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© DELARA News, the official monthly newsletter of the Delaware Amateur Radio Aassociation, Delaware, OH
delara news Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH   VOL 33  NUMBER 2 


Craig MIller  W8CR

Hurry up and wait

Instant gratification.  No patience at all.  I get a bit jerky if my Amazon order isn’t handed to me by that guy in the brown truck within 24 hours of clicking on the “Complete Transaction” button. I guess that’s the nature of today’s world, everything has been accelerated around us.  “Place this side up, press 3 minutes, beware of steam when opening bag, enjoy your Clog-Ur-Hart brand buttered popcorn!”, “Dentures made while u wait!”, “No money down, drive it home - only 427 low monthly payments!” Take your first Amateur Radio license exam and pass?  We now are to the point of expecting our new call sign posted by the FCC on our iPhone while in the car driving home.  I may be exaggerating a bit (who, me?).   You are allowed on the air as soon as you know your call – no waiting on the paperwork via snail-mail. Recently I had a very enjoyable QSO with my new friend, Ray, NN8R, up in Fremont.  He mentioned that he passed his “Class B” Amateur Radio test and 13 wpm code back in 1944 when he had just turned 14 years old.  I, always a bit fuzzy on the facts, asked “Wasn’t ham radio banned during WWII?” Yes it was. Ray was one of probably a handful of hams who took and passed their test at the nearest FCC office during a period when ham radio operation was strictly forbidden.  All antennas must be pulled down and all transmitters were to be disabled by order of the FCC.  Ray and others during that period were known by the ARRL as “LSPH” hams: Licensed Since Pearl Harbor. From December 7th, 1941 to VJ Day, in August of ’45, not a peep of ham activity was to be heard, but the FCC continued with certification.  Ray was bitten by the bug back when he was 12 in Boy Scouts which soon turned into a passion.  Scraping up $5, he ordered a set of Morse code training 78 rpm records, playing them over and over to the point he had all 10 sides memorized.  He was able to rent an Instructograph hand cranked paper tape Morse code training machine.  That got him over the 13 wpm hurdle - the slowest code speed acceptable (5 words per minute requirement didn’t come until years later). He demonstrated perfect 20 wpm sending skills to the examiner, using a straight key! A few months later, the FCC mailed Ray his new license.  Back then we were issued ”operator” and “station” licenses.  His name and address clearly displayed – but no call sign!  After the war, he had to pester the FCC with multiple requests.  Finally, after months of (patiently?) waiting, he received his call: W8YFJ.  A little more than 2 years since he passed his test, he was finally able to get on the air.  What a commitment.  There was no incentive during the war to pursue a license.  In fact, many licensed operators drifted away from the hobby never to return, they were so disgusted with the way they and amateur radio was treated.  One old timer, W8DDD (one of Ray’s two Elmers), never sent a “CQ” again, since the ban was administered – what a tragedy.  That didn’t dissuade Ray. It took almost another full year, after the war, for all of the bands to be opened back up to hams. On a side note, Ray’s other Elmer, Paul W8VVS, was serving in the South Pacific.  They would exchange “V-Mail”, Victory Mail, written on very thin, tissue-like paper, folded with no envelope.  The mail was transferred to 16mm movie film to eliminate shipping bags of letters overseas.   Paul would pass Ray words of encouragement and where to find baskets of tubes and parts in the back yard shed.  From those parts, Ray built his first transmitter using a common 6L6 tube, pumping out a huge 7 watts! A few years later, Ray saw a notice in QST looking for active hams ages 18 to 25 to join the Naval Reserve and immediately become a Radioman 3rd class.  He bit.    When on active Navy duty, shifts were 4 hours on, 8 hours off, copying 5 letter code groups on his “mill” typewriter.  Good times!  He was honorably discharged as a Radioman, 2nd class.  Thank you for your service. Ray moved on to photography.  With his wife, Jane, KC8AYJ, traveled the world, producing nature programs for broadcast and schools.  He is easy to find on the 40 meter CW portion of the band:  Ray has the BEST sounding fist (manually formed Morse code characters), using a 1949 Vibroplex bug, I have ever heard. For being only 14 years old, Ray sure had the patience of Job.  I have a 15 year old that gets miffed because the download of an update to his videogame is taking minutes too long.  We were never like that, right?  Patience of Job, I tell ya…