Topband: 160m historical perspective herbs at
Wed Dec 28 14:19:07 EST 2005

Quoting Jim Kearman <jkearman at>:

> Remember, most of us started out as crystal-controlled Novices, 
> running QRP and low wire antennas.

Yes that is so true. And for the nostalgia buffs, I started in 1954 as WN0VXO
with a metal 6L6 on a baking pan and a S-38.  With my paper route money I was
able to move up to a Globe Scout and a HQ-129, both covered 160 meters.  In
1954 only one crystal was required to have fun.  I was just west of the
Mississippi in Iowa so my low power was considered QRO compared to some Loran
protected 25 watt areas. My first European contact was a decade away.

To move around a bit I soldered a nut to the frame and used a machine screw to
move the frequency slightly by "rubbering" the crystal. W0NWX (later W0DX and
VP2VI)was only 40 miles away.  He was king with 100 watts and long wires
across a golf course area. Bob was a big help in learning how to work top
band.  (Ironically Bob moved at about the same time I did to the BVI as VP2VI
and we were still 40 miles apart!)Later when Bob became ARRL president he
continued his lobbying for 160 inclusion against the naysayers at HQ and the

Another interesting point was the commitment some Midwest manufacturers back
then made to 160 meters.  (Art Collins in Cedar Rapids with the 75A series and
the 75A4, PB tuning, mechanical filter et all, still one of the best top band
receivers of the time even with its backward tuning;  Leo Meyerson at Council
Bluffs, Iowa with his Globe transmitter series, and the E.F. Johnson company
right on the Minnesota- Iowa border at Waseca, all dedicated to including 160
meter capability (all within a 200 mile radius) despite the lack of demand for
it.  Apart from National Radio Company most other amateur equipment
manufacturers on the East and West coasts simply left 160 meters of their new
equipment.  Their rules was market only 80-10 meter equipment, period. Even
R.L. Drake Company (apart from the TR-4)that followed with an innovative RX
design and a commitment to 160 was a mid-west manufacturer.  (Hallicrafters
in Chicago was sort of hot and cold on 160 by leaving out 160 on later
equipment models.)  The concept of a transceiver may have almost killed 160
except for the determination of people like Prose Walker, Bob Denniston, Stew
Perry, and the Midwest manufacturers of amateur equipment, who despite the
odds against them kept the issues of a surviving top band viable.

So when someone tells you a few people can't make a difference........let them
know they are wrong.


Herb Schoenbohm, KV4FZ

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