Alumni Correspondance

Earlier this year during the spring semester, the club was able to contact some alumni for some stories from the club’s past.

Tom Vinson, NY0V, wrote:

“It’s good to hear from someone that is in the club today. You never know how much interest there will be over decades! I was at SIU from 1970-74. My roommate for my first two years was WA9YLB, Jim McNabb who is now W9BM. We ran my HW101 into a dipole on top of Schneider Tower. We had room 1731 and just ran the coax off the roof and into our room! We also had a 3 ele yagi on 2m where we would hit the STL repeater from the end lounge. You can see Jim’s email on his QRZ site under W9BM.

We did run WA9FGX in Tech D building. The station back then was the Drake C line. T4X, R4C, etc. It was a nice station to be able to use when we had time between classes or just chasing DX etc. We also attended the local Club meetings while were students. I do recall we were located throughout Jackson County for a Telethon (Jerry Lewis MS?) and we called in the various area donations via 2m.

I believe the AA prefix was when it was the 200th anniversary of the USA! So that was in 1976. I had a QSL card for AA9YZN as my call was WA9YZN. In 1986 I upgraded to Extra and got the NY0V call I have now. It’s not a vanity call.

I would use WA9FGX to talk with a girl friend up in Champaign once in a while. A ham friend from C-U, Jeff, (now WA2D) would run his station there and we would talk. But, mainly I liked to chase DX and that yagi and station did better than our 40/15m dipole on top of Schneider.

While not specifically WA9FGX, we did use 2m simplex during the anti-Vietnam riots that were going on during that time. Jim would have the police scanners and 2m base up in Schneider. I would have a handheld down on the pedestrian bridge by the cafeteria. There were many students protesting. Most of us on the bridge were just watching as the protesters moved into Highway 51 where it turns by the stadium to go to the Union. There used to be a “free speech” area by the Union. When the protestors left the free speech area and blocked the streets, I was able to know what the police and National Guard were doing as Jim would relay me the info from what he heard on the scanners. 😎 What happened was that I began getting the info before the troopers had the info. When they told them to clear the intersection, I told the students around me that it would be best to get the hell off the overpass as they would tear gas the intersection to clear the students.

When we started to move I heard a voice from below…the SIU police station was right below us at that time. The police had clear-shield head gear, shields, and long batons. One guy asked me to come down there and asked me where I got that info. I said no *&^#*&# way was I going to come down there to him!

Another student ham from back then was Ron Kritzman. I am on facebook with both Ron and Jim…I will probably see him at the Dayton Hamvention as he has a business of doing those ham call hat’s, T’s etc with embroidery machines. I just looked it up his call…it is K9ID. He was there with us back then too.

That’s about it for now I think. We were just a group of nerdy engineering students that like to play radio!…and still do 40 or so years later. It’s a great hobby!

BTW: I graduated from SIU and went to work for what is now Rockwell Collins Inc…it was when Art Collins sold Collins Radio to Rockwell International. My first job was an engineer on the Collins S Line in Operations! I was in heaven. I later got my MBA and moved into Program Management on airborne HF, then Satcom, and later on Advanced Data Links. I retired in 2007 at age 55, went on contract for 2 more years, and then moved to MN. I still teach their PM course about 4 weeks a year to all of their facilities around the world….a good gig.

Give my regards to the WA9FGX/W9UIH gang!

73 Tom, NY0V”

Ron Kritzman, K9ID, wrote:

“The station was in on the ground floor the tech building. The exact room number escapes me this many years later. The door was kept locked and there was a room across the hall where members could sign out a key. The club call was WA9FGX. We were aware that there had been an earlier call but had no idea why the club didn’t still have it. The FCC didn’t have a mechanism to handle vanity calls or special requests until much later so there wasn’t a chance of getting it back. Ron, K9ID
The attached pic is me at the station in, I’m guessing fall ’70 or spring ’71. There is another person behind me (or else I had a 3rd arm and a 2nd wristwatch back then) but I can’t tell who it was nor do I remember who took the picture.
The HF station was a Drake 4B or C line, with a yagi and a vertical on the building roof. There was also a Hunter Bandit kilowatt amp that you can see on the left in the pic. As I remember, that amp disappeared some time over a school break. No computers in the station. There weren’t any. There were no club repeaters yet, as the 2 meter FM craze was just beginning. Sometimes a couple of the guys would take 2 meter gear and a yagi on a stick up to the sundeck on one of the towers buildings. I remember one band opening when we could hear the Chicago repeaters. I understand that some years later the sun decks were closed due to safety concerns. Too bad. It was a fun place to relax.

Regarding the AA9FGX QSL cards, that’s an easy one. It was a bicentennial call. In 1976 the 200th birthday of the USA was a really big deal. There was bicentennial everything. Books, movies, TV specials, coins, flags and even bicentennial callsigns that you could use at your discretion for the year. The 2nd pic is the cover of an old logbook where I had written down who’s who. There was no problem of overlapping existing A calls because there weren’t any A or N calls. That all came later. There were only W, K, WA, WB, WN (novice) and WR (repeater).

Well, I hope this helps you a little with what you’re looking for.

Ron, K9ID