April 1967 Popular Electronics
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hasn't been just Miss America contestants that have wished for world
peace over the years. In April 1967, this article titled "World
Peace and Amateur Radio" was published extolling the efforts of
Ham radio operators in attempting to break through communications
barriers erected by governments. Amateur signals could reach into
the USSR, Cuba, China, North Korea, and all the other hopelessly
oppressed regions of the world to let people know that there is
hope beyond the Iron Curtain of Communism. This particular story
reports on one Ham's outreach to the people of Japan which, fortunately
for them, was not a member of the Red club. Believe it or not, there
are still two countries - Yemen and North Korea - that prohibit
amateur radio communications.
By Herb S. Brier, W9EGQ
Amateur Radio Editor
World Peace and Amateur Radio
you believe that the most famous radio amateur in Japan lives in
San Francisco, California? It's true; he is Ray Eichman, WA6IVM,
who has QSO'd over 3500 different Japanese radio amateurs, many
of them 50 or more times. What does this have to do with world peace?
Well, when General Dwight D. Eisenhower was President, he sponsored
the "People to People Program" to promote world peace through understanding.
Radio amateurs have been - and still are - in a unique position
to pursue this program, and WA6IVM's contribution is an outstanding
Ray's story begins in early 1959. Then a new Novice,
he worked his first, honest-to-goodness DX - a Japanese station
- on 15 meters. From that time on, JA call letters began appearing
regularly in Ray's logbook; and the more JA's he worked, the more
impressed he became with their courtesy, friendliness, and good
operating habits. Learning that many Japanese amateurs knew only
enough of the English language to exchange signal reports, names,
and weather reports, Ray started studying Japanese in night school.
Two years later, he was able to "rag-chew" on phone or CW with the
JA's using either Romaji (conversational) or Hitigeni (syllabic)
By 1964, Ray had worked over 2000 different JA's,
and the urge to visit them in their own land became overpowering.
So he and his wife mortgaged the family cars, drained their bank
account, and took off for Japan armed with the names and addresses
of hundreds of Japanese amateurs and 1000 blank QSL cards. All of
the latter were passed out before they were home again.
The Eichmans traveled over 2000 miles in Japan - but not a mile
over the regular tourist routes. Instead, wherever they went, they
were the guests of Japanese amateurs and their families. Ray knew
them all, their joys, their problems, their plans. Every meeting
was like a family reunion.
After the Eichmans' return from
what Ray calls "the land of the friendliest hams," he resolved to
try to work all of the active JA's. At the last count, he had worked
some 3538, most of them many times, and over 2000 of them on 40
meters. Practically every contact is a friendly conversation, and
not just a "hello-goodby-please-QSL" formality.
now uses high power and beam antennas, he has worked many JA's and
other DX stations with less than 75 watts and a simple antenna.
And the average JA he works uses a 15- to 25-watt transmitter and
a simple dipole or vertical antenna; only a few of the Japanese
hams run high power and sport high-gain beams.
not spend all his on-the-air time working Japan, however. He is
also an avid, all-around DX chaser, contest operator and certificate
collector. One certificate that he is especially proud of shows
his honorary membership in the Japanese Blind Ham's Club; he sells
seals similar to Christmas and Easter seals for the club.
Some months ago, Ray was asked if he would teach amateur radio
to a group of handicapped young men and women at the Recreation
Center for the Handicapped, Inc., in San Francisco, because of the
tremendous therapeutic value it would have for them. Ray accepted
the challenge and recruited Art Messineo, W6UDL, to help him. Each
Thursday, for several hours starting at 7 p.m., Ray and Art teach
their 14 "kids" code, theory, and math, and advise them on family
matters and what have you. (Two members of the class have married
each other since it began.)
One week Art teaches code and
Ray teaches theory; the next week, the tasks are reversed. Most
of the teaching is "by ear," depending upon the special needs of
the individual student and the ingenuity of Ray and Art to devise
methods - such as special keys for sending the code - to meet them.
The Recreation Center's amateur station and antennas have
been installed, the latter by members of the San Francisco Radio
Club. As soon as one of the students earns a General Class license,
he or she will become trustee for the station license, and the Center
will be on the air - probably before you read these lines.
Italian Government Honors W6MLZ.
who also hails from California has been honored for his efforts
in connection with handicapped people. In Genoa, Italy, last Columbus
Day, Sentor. Guido Carbellini, Italian Minister of Scientific Research,
presented to Ray Meyers, W6MLZ, Santa Gabriel, Calif., the 1966
Columbus Gold Medal Award for Humanitarian Service. The award was
in recognition of Ray's work in teaching radio communication techniques
to the physically disabled.
W6MLZ founded the "International
Handicappers' Net" on 14 MHz phone, and invented special radio equipment
for blind operators and those confined to iron lungs. He and his
wife attended the presentation ceremony as guests of the Italian
government and received "red carpet treatment" during their entire
stay in Italy.
To participate in this QSO contest, you operate
any 24 hours between 0000 GMT, April 29, and 2400 GMT, April 30,
near 3520, 7060, 14,080, 21,050, 28,020 kHz (CW), and/or 3820, 7220,
14,260, 21,380, 28,560 kHz (phone), and on all Novice frequencies.
Amateur operators outside of New England work New England stations;
New England operators work the world.
Each station may be
worked once per band and mode, and a complete contact consists of
sending and receiving serial number, signal report, state, county,
and the operator's name. Count one point for each complete exchange
(five points for Novice contacts); and multiply the contact points
by the sum of the states and counties worked.
legible logs to Carl Porter, 19 Penniman Terrace, Braintree, Mass.
02184 not later than June 15. Include a stamped return envelope
if you want a list of the winners.
are proud to select the station of Ray Eichman, WA6IVM, as Amateur
Station of the Month for April, and are sending him a one-year subscription
to POPULAR ELECTRONICS. For the story of Ray's adventures in amateur
radio and his public service activities, see text above. If you
would like to enter our monthly photo contest, submit a clear picture
of your station - with you at the controls - and some information
about your amateur career and the equipment you use. Even if you
do not win, your photo may be used if space permits. All entries
should be mailed to: Amateur Radio Photo Contest, c/o Herb S. Brier,
W9EGQ, Amateur Radio Editor, Box 678, Gary, Indiana 46401.
simplicity seems to be the motif at the amateur station of Charles
Barenfanger. WA9OPW, Vandalia, Ill. Chuck keeps his Johnson "Invader"
transmitter and Hallicrafters SX-111 receiver tuned up on 80- and
40-meter CW, and is just a few cards away from his Worked All States
all the equipment in the shack of John Meyer, WA3EGY, Cheverly,
Md., the big worker is the Heath-kit "Twoer" - it has made 70 contacts
so far with the aid of an 11-element beam. Currently under construction
is a 2-meter kilowatt transmitter.