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First-Hand:Early Recollections of Ham Radio

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It all started with a near-fatal case of pneumatic fever on Thanksgiving Day, 1934. Having just turned eleven, my major interests then were football and bicycles, of which I had one and none, respectively.

A fine physician in Paterson, New Jersey, Dr. Peter Roy, knowing that the oncoming teen years must be spent in a semi-invalid routine, searched for some alternatives. "Do you think you might like short-wave radio?" Sounded fascinating. My only "big brother" brother-in-law and New Jersey Bell Telephone sales-engineer, A.P. Wasdyke, found a 6F7-37 ac-dc regenerative receiver kit. With the help of Western Electric engineer-cousin, Gus Pasch, it was soon wired and working.

At first Dad and I listened only to the New York Yankee games and 190 meter police broadcasts. Personally, though, I spent more and more time listening to the "ham-radio" bands and was licensed on April19, 1938, as W2LHB. (The thrill associated with ever-increasing long distance contacts is still recallable.) Pat Urghart, G4DR, of Bushby, Leistershire and I celebrated fifty years later on September 3, 1989. Despite the wishes of my sainted Mother that she one day would be able to say, as could her Russian-Jewish friend, Mrs. Eigen, "Mein menschen son, the doctor," a career-pattern in radio/electronics engineering was set.

Most of my fellow naval engineers, contemporary, junior and senior, helped me learn that leadership can be reduced to three different kinds of knowledge; two important ones being knowlege of one's (technical) "stuff' and knowledge of one's associates, bosses and juniors. These, however, cannot be learned satisfactorily until the knowledge of one's self the most difficult knowlege of them all- is well on its way to being understood. Without this knowledge, one can smash oneself on the rocks of compulsive perfection.