The North Carolina Single SideBand Net (Unofficial)

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North Carolina Single Side Band Net Recollections

K4ZKQ – “Al”

I joined this net in early 1960. At that time it was already a very active group of hams who saw suppressed-carrier side band transmissions to be a more effective use of the radio frequency spectrum. I think that we can safely accept the premise that this net was established at least as early as 1958. Its organizational stature in early 1960 and the fact that the South Carolina Single Side Band Net celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in April 2008 led me to that premise.

In the early days, all hams did not welcome suppressed-carrier side band transmissions. Not all ham operators had receivers that would tune the SSB signal appropriately. Thus they described what they heard as being “Donald Duck” or “Mickey Mouse” chatter. Those detractors had some very un-complimentary definitions for the initials “SSB.” But gradually SSB became the predominant operating mode for the high-frequency spectrum.

My “Elmer” was W4DCL, “Doc.” In his professional life, he was an outstanding general surgeon in Greensboro. As a ham radio operator he had an excellent station. If he appeared sleepy during the day, he simply told the nurses that he operated most of the night. One nurse told me that they would not ask which kind of operating had kept him from sleeping. His receiver was a Collins 75A(4). I think that his transmitting set-up started with a Central Electronics exciter. I don’t remember if he had an amplifier behind it. He encouraged me to begin with SSB capability. So after operating initially in the novice bands with the prerequisite CW operation (using a 60-watt transmitter borrowed from him), I put a Gonset GSB 100 on the air with 100 watts input of SSB signals on Christmas Day, 1959. The rig used a 6DQ5 sweep tube for its final output, drawing 160 milliamps at 600 volts on the plate. My receiver was a Hammarlund HQ 170C. The “C” indicates a clock that could be preset to turn the receiver on for a warm-up cycle to gain better stability before operating.

In addition to 3.938 megahertz being the gathering place for North Carolina hams operating on SSB, several hams from Virginia were also regular participants. Some of the earlier participants were:

WA4LWE, Brad Thomas, Pilot Mountain, NC, Net Manager. (SK)

W4HUL, E. H. “Pete” Petree, Winston Salem, NC. (SK)

W4BOH, Wilson Lamb (Sr.), Winston Salem, NC. (SK, his son has that call now.)

WB4CES, P. Glenn Summerville, (then in Charlotte) Statesville, NC

, Marty Hope, Charlotte, NC (and his XYL)

WB4ZAI, Roger Hillers, Virginia Beach, VA

W4HBA, Bob Akers, VA (SK)

WB4MXX, Willie Parks, Chesapeake, VA (SK)

, Sandy Taylor, VA

W4MBD (current call), Bob McNeill, Morehead City, NC

W4AJT, Weldon Fields, Greensboro, NC

K4FPA, Russ Tippett, Greensboro, NC (SK)

WA4GBO, “Barney” Reed, Martinsville, VA

K4VLR, Charlie Brown, Morehead City, NC

W4LGR, Rev. Mel Palmer, Greensboro, NC

WA4SQA, Ted Hudson, Greensboro, NC (SK)

WA4SQB, “Deputy Dawg” Greensboro, NC (SK)

W4CCW, (current call), Craig Willis, Atlantic Beach, NC

WA4UWK, Maxine Harris, Fairfax, VA (SK)

WB4GIM (early call), George Smith, Goose Creek, SC (SK)

K4KTR, Dwight McSmith, Newport News, VA (SK)

W4KRT, Fred Wetzel, (then Winchester, VA) St. Augustine FL

K4ILW, Lou LeTender, Hickory, NC

WA4AR (last call), Amos Rhames, Danville, VA (SK?)

WB4EJJ, Ralph Meeks, Sanford, NC

N4TAG, “Tag”

K4ULV, Ernie Jones, VA

K4HTD, Hugo Hendrix VA

K4VBU, Lynwood, "LYN",  Judkins  CARY, NC (SK)

K4TTN, Ed King, Asheville, NC

W4HIR, Cary Brown

N4NZ, “Bush”

N4YL, “Magpie”

That is a very skimpy list for a group that had a relatively large group of check-ins each night. But almost fifty years have gone by, and the only log page I have is the one showing when I put the GSB 100 on the air. Consequently, I have no “hard copy” list of participants during the early days.

