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Surfin’: Numbering 600

07/13/2012

By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor

This week, Surfin’ reaches the 600 mark and commemorates the event numerically.

Let me recount the ways that the number 600 has figured into my radio world.

Bridgeport’s WICC has been on 600 kHz forever -- even back when 600 kHz was 600 kc. Bob Crane -- of television Hogan’s Heroes fame -- came from my hometown (Waterbury, Connecticut) and was a disc jockey at WICC, but I never heard him on the air.

WICC did not put in much of a signal in my neck of the woods, and I seldom listened to it. It was good enough to put into my AM radio log, but not good enough for casual listening.

Instead, I listened 60 kHz up, at 660 kHz, the home of New York City powerhouse WNBC. There I listened to the talk shows of Bill Mazer in the late afternoons and Long John Nebel in the real early morning. Occasionally, Jean Shepherd, K2ORS, was a guest on Long John’s midnight show, which would result in all-nighters for me.

Not 600, but 1/10 of 600, the Heath DX-60 (B version) was my first transmitter -- and the first kit I built successfully. Its matching receiver, the HR-10B, was the first kit I ever built, but I had to send it back to Heath to remove the kinks I had installed during building that caused the radios fuse to blow every time I turned it on.

Take 40 away from 600 and you have my first non-kit HF transceiver, the Yaesu FTdx560. What a beautiful radio! What a lousy power supply! Mine blew up twice and I sold the radio after “fixing” (replacing) the supply the second time.

Take away another 40 from 600 and you have my next HF transceiver, the Kenwood TS-520, which is my favorite HF radio so far. I’m sorry that I sold it, especially since I used the proceeds to buy a radio that was a disaster.

The most ham radio fun I have without getting on the air is at the Hara Arena, the site of the Dayton Hamvention. As the crow flies, Hara is exactly 600 miles from my hometown; however, as the Interstate winds, it’s more than 700 miles.

Also, 600 is the exact number of times I have written Surfin’. The first installment of Surfin’ appeared in December 2000 and you are reading installment number 600 now. I hope you enjoyed the first 600 installments and will stick around for the second 600.

Until next time, keep on surfin’!

Editor’s note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, seeks the unusual in radio. To contact Stan, send e-mail or add comments to the WA1LOU blog.



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