Thanks to Dennis for re-kindling some very fond memories.
I had met Don Wallace in the mid-60's at the Visalia (then it was Fresno) DX
Convention , but since I lived in Northern California and he in Sourthern
California, our paths only crossed once per year. And then when I moved to
Ascension Island in 1968, our friendship really took off. I forget which of
the 18 rhombics (at the time) passed through ZD8, but his signal was simply
outstanding - and we QSOed often.
I moved to Los Angeles in early 1973, and Don invited me to operate his
station in a contest, certainly with some reluctance as only Don knew the
workings of his station. I soon was able to convince him that the Johnson
Viking 2000's (or whatever they were) had to go, and they were soon replaced
with a couple of Collins S-Lines. The amplifiers, of course, remained the
pairs of 833's and 450TL's, on each band. Later, Don got three Alpha 77's,
especially designed by ETO to handle sudden high VSWR's in case the rhombic
feedlines should short during high winds. And I believe it safe to say that
this custom micro-processor controlled Alpha 77 became the predecessor to
the fantastic Alpha 87 amplifiers.
So, pretty much from early 1973 to Don's passing in June 1985, I operated
many contests from W6AM, and spent literally 100's of hours there - working
on the station and listening to him and the history of ham radio. Don was
truly one of the pioneers (I think he got his first "license" in 1912).
During the last couple decades of the W6AM rhombic ranch, it was 'only' 9
rhombics and 18 directions on 24 acres, 1234 ft above the Los Angeles Basin,
right on the edge of the Pacific. During its heyday, Don's property was 120
acres with 13 rhombics and 26 directions. The site was originally a
trans-Pacific radio site (Press Wireless, I think) and Don somehow
"acquired" the property from the billionaire Howard Hughes. Height of the
rhombics varied from 100 to 140 ft. In the late 60's or so, Don had to sell
95 of the acres (to pay the property taxes) and he collected the grand sum
of $100K for the 95 acres. Today, the property is covered with hundreds of
million dollar (plus) homes. Go figure.....
Don Wallace, W6AM, an amazing builder, DXer, contestor, and ham radio
enthusiast right up to his passing 25 years ago.
Jim Neiger N6TJ
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dennis Younker NE6I" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, May 19, 2006 6:18 PM
Subject: [CQ-Contest] W6AM Pictures
> To all on the list,
> At the recent urging of a few SCCCers, I posted pictures on the web from a
> 1986 tour of the legendary Don Wallace, W6AM super station. There were 14
> rhombics on his antenna farm at the time. Can you imagine that? I was
> lucky enough to SEE it!
> I know that many of you remember Don and competed with him in the pileups.
> And I thought you might enjoy the pictures.
> To Mark, N5OT, please chip in with your memories of that day. Tree, I
> remember if you were there. And Dave, AA6RX, I don't remember if you made
> it either. But any and all that were there, please send me your memories
> that day. I want to include them on the web pages.
> Dennis, NE6I
> CQ-Contest mailing list
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