New Look at W1AW
January 1967 QST Article
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.
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. As time permits, I will
be glad to scan articles for you. All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged.
See all available
vintage QST articles.
New Look at W1AW
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 10 meters.
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.
For code 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, too.
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.
There's a 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:
Posted December 12, 2013