Amateur Radio Trivia in Americus
Over the Past 45 years


by: K4VBH-jim poole

Americus Amateur Radio Association

2 meter @ 147.27 t(131.8)

In 1958 as a teenage freshman at GSW, I happened to walk by a lower-floor door of Jackson Hall that had K4PDM on it. The door was open. Inside was a fellow sitting at a mike with all kinds of radio equipment and talking to another fellow in Mexico. Amazing I thought! I had always read about Ham Radio Operators, but never any exposure to one until then. This guy was Bill Tyson K4KBL, a student on the GI bill having been in the Navy. Bill answered my questions, showed me a contact on CW as well as AM. (no SSB back then) Having been a Navy CW operator, he was a fantastic guyon the code. He could copy it in his head and then write it down and it was hi-speed at that! So I got the ARRL book on how to become a Ham, got me a code oscillator and a key and started studying. Both Bill and Prof helped me get started. Your first license class was called Novice with 5WPM code and it took about 7 or 8 weeks to get your call after you took the test. All novices had an "N" issued with their call, so I was issued KN4VBH. Then when you upgraded to General with the test and 13WPM you got to drop the "N". To upgrade your code speed there was no such thing as code tapes or computer programs, so it was find another person to send to and receive or rent a machine called an Instructorgraph. It had different reels of punched paper tape that looked similar to a reel to reel tape deck and played the code for you to practice your copying. There was also no such thing as VE's....you went to the FCC office in ATL to take your test.

Prof Ewing W4UFD was the trustee of the club station and if you look close in the above picture you can see next to the "dial" phone a Hammuland HQ150 receiver, a Heathkit DX-40 transmitter, and under the K4PDM sign is the Johnson Viking 500 transmitter. It ran 250 watts AM and 500 watts on CW. The huge power supply is on the table behind me as well as some Heathkit gear under construction . Our antennas were a trap dipole out onto the parking lot south, connected to a phonepole, and an all band vertical on top of Jackson Hall.

Terrell Willis K4SYR was a student from Blakley, GA and his Dad was W4CLA which made it handy to keep in touch with home. They also had a TV repair shop and sold me my second receiver which was a brand new Hallicrafters SX-99. About the same time, Coach Knight and his wife Jane got licensed as K4ZHT and K4ZIZ. They lived in Wheatley as dorm parents. Sadly ..they are both Silent Keys. So that was pretty much the ham population here. There was 1 ham tho in nearby Ellaville, FN Pilcher K4JCI now better known as Frank N4BMQ. He ran a Globe Scout with a 5-9++ signal. Coach and Prof both had large stationwagons with the front seats full of HF gear and 3.995 was the popular mobile freq. No two meter repeaters ! Prof moved several years ago but is still active on the bands. I've tried to locate some info on Bill or Terrell, but haven't had any luck....evidently they are not around anymore, and/or let their calls expire.

I will always remember how I got started in this great hobby and I'm sure you can relate as to how you got started too. Help out when someone needs a helping hand.....73.