This is a QSL card that was sent to confirm a QSO made by Mark MacAdam, the original holder of the W1ZK call. Mark was a radio technician for the Massachusetts State Police in the 1930s. He lived in Wollaston Beach a section of Quincy, Mass. Wollaston is about 5 miles from my family home in Milton. I spent many a day, and night, running a DUKW up onto Wollaston Beach as part of the Civil Defense drills in the early 60s. In 1977 I requested the W1ZK callsign from the FCC. I am especially proud to represent Mark MacAdam (SK) with his callsign. Thanks to Tom K1TIM and Ken K1JKR for finding and forwarding the QSL card to me. Tom, who is a lieutenant in the Massachusetts State Police, found the card and asked Ken, K1JKR, who works in radio communications for the State Police, to see if he could find today's W1ZK. Thanks guys..
I was licensed as KN1SCQ at Milton, Massachusetts in February 1961. A special thanks goes to Herb Kline, K1IMP and Al Burnett, W1JNV (sk) who were my elmers. In early January 1961 I trekked through near waist deep snow to Herb's QTH where he gave me a "practice" Novice code test. To my surprise he told me "Congratulations - you just passed the code test!" Herb then gave me the Novice question test which, I was prepared for. I made it, I passed! My first contact was made, using Herb's Collins 32V-2 and NC-183D, to an ON in Belgium. DX, I was hooked! When my license finally arrived I got on the air on my own with a Heathkit DX-60 transmitter I had assemble from a kit and a National NC-60 receiver I bought from the original Radio Shack store on Washington Street in Boston. The salesman was Steve Rudin W1WSN, a Milton ham! My antenna was a homebrew "armstrong" rotary dipole I had built for 15 meters and erected on the porch roof just outside my 2nd floor shack/bedroom. Rain or snow, I would reach out and turn the antenna by hand!
In June 1963 I joined the US Navy Reserve becoming a Communications Technician - R brancher. The CT rating has since been re-branded Cryptologic Technician which is a heck of a lot more descriptive of the job function. In October 1966 I was transferred to the US Naval Security Group Activity Kamiseya, Japan where I joined the gang at KA2KS. Our primary station at that time was a Collins S-3 Line along with a 30L-1 amplifier and Johnson KW matchbox. The main KA2KS antenna was a Vee beam 400' on a leg that was up 60' high over a farmer's cabbage fields. The Vee, centered on the Midwest US, worked very well into Europe and Australia. We handled a lot of RTTY health/welfare traffic for the US Marines in Vietnam. We would record the RTTY messages from USMC base at Phu Bai, Vietnam on paper tape then an hour or two later re-transmit the tape to a Marine Corps station in California. All of this was done with the S-line/30L-1 and a Teletype Corporation Model 19 machine. A lot of 811As were melted doing that work. During my off duty time in Japan I enjoyed working great DX. At that time the JA ops could not work our KA stations. JA authorities considered us to be military stations. We could work them if they called us and they sure did call us...!
Just before Christmas 1967 I volunteered for a TAD (Temporary Additional Duty) assignment on the USS Pueblo AGER-2. Aboard Pueblo I replaced CT-R brancher, Joe Fejfar who had been stricken with appendicitis. They say, in the military, never volunteer! This was not my first time volunteering for TAD "trips." It did become my last one! Being a CT meant mostly shore duty with limited chances for sea duty. I had joined the Navy "To See the World". To me that meant sea duty. USS Pueblo was a new communication & electronic intelligence collection ship. Pueblo joined USS Banner AGER-1 based at Yokosuka, Japan. This time my luck ran out. Pueblo's first mission was called by the Navy: "A piece of cake, a milk run. It will be training for the crew." The mission was to the Sea of Japan close off the east coast of North Korea. The mission was tasked by the Navy as "minimal risk." Two weeks floating down the North Korean coast at 13-15 miles out from nearest land. No Navy or Air Force protection needed, nor requested by US Navy Japan. On January 23, 1968, at the very end of PUEBLO's first mission, our ship was attacked, in international waters, by North Korean SO-1 sub chasers, P-4 motor torpedeo boats and MIG-21 jet fighters. Crewmember Duane Hodges from Creswell, Oregon was killed while 20 more of the crew were wounded. After a two hour, one sided, battle where PUEBLO was target, we were boarded by North Koreans and taken prisoner. K1SCQ/P5 ---! Yikes, I was now the ultimate DX! (*see Note 2 below) Forget any thoughts of being DX, survival was my mission. See the February 1971 issue of QST magazine for my story of the Barabas Cross Antenna Array and --- "Doctor Pabst & Doctor Coax."
