can browse all of the stuff that might be of technical or historical intertest to you by clicking on the links.  I especially liked the pages devoted to National HRO receivers.  I always dreamed of owning one myself…but never did.



By Gordon, KB2UB (Vice President)


            Our Holiday Party, this year will constitute the December meeting at Bertuccis, on Route 110, north of the Northern State at 5:30 PM.  The date is December 19.  We will have a room and a selection of Bertuccis pizza and whatever.  The cost is around 25 dollars per person, still being negotiated, and we will have to guarantee a minimum, so please let Secretary Karen Cefalo know if you plan to attend.  Karen’s e-mail is: [email protected]


            We hope to meet the expected minimum of 25 to 30 but if not I suggest that the club underwrite any shortfall.  After all it is our money to use and our social cohesion is very important right now.  Thank you all and please keep Karen in the know.




There was an early ARRL report that Riley Hollingsworth, special council to the FCC, was about to retire.  The latest report says that he will remain in his position.  Hollingsworth spoke at an HRU and was well liked by hams because he enforced the FCC regulations of Part 97.  We can all breathe a sigh of relief because Riley has now declared that he intends to stay. 




Here is another cryptogram:-




Solution to October’s cryptogram:-







Secretary, Karen KC2OPX


This meeting was called to order by Gordon at 5:30 PM

TREASURERS REPORT – Ed, WB2EAV          REPEATER REPORT – Gordon, KB2UB                       

Finances continue to be in good shape.                    Both repeaters are now on the air.  The .745 repeater        

                                                                                  conflict is being resolved.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        VE REPORT – Bob, W2ILP                                  NET REPORT- Zack, WB2PUE

4 applicants applied: and passed:;                             We hope that more members will be active on the                                                                                                                                      

2 Techs, 1 General, 1 Extra                                       Thursday night 2 Meter nets.

5 VEs were present:: AB2EF, AB2NT,                     Propagation was again poor for the Sunday

KB2QFT, KC2OPX and W2ILP                               morning 40 Meter net.                                         


OLD BUSINESS: We are in the process of renewing liability forms as required by the Northrop-Grumman recreation department..                                                                                                                                         NEW BUSINESS: Planning has started for the December holiday party meeting which will be held at Bertucci’s restaurant on Rte. 110 in Melville.


PROGRAM: Our program consisted of three speakers:  Tom Carrubba, KA2D, who is our ARRL Section Manager spoke about emergency coordination, ARES , RACES. and the importance of Field Day. Phil Lewis, N2MUN, who originated the idea of HRUs, explained about the planning that is going on for the next Ham Radio University (HRU 2008) which will be held on January 13th, 2008 at Briarcliffe College.  More about HRU 2008 can be found at:a dedicated website: Steve Barreres, K2CX, ARRL Technical Coordinator, spoke about the cooperation of LIPA in regard to eliminating BPL interference in our area. Steve said that his first QSO was with Gerry Bontempe WB2MPP, who was a very active GARC member and was later related to him by a family marriage.


The meeting was adjoined at 6:30 PM




40 Meters: 7.289 MHz at 7:30 AM EST Sundays.

2 Meters (via repeaters): 146.745 MHz  (-.600)at 8:30 PM EST Thursdays.

                                           145.330 MHz (- .600) at 8:45 PM EST Thursdays.

[Tone for both repeaters is 136.5 Hz]         (ARES/RACES) Mondays



General Meetings of the GARC are held on the third Wednesday of each month, starting at 5:30 PM.   The meetings are held at the Allen Ellsworth Park in Farmingdale.  Check the GARC web site to be certain of meeting location, which may change after this newsletter, is distributed. Board meetings are held eight days before the General Meeting.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   GARC WEB SITE

 The web site of the GARC can be found at     Webmaster is Pat Masterson KE2LJ.  Pictures of GARC activities, archives of newsletters, roster of members, and other information about the GARC may be found there including Field Day pictures.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          




We are continuing to proctor exams for all classes of ham licenses on the second Tuesday of each month starting at 5:00 PM.

The present exams are:

Element 2: Technician

Element 3: General  

Element 4: Amateur Extra Class.


The fee for 2007 is $14 for all exams taken at one sitting. 


Applicants for upgrades should bring a photocopy of their license and any CSCE and their FRN number.


