Time Again to Get Your Qs on Route 66
The 15th annual Route 66 On The Air special event gets underway on September 6 (0000 UTC) and continues until September 14 (2359 UTC). The Citrus Belt Amateur Radio Club sponsors this Amateur Radio celebration of the historic US highway, sometimes called “the Main Street of America,” fielding 21 special event stations with 1 × 1 call signs (W6A through W6U) in various locations along the approximately 2450 mile roadway. Participants who work at least one of the special event stations are eligible to request, for a modest fee, a commemorative Route 66 on the Air certificate or decal.
The former US Route 66 has a lengthy history, starting in 1926, when the highway began at Jackson Street and Michigan Avenue in Chicago and ended at Seventh Street and Broadway in Los Angeles. In 1936 the road was extended to the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica.
During “The Dust Bowl” of the 1930s, destitute Plains families often used Route 66 to travel to California in search of agricultural jobs there. This westward migration created the initial need for travel services all along the road to the Pacific, and by the 1940s thousands of service stations, motor lodges, souvenir shops, and eateries had sprung up along the road — including the very first McDonald’s restaurant in San Bernardino, California. By the 1950s, US Route 66 also had given rise to a variety of “tourist attractions” too, ranging from the mundane to the bizarre.
The “Route 66” TV series in the 1960s was shot on location. It featured actors Martin Milner (as “Tod Stiles”) and George Maharis (as “Buz Murdock”) and their adventures traveling the famous road in a Chevy Corvette.
The introduction of the Interstate Highway System was the death knell for US Route 66, and in 1985, US Route 66 officially ceased to exist, although many of the states through which it passes operate sections of the original road as state routes.
More information on the Route 66 On The Air special event, including suggested operating frequencies, is available on the Citrus Belt ARC website. E-mail for more information. — Thanks to John Bigley, N7UR/Nevada Amateur Radio Newswire