In October 1968 the NKs let us have a few letters via the Red Cross. AL Burnett, W1JNV, my DX guru, mailed me a letter with a picture! It very nearly got me another bloody beating. The photo showed Al standing next to the base of his Rohn tower back in Milton. In the background was the swampy thick green trees and brush behind his home. Al was a high crane operator at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy, Mass. His working clothes were - green coveralls! The Koreans wanted to know "why you Imperialist warmonger get photo from Vietnam!" In early November 1968 the Koreans gave me a piece of mail. It was an absentee ballot for the 1968 Presidential election!!!! The Koreans demanded to know "who you vote?" "Nixon of course; he is the peace candidate!" I still dreamed of retaliation. The North Koreans are completely paranoid on two things, the United States Marine Corp and the Central Intelligence Agency. A very big thanks to members from both organizations for saving my life! On December 23, 1968, along with the body of US Navy Fireman Duane Hodges and 81 fellow PUEBLO crewmembers I crossed the Bridge of No Return, DMZ, Panmunjom, Korea to freedom.
Freedom, to quote the great Jackie Gleason, - How sweet it is!
Now, 54 years after becoming a ham I am still DXing. DX- IS, as Hugh Cassidy WA6AUD so aptly put it! In 2002 I was lucky enough to work Ed P5/4L4FN for my next to last DXCC country. The DPRK, North Korea, Kim Il Sung's "People's Paradise" of all places! In April 2004 I got my final country, VU4RBI Andaman Island.
Since 1983 I have been QRV in beautiful Vermont enjoying life and DX of course!
Note 1: Just before our wedding in 1971, my mom took my soon to be bride aside and told her "watch out for him, he is going to try and sneak those ham radios into the house behind your back. Thank's mom!
Note 2: Actually, there was no separate DXCC country of North Korea in 1968. The entire Korean peninsula was considered under the HL/HM callsign group. Martti Laine OH2BH was the first to officially put P5 on the air.
K1SCQ crossing the DMZ from North Korea
USS PUEBLO (AGER-2)
copyright TAM 2013
Jericho Center, Vermont USA
Ham Radio History
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KA2KS Kamiseya Japan 1967
(I had worked Whit Cotton W4... at KA2KS
3 years before I became a Kamiseya crewmember)
While in college at Wentworth Institute in Boston I worked at DeMambro Radio along with Herb and Ed Grogan, K1ZSI (WW1N - SK.) DeMambro had 5 stores throughout New England and along with all the standard industrial components we carried the Collins, Drake, National and Swan ham radio lines. Saving my money, and thanks to the company's generous employee discount, I was able to purchase one of the very first Drake 4 lines in New England. I also got a great deal on 60' of KTV tower. (That was before Rohn Corporation bought the KTV company with the intention to shut it down.) In 1964 we took on trade towards a new National NCX-5 - NCL-2000 setup, a gorgeous, factory built, Heathkit KL-1 Chippewa amplifier and power supply. The salesman who made the deal did not know what a KL-1 was worth, so I made him an offer - $100. I got it! (Two and a half weeks pay). The Chippewa used a pair of grid driven Eimac 4-400A tubes in Class AB1. Just 10 watts of drive power made a KW output, plus a lot more. I was able to get the amp to my second floor bedroom & shack without my mom see it! (*See Note 1 below)