For several years the NC SSBN on 3.938 megahertz was a member of the National Traffic System. The North Carolina Tar Heel Emergency Net on 3.923 megahertz also participated in the NTS. Eventually NTS designated the NC THEN as North Carolina’s NTS representative. Being removed from the NTS did not reduce the activities of the NC SSBN. Our evening net sessions were usually preceded and followed by rag chews, technical discussions/differences of opinion, etc.

Starting sometime in the mid-sixties, the group held an annual banquet. This was the outgrowth of an impromptu gathering for Chinese food at the Lotus Restaurant, in the 100 block of South Greene Street. At that time this was the only such restaurant in Greensboro. I didn’t participate; therefore this account is the story as I heard it: A couple of hams commented that they wanted some chow mien and decided to meet for a Saturday night supper; and a couple of others said that they would join them, and then some others said “Yeah, that’s a good idea.” Weldon Fields, W4AJT, recently recalled these names as the hams that joined him at that get-together: Russ Tippet, Bob Akers, Sandy Taylor, Ernie Jones, and Lynwood Judkins.

The idea of an expanded group get-together grew into the annual banquet with upwards of 100 – 125 attending at its peak. We met in Raleigh, NC, (at more than one facility – considering the alleged/admitted antics of self-proclaimed “Dr.” Harry Goforth from Shelby, maybe we couldn’t go to the same place twice), Burlington, NC, Thomasville, NC, Lake Lure, NC (the last one as I recall them) to name a few of the locations. In addition to the meal, the usual evening’s program of planned entertainment included hilarious (just short of ribald) skits, roasts, parody songs focusing on one or more members’ misfortunes, embarrassments, etc. Although very enjoyable, the event was discontinued. I think that was due to increasing costs for the facility and meal (guaranteed attendance and related amounts), as well as a lessening of energy/willingness (due to age?) to organize, participate and promote the get-together.

The NC SSBN, as a net group, has a good reputation as a congenial group. However, not so many years ago, 3.938 became a frequency that mirrored (and in some cases went beyond) the general laxness and deterioration in language and attitudes shown on entertainment radio and television. Some long-time regulars on the frequency viewed this as uncalled for and completely incompatible with the traditional high standards for amateur radio and “spun the knob” as they were told to do when they mentioned the “antics.” Fortunately, that type of behavior appears very infrequently now, and some of the old-timers are beginning to come back. Those of us who “stuck it out” are delighted to have more and more of them coming “back home.”

Although I am one of the oldest, I look forward to more years of being a part of this group.





It's been a long time since I have checked in...please
> add Lonnie WB4JAV and JB WA4MII to this site hstory. Both are silent
> keys. My brother Travis WA4MUN also a silent key and a regular for
> many years. Ted Morton WA4HQY is deaf as a coot. Lonnie WB4JAV called
> the net for many years when no one else would. Lou K4ILW was my first
> phone contact.



Pat and the others mentioned in your e-mail:

K4AVO, "Pat," used to check in as KA4AVO, Bruce P. Cox, Oxford, NC

WA4HQY, "Ted," was called Ed, Edward A. Morton Jr., Oxford, NC

K4ILF, "Lou," (no K4ILW in file), was Louis LeTendre, Hickory, NC - a
transplanted Yankee.
According to him, he and Ruth (his XYL) were on a leisurely tour and
stopped at a Holiday Inn (?) in Hickory.
During the check-in process, the lady at the desk asked him: "How long
do you plan to stay?
He told her: "The rest of our life if we like it."
She asked: "Would you like to see some property? Duke Power is opening
some property on the north side of the lake. I have a friend involved
in that development."
He and Ruth looked at the area, found a nice site on a knoll, built and
relocated. They had a nice QTH, complete with tower and swimming pool.
When he would criticize something about "The South" he would explain
(defensively) "I might be crazy, but I ain't stupid."

WB4JAV, "Lonnie," was George L. Wright, Jr., "the green worm tobacco
farmer," Oxford, NC. He hosted one or two get-to-gathers at the local
wildlife club (I almost injured someone when I tripped - at the wrong
time - a clay pigeon launcher during the skeet portion of the fun and

WA4MII, "J. B.," was J. B. Clay, a druggist in Oxford, NC (had a
station in the back area of the drug store.)

WA4MUN, "Travis," Travis B. Cox, Virginia Beach, VA





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