New Website Offers Treasure Trove of Vintage Ham Radio Photos, QSL Cards
The grandson of Thomas “Tom” Russell Gentry, W5RG (SK), has developed a website that is certain to be of interest to vintage radio enthusiasts. Don Retzlaff, who is not a ham, said his grandfather was among the earliest Amateur Radio operators, getting his license in the early 1920s — at one point identifying as NU5RG — and remaining active until he died in 1979. The W5RG call sign has since been reissued.
“He collected QSL cards from other amateur operators all through his life,” Retzlaff said of his grandfather, some 5700 in all. “In recent years I became interested in those cards and my grandfather’s hobby.”
With the help of his father Donald Retzlaff, W5MIY, Retzlaff located all of the QSLs as well as other memorabilia documenting his grandfather’s ham radio activities and his time in the Army Air Corps shortly after World War I. He painstakingly scanned both sides of each card along with dozens of photos of now-vintage stations — many with operators — that his grandfather had collected and posted them all on a website dedicated to his grandfather and his life as an Amateur Radio operator.
Among other features, the site offers an opportunity to leave comments. “This has definitely been a labor of love,” said Retzlaff, who retired this year as a Principal Lecturer in the Computer Science Department at the University of North Texas.