Updated 25-Nov-2021 18:33
Over 60 Years in Amateur Radio (first licensed as WA4DDO in AUG 1961, Valdosta, GA)
Last QSL Card for
Current QSL Card:
100% QSL policy:
QSLs are sent via LoTW for all QSOs, and paper QSLs are sent to anyone sending me one. (SASE preferred!)
(W1TR, WA1ALZ, WA2WSB, WA4DDO, W7YH (trustee at Washington State University, Pullman, WA), KP4VA (guest OP at University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez)
ARRL IEEE ACM
160 meter CW #924 ARRL Worked All States awarded 15-Jan-2008 (worked on a single weekend during the 2007 ARRL 160 CW Contest)
WAS Triple Play Award #637 awarded 20-Dec-2011
5BWAS #3039 awarded 30-Jan-2012
DXCC #42050 (finally after 47 years of hamming) 152 confirmed, as of 09-Jun-2008 (before the towers and Yagi’s were installed!)
5BDXCC #8595 (finally after 55 years of hamming) as of 28-Nov-2016
VUCC #1780 6 meters 125 Grids
Awards & Certificates(click for list)
Here is a picture of XYL Lyn WB1CCL, and Chief OP Terry W1TR married 17-Jul-2004. We knew each other since mid 1970’s and became better friends on Field Day 1977… she used MY callsign to operate 20 meters at night using the phonetics Whiskey One Tokyo Rose…
Boy what a pileup started immediately ! (the 2 element full sized 40m beam at 110 feet on top of the family crane and the 5 element 20m beam at 90 ft didn’t hurt either !)
Current Ham Shack -
click on picture or caption:
My first interest in radio was during the late 1950's when I lived on a farm in Miamisburg, south of Dayton, Ohio. My dad helped me put up a wire antenna in the trees and build a crystal set. One of his colleagues at work, Bob Shuup / W8CEA now a silent key, had a ham shack with lots of WW2 vintage equipment and I was fascinated.
Spring of 1960, we moved to Valdosta, GA. A fellow grammar school student, Billy Wallace / K4TVE, had a novice license and an EICO 720 + Hallicrafters SX-99. As my Elmer, he helped me learn the code. When he got his general, his uncle bought him a Johnson Ranger (wow, what a rig!). I also hung out with another classmate, Ed Mathis, K4NVI who had quite the setup: an SX-100, HT-37, and Johnson Viking 500 (HIS dad owned the largest hotel chain in Valdosta!). Both started with Eico 720 crystal controlled transmitters.
In August 1961, I was first licensed as WA4DDO. I skipped the novice license (one year, non-renewable) because I did not have money for a transmitter. Just listening on the SX-99 receiver that I bought with grass mowing money from the previous summer, I got my code speed up to 15 wpm, more than adequate for the conditional class license. Valdosta was far enough away from Atlanta, New Orleans, and Jacksonville that I didn’t have to go to the FCC office to take the test. The local ham who gave me the test (can't remember his callsign) had a 60 ft tower, tri-band yagi beam antenna, Collins KWM-2, and brandy new 30L-1 that arrived that afternoon by US Postal Service (it was a brand new Collins product at that time). I admired them for years (now I have my own!). All the local hams came over to see the new fancy gear and watch me squirm with the exam that day. About 6 weeks later, I made my first contact from K4TVE’s location immediately after the ticket came in the mail, but got I my first QSL card from a QSO while operating K4NVI’s equipment later that fall.
We moved to Florham Park, NJ (WA2WSB) in late fall of 1961 and my dad helped me buy a Heathkit DX-60 for Christmas, and I was on the air with my own station for the first time by the end of 1961. With the help of Ed, W2CVW, I became an NCS on the New Jersey Net (NJN) CW traffic handling where we passed 70 messages per hour at 30 WPM during the Vietnam War era, messages from Great Lakes Naval Training Center! A neighbor ham, Ace/K2YZD, took a number of us to the radio club in West Orange where they had a small station including a 2 meter Gooney Box (Gonset Twoer) and we worked some 2m AM around the local area. Two other local hams, Holly/WA2QYV and Bob/WA2VCP enlisted my baby sitting services and gave me the keys to the hamshack for the duration of their nights out on the town! He was a SSB homebrewer and I learned a lot from him. I went to my first ARRL Field Day (1962) at the Morris Amateur Radio Club… W2OYH (Old Yankee Hotel) and froze my butt off during the wee hours of the morning while operating a few hours. I helped start the Hanover Park High School Amateur Radio Club, and helped about a dozen members get their Novice license by mentoring them and giving them the exam.
In the Summer of 1963 we moved to Trumbull, CT (WA1ALZ). After the 2 year minimum wait time, some friends and I went down to NYC to take the extra class exam in August. I soon got a Central Electronics 20A, Lakeshore VFO, and built my own homebrew pair of 6146's and complete SSB receiver based on an early 60's GE Ham News article, a RTTY demodulator for an old model 14 tape printer, then a homebrew pair of 813's (unshielded, lots of TVI!) and I hung out with the SSB homebrewers on 3999. I was a regular member of the Stratford Amateur Radio Club (W1ORS) which met at Booth Memorial Park on the river in Stratford. I got many good parts from the junkboxes of old-timers from that club for the RTTY and 813 amplifier. In 1963 I became a member of ARMY MARS but let my membership lapse when I went off to college in the fall of 1965.
