[CQ-Contest] I Caused the NYC Blackout 40 Years Ago Today

Ken Widelitz widelitz at gte.net
Wed Nov 9 18:42:14 EST 2005

November 9, 1965. I remember it well. It was my mother's birthday. I was 15
and a novice, WN2TFK. I couldn't wait to get home from school because I was
ready to put my coke bottle vertical on the air for the 1st time. It was
about 30' of aluminum pipe insulated with a big glass coke bottle at the
bottom, fed through an inductor wrapped around a cardboard popcorn
container. By the time everything was ready, it was starting to get dark. As
I touched the feedline to the back of my Eico 720, the lights in my bedroom
flickered and dimmed. I pulled the wire away and the lights brightened to
normal. That is really WEIRD, I thought. How can that happen. I touched the
feedline to the back of the radio again. This time, the lights flickered,
went off, and stayed off. Uh oh. I looked outside. No lights in the entire
neighborhood. "Mom, I don't know why that happened. All I did way touch the
new antenna to the back of my transmitter. I'm sorry." We got out the
transistor AM radio and found that all of NYC was blacked out. People were
stuck on subways, in elevators - all because of me and my antenna.

I didn't find out it wasn't my fault until the next day. Whew!!!

73, Ken, K6LA / VY2TT

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