New, first time applicants should be aware that their Social Security number will be required on their application form.  All applicants should bring driver’s license or other picture ID.


Until further notice, VE exams will be at Briarcliffe College

1055 Stewart Avenue

Room: Long Beach #5

Bethpage, NY

Briarcliffe in Bethpage is located in a building that was formerly part of the Grumman complex.


All applicants should contact W2ILP to preregister so as to confirm location.  If no applicants apply, exam sessions may be cancelled.


For any information e-mail: -

[email protected] or phone: -

(631) 499-2214


Study material information is available at the or the web site.

All VECs use the same Q & A pools.

Since the beginning of the VE program the GARC has provided opportunities to take ham exams monthly, during all twelve months of every year.


Bob Wexelbaum, W2ILP

and the Grumman VE team.                                  



As most of you may know, I am not an active DX chaser now.  I no longer have a rotatable tri-band beam antenna.  While I do occasionally experiment with digital modes and make an occasional SSB phone QSO, I am not what could be called a DX hound…nor do I participate in the pile-ups that crop up when a new or rare country pipes up on an HF band.  As I always say, “Ham Radio means different things to different people.”  I must admit that, I now spend more time on the Internet.  And so it was an unexpected surprise when, I received a little snail mail envelope from the North Jersey DX Association last week.  I remember sending them a check to forward QSL cards to me about 20 years ago.  I opened up the envelope and found four QSL cards:  A Hellschreiber QSO with RV6YZ/6 (Russia) on 20 Meters.  Another Hell contact with HB9DVH (Switzerland) on 40 Meters. An RTTY contact with PP5TG (Brazil) on 20 and an SSB QSO with DK0RMR (Germany) on 20.  I have not entirely lost my ham radio spirit.  Yep …Cards like those still give me goosebumps in a way that no e-mail message can.!   Once a ham…always a ham.  Didahdidahdit Dahdidah!



Bob w2ilp (I Like Peace)





President                                                     Pat Masterson              KE2LJ   Retiree     831-971-8761

Vice President       Gordon Sammis             KB2UB            Retiree     631-666-7463

Secretary               Karen Cefalo                  KC2OPX                        631-754-0974
Treasurer               Ed Gellender                   WB2EAV         X02-14   516-575-0013

2Yr Board Member    Zack Zilavy               WB2PUE         Retiree    631-667-4628
2YrBoard Member     Dave Ledo               AB2EF

2Yr Board Member    Bob Christen          W2FPF             

1Yr Board Member    Bob Wexelbaum    W2ILP          Retiree     631-499-2214

1Yr Board Member    Jack Cottrell          WA2PYK           Retiree     516-249-0979

Trustee WA2LQO       Ray Schubnel        W2DKM       Retiree




Meeting Programs       Contact a Board Member

FCC Exam Coord.         Bob Wexelbaum       W2ILP     Retiree        631-499-2214






As Gordon Sammis, wrote elsewhere in this newsletter, our general meeting of December 19th starting at 5:30 PM will be a Holiday Party at Bertucci’s restaurant, 881 Walt Whitman Road (Rte 110), Melville. The total cost per person, including tip, will be approximately $25.00.  All GARC members and spouses are invited but you must register by sending an e-mail to our secretary, Karen Cefalo at [email protected] so that an appropriate reservation commitment can be confirmed.



           HRU 2008


Ham Radio University 2008 will be held at Briarcliffe College in Bethpage on January 13th 2008.  There have been two planning meetings for this event and another is scheduled for November, 14th, starting at   7:00 PM in the Briarcliffe Cafeteria.   There is still time for members of the GARC to join the program as forum speakers.  Most importantly there is a need for GARC members to volunteer to promote our club by helping to operate an application table which will hopefully inspire new members to join the GARC.  There will be more information about HRU 2008 in next month’s newsletter and the HRU web site, which is now in the process of being updated, will detail information about all of the speakers and all of the forum subjects that will be covered.  As has been the HRU policy, nothing new or used will be sold at the HRU.  It is not a ham flea market.  It is a day of ham education and ham fraternization and the combined effort of all of the clubs in the New York - Long Island ARRL section.  If you are a Long Island ham, it should be in your interest to participate or to at least attend this event.