W6AM, Breaking Eggs and Spilt Milk

19 Oct

Its been a long dry spell since I have posted much here. Most of the summer was spent reading and staying cool since our summer was the hottest since 1980 here in Texas. This was the Summer of the Santa Fe Trail….lots of good first hand history available for that time period. Gregg, Webb, Kingsbury and others left a strong legacy of written first hand information vis life and living during the westward march toward California. Mostly in the 1840-1870 period. I find this fascinating reading and well worth the time invested.

Earlier this week a local fellow stopped by the casa to show me a QRP radio he had found and also to drop off a book he had from a local estate sale. This one was Jan Perkins story of Don Wallace, W6AM. It seems funny that I would never have read much about the history of a hobby that I had spent a significant portion of my life pursuing, but I had not done so. Once into it I cannot put it down. Jan isn’t a  big time author but he spins a good yearn and he managed to capture Don Wallace’s Oral History on tape before he passed. From that and one on one’s over the years sprang this wonderful story. I can still recall standing around at Visalia DX conventions during the seventies and eighties seeing the likes of W6AM and OH1BH etc etc. coming and going like Hamdom Royalty. I never spoke to Don in person but did one time work him on a “just opened up” 30 meters band whenever that happened. My Morse was so bad at that time he must have mistaken me for DX as he called me! That was a quick QSO. 🙂 He used to drive up to Visalia in a big Cadillac convertible (IIRC) with a KW mobile. Anyway if you can find a copy of this book I would heartily recommend it as good reading. It makes wonderful reading showing glimpses of  how this all came about and how many eggs needed breaking and how milk got spilt while learning lessons about the newfangled wireless technology. I sometimes think we take our modern life for granted. It has been only 80 years since most of America got electricity. Its been barely 100 years since the advent of wireless. I can now see a copy of Clinton DeSoto’s 200 Meters and Down coming to my home as the history door has been finally opened.

At one time I believe Jim Maxwell, W6CF was going to write a history of Ham Radio and had been doing research on the subject for years. I wonder what became of all of that research once Jim passed? It would be wonderful if someone could pick up where he left off and attempt to complete the work. What a nice fitting salute to both Jim Maxwell and the Ham Community at large and all those pioneers that sweated over bell wire, soldering irons and counterpoises making our present hobby possible.

That’s all for now from Casa Cuesta Mucho Coppell,TX so thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG

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Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Radio, Stuff


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