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Ham Dad: 1960

Ham Dad: 1960

From Columbus, Georgia, around 1960 comes this News Archive photo of an amateur radio operator and his assistant, "Shortwave" Sally. 4x5 inch acetate negative. View full size.


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A shoo-in

All four of our children learned to walk in shoes identical to those that Shortwave is wearing: genuine leather hard-sole high-top oxfords in white. My children's were scuffed and polished countless times. All four pairs of said footwear were purchased at the Hub Bootery in Crown Point, Indiana, during the '90s. We'd sit the kids up in a chair for their feet to be measured by the salesman, pay what seemed then to be an exorbitant amount of money, and walk out with a little leather-smelling shoebox, so proud. Good times.

Kids and their dad's radio

My mother and her sister on the left, pose for a photo with my grandfather's radio circa 1922. About the only thing Mom remembered about it was her sister complained she was making the radio squeal.

Amateur Father

My alternate title. My dad was a bit of a ham but did not operate radios. Come to think of it, he was pretty amateur at fathering too.

Now we're talking!

See, having a ham radio license attracts the chicks, even if it's your own daughter! Surplus gear was cheap back then and a lot of guys bought it. Hams were doing a lot of homebrewing too as seen by the rig on the floor to the left of the chief OP ... maybe a linear? Is the Hallicrafters receiver a S-77? I'm not sure with the speaker grille that color if it is. In good shape they are worth some bucks. My dad was an active ham back in the early '60s. The neighbors knew when he was home and on the air -- TV interference was a bit of a problem. I followed in his footsteps and got licensed in 1972 and am still pounding brass -- WA4CHQ

Still a hobby

... with 750,000 US operators and 1 percent growth annually. This photo could have been my Dad and me in 1960. "Home Brew" rig on the floor with a National Vernier Dial, the Hallicrafters receiver (top right) that I still have and use in my office at work.

With all of the "WN" QSL cards this man was certainly using Morse Code along with AM phone. In those days you started with a Novice license (code only) and had to upgrade within a year to General Class (it may still have been called Class B).

Dad was W1TAV, in 1975 I became WA1ZUF and today I hold my dad's call W1TAV, still operating some of his equipment.


It looks like he works only the 80-meter band, both from the band setting on the (Hallicrafters S-40) receiver and the almost exclusively local area cards he's posted, the farthest being Pennsylvania.

The cards include ones that were all over -- every new ham got offers from some company to print them, so much that they became tedious to receive. WN4YES is an example of the genre. Red letters, blue lines, as I recall.

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