Surfin’: A View of Our Evolution
By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
This week, Surfin’ visits the ARRL’s Evolution of Amateur Radio Exhibit -- virtually and in person.
I visited ARRL Headquarters this week and my intrepid editor, Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, gave me a tour of the facilities. Although I live less than 20 miles away, I don’t get over to Newington that often, so a tour to see what is new was in order. I joked with Khrystyne that instead of 20 miles, I usually have to drive more than 700 miles to the Dayton Hamvention in order to see my friends at ARRL Headquarters.
My tour included a look at the new ARRL Evolution of Amateur Radio Exhibit and Khrystyne suggested that I should write about it.
According to the exhibit’s web page, ARRL Test Engineer Bob Allison, WB1GCM, developed the exhibit “with the support of the Board of Directors and the help of staff members and volunteers. Our goal is to preserve ARRL and Amateur Radio history through the preservation of the hardware side of our historical collection.”
After passing by a working backup model of OSCAR I at the entrance of the exhibit, the stark fluorescent lighting of the ARRL Lab gave way to the soft incandescent lighting of the exhibit, which rested on a Persian rug, giving the exhibit a “ham radio at home” atmosphere.
Wall-to-wall cabinets overflow with old equipment and a cool Hallicrafters sign, while three operating positions break up the wall. Joe Walsh, WB6ACU, donated the equipment that comprises one operating position, representing a circa-1960 ham radio set-up. Spark gap equipment (not connected to an antenna) represents another operating position.
A circa-1970 Novice station represents the third operating position. Viewing that station and its Hallicrafters SR-42 144-MHz transceiver made me recall something that I had long forgotten: Back then, Novices had voice and CW privileges on 2 meters.
What struck me about the old equipment on display was that I actually owned and used some of the equipment -- including the SR-42 -- when it was new and just out of the box! Wow! Did I feel my age as I creaked out of the exhibit.
I really enjoyed viewing the exhibit and I want to go back to take a closer look. But in the meantime, I can relive what I saw by viewing the video and photos of the exhibit that are online.
By the way -- although the exhibit includes an eclectic array of old equipment, it does not include a Cosmophone and WB1GCM told me that the ARRL does not have one in its possession.
Until next time, keep on surfin’!