My parents moved to Orangeburg SC the summer (1965) before college, so I was on the air very briefly from there the month before college, and during semester break (winter). They moved back to CT next summer so I kept my WA1 callsign. Then I was off the air for quite a while during school at UConn (BSEE), Stanford Univ. (MSEE). UConn had a club station, W1LXV but it wasn’t very active, and I didn’t have the time anyway! Ditto for Stanford (W6YX). I did, however, continue to participate in ARRL Field Day, at the Englewood Cliffs Amateur Radio Association headed by Dave Popkin W2CC (then WA2CCF). We had 23 simultaneous transmitters and almost a hundred people participating.
After college, I lived in Lisle, IL (an apartment city, no antennas allowed) west of Chicago where I worked for Bell Labs, Electronic Switching Division. While at Bell Labs, I acquired a Johnson Pacemaker and used that plus my homebrew receiver to make a couple of contacts using the Lab’s club station antennas. Unfortunately, I left that equipment there when I went back to graduate school at UConn L
I got back on the air in 1973 when I returned to school at UConn for a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science, and lived in an antenna friendly apartment in the nearby countryside (Ashford, CT) a few miles from where I live today. I got a used Eldico SSB-100, a couple of Collins R-390A receivers, a Johnson Valiant, and parts for a Johnson Thunderbolt amplifier from an estate sale (Herb Gordon of Harvard, MA). I had lots of fun converting one R-390A unit into a transmitter, the Collins/Glagowski T-390A! I still have these units today (check the circuit schematics elsewhere in this WEB to see how I did it!), but they are not yet back on the air at the moment! I rejoined MARS 1975, but this time USAF MARS and have remained a member ever since.
In 1977, there was a window of opportunity to get a re-issued 2 letter call for free before the vanity system because the US Supreme Court ruled that ALL license fees were illegal due to their cost structure and struck them down. So I applied for and received W1TR in late spring of 1977. Thinking back, $29 wasn’t really that much to get a 2 letter call (I was eligible in late 1976), but that was a significant amount for a struggling graduate student in those days!
The Natchaug Amateur Radio Association (NARA) quickly recruited me as a CW OP for their field day operation, to battle the rival ECARA group (K1MUJ). Since I was the first recipient of a 2 letter call in the club, we used W1TR for field day operations thereafter. This is where I met my current XYL Lyn, WB1CCL, but it would be over 25 years before we became married (to EACH OTHER)!
In 1978, I moved to the Boston area (Chelmsford, MA) and worked for GTE Labs, Waltham, (yes, more telephones) and tried to balance career, family, finishing my Ph.D, and ham radio. In 1984 accepted the position of USAF State MARS director for Massachusetts / Rhode Island, but resigned this position when I moved to Washington State in 1989.
In 1989 I took a faculty job at Washington State University in Pullman, WA and later at the branch campus in Spokane, WA. It was lots of fun being a W1 in 7 land! My particular interest was 160 meters because I had 4 acres of room and tall trees on a high plateau (2300 ft) overlooking the city of Spokane. It was especially fun when the ARRL made Eastern Washington a separate ARRL section, because it was more rare than NV, ID, ND or DE, and I easily won the ARRL 160 meter CW contest for years until some big guns moved in (I was the only station on from EWA! That has now since changed!). While in Spokane, I operated an elaborate USAF MARS Packet BBS system to link the NW CONUS to Los Angeles, Seattle, Alaska, Hawaii, Korea, and Japan.
In 1996 I returned to the New England area (Upton, MA), and was on the air, but not really that active due to my focus on career, but now I finally have a really nice radio QTH in the village of Westford, CT in the NW corner of the town of Ashford, and a beautiful new XYL who is also a ham (WB1CCL), some really good new equipment, and antennas to enjoy the hobby in all its dimensions once again.
The most fun radio contact for me EVER occurred one night when Roger / VK4YB in Brisbane, and some of his buddies from Australia gave me a call on 160 meters (in Spokane, WA) and caused me to almost fall out of my chair! A close second was when I lived in Chelmsford, MA during the mid 1980's and there was a big aurora, I worked Chicago on 2 meter SSB, wow what a contact! Another interesting phenomenon was an “echo” on both 160 meters and 80 meters of about 1/3 second delay which happened sometime in late 1995. After checking some QST articles and inquiry to the ARRL tech department, the phenomenon matched a situation where a “wormhole” in the earth’s magnetic field (aka Long Delay Echo or LDE) developed and my signal went out along magnetic field lines and bounced off the ionosphere in the southern hemisphere and came back. It lasted for about half an hour and disappeared! Weird huh?
I also got great excitement from making my first 1296 MHz contacts during the 2007 Summer and Fall ARRL VHF QSO parties to Mt. Greylock (W2SZ), Mt. Wachusett (K1TR), Long Island (N2GHR), Cape Cod (K5MA), and a few other locals (K1JCL / K1GX and more). I have since acquired transverters for 144, 222, 432, 902, and 1296 and interfaced them to my Apache Labs Anan 100D SDR. They work better than the TS-2000x, and the 100D has a panadapter display to find stations calling on the band without twisting the VFO knob!
The original holder of the callsign W1TR aka W2ZK and W3HKO is a guy named Amory H. (Bud) Waite, Jr. (1902-1985) who had a distinguished career in radio. Although I got the call W1TR in 1977, I never met the man… too bad!
See PROFESSIONAL BIOGRAPHY for more details