New Look at W1AW
January 1967 QST
American Radio Relay League (ARRL) has been on the cutting edge of communications
technology since its founding in 1914 by
Hiram Percy Maxim. Then, as now, many of the nation's top electronics
and antennas experts have been intimately involved in the design, testing,
operating, and regulating aspects of radio systems. Over time radar,
software, and computer technologies have been added to the mix of specialties
as have program management, field deployment and fixed station logistics,
facilities management, and many other talents. A natural result of all
the human capability affiliated with the ARRL is the collective personal
investment in keeping flagship station W1AW as a shining example of
what amateurs (hobbyists) can achieve. This article from 1967 reports
on how W1AW was outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment and support
equipment. At the end, I posted a couple photos of W1AW in 2013, with
hyperlinks to the ARRL website sources.
January 1967 QST
of Contents]These articles are scanned and OCRed from old editions of the
ARRL's QST magazine. Here is a list of the
QST articles I have already posted. All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged.
See all available
New Look at W1AW
W1AW and the Hq. building are situated on a 7-acre site with plenty
of room for antennas. Three self-standing 60-foot steel towers (two
are visible on the front cover) support 3-element Yagi beams for 20,
15, and 10 meters. A 6-meter omnidirectional antenna shares one tower
with the 15-meter beam and a 2-meter omnidirectional antenna is on another
tower with the 10-meter beam. For 40, 80, and 160 meters, half-wave
horizontal wires are used. The 80 and 40 meter doublets are center fed:
the 160-meter doublet is end fed. Feed lines for all the antennas are
situated underground and, on 40, and 160 meters, the underground coax
terminate at remotely controlled antenna couplers located on the ground
directly below the antenna feed points. Open-wire feeders connect the
antennas to the tuners.
The Maxim Memorial Station, W1AW, faces
the new Headquarters Building at 225 Main St. in Newington, Conn. Recently,
the station was given an overhaul with new equipment, furnishings, and
antennas. You've seen a picture of the exterior on this month's cover.
Here are a few shots taken inside the building, to show you some of
the "new look."
"Old Betsy," W1AW's 1920 spark transmitter, is on display
in the foyer.
The master control console contains several receivers, signal
monitors, transmitter exciters, punched-tape keyer (for code
practice and bulletins) and operating accessories. Against the
wall at the left is the RTTY position. The rack at the right
is a back-up transmitter and RTTY transmitter.
Another view of the transmitter racks taken from behind the
visitor's operating position.
In case of a power failure, this 20-kw. 220-volt emergency
generator located in W1AW's basement can handle the entire load
at W1AW including light, heat and communications. The unit is
electrically started and the engine is fueled by propane gas.
Notice the emergency lighting on the wall at the upper left.
This light (and others located throughout the building) come
on automatically with loss of power.
Visitors are always welcome at the station and upon entering
are requested to sign the guest log.
Another view of the console which faces the transmitter racks
(right) and the visitor's operating position.
Close-up view of the transmitter racks. In the top two rows
are some of the 1-kw. finals for 80 through 10 meters (two more
to be added.) Other equipment includes a 50-watt 160-meter transmitter,
200-watt 2-meter transmitter, 200-watt 6-meter transmitter,
antenna patch panel, and converter to change the 3 Mc. signal
from the console exciter to the various amateur bands, 80 through
The W1AW workshop is well equipped for emergency repairs
or general maintenance.
Now that you have had a chance to browse around the interior
of W1AW, here are a few additional details about the station. The operating
center of the station is the master console. Located here, along with
the usual operating position accessories, are auxiliary receivers and
signal monitors. The station v.f.o./exciter is positioned here and generates
a basic 3-Mc. s.s.b., c.w., a.m., or RTTY signal, which is then fed
to the transmitter racks. A series of converters heterodynes the 3-Mc.
signal to the desired amateur band (80 through 10 meters) where it is
amplified in the appropriate 1-kw. linear amplifier. The racks also
contain s.w.r. bridges and indicators for each antenna system, along
with controls for remotely tuning antenna couplers where applicable.
There is an antenna patch panel for switching the various transmitters
and receivers in the station to the desired antenna.
practice or bulletins, an RTTY tape, which has been previously cut at
the station, is fed into an RTTY-to-Morse converter, which transforms
the RTTY characters on the tape to dots and dashes and then keys the
transmitters. Of course, this same tape is used to key the RTTY equipment,
Page 92 shows the station schedule, and visitors are always
welcome. Meanwhile, make use of the varied services provided by the
Maxim Memorial Station - daily sessions of code practice, news bulletins,
frequency-measuring tests, and general operation.
lot more to see here at W1AW. Why don't you drop in and see it for yourself?
Now, here are a few photos of today's W1AW:
December 12, 2013