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WHY HAM RADIO - WHY NOT CB?

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GROUNDED GRID BASICS

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REFERENCE MATERIAL

Ham radio visited me for the first time in the form of a 1954 ARRL Radio Amateurs Handbook, I purchased at a yard sale for next to nothing. I had always been intrigued by radio, but never got wrapped into it, that is until the manual came into my hands, and an Elmer named Howard into my life.

As I continued to read, my interest grew. The problem was, I didn't know any hams and wasn't entirely sure how to find one. Eventually, I contacted the FCC Field Office, requesting information on the Novice exam. In the process, they referred me to one of the greatest hams I have ever known, Howard Eldridge, W0HE (then K0DCW).

Howard was an Elmer's Elmer. When I first stepped into his radio room, which took up the entire back section of his home, everything I had been reading, thinking and dreaming about was there, and more. From one end of his 20 or so foot bench to the other was radio test and measurement equipment, in addition to a variety of receivers and transmitters that literally boggled the mind. Adding to the glamour was the fact that much of it was surplus, or salvaged equipment that had been dutifully placed in either commercial or amateur service. All around the room was scattered a vast assortment of antenna parts, tubes, supplies and more radio equipment. The extent to which I was impressed with the radio room, was nothing compared to man behind it.

Howard was one of the most naturally friendly men I have ever met. His easygoing nature and easy laugh, mixed with a massive knowledge of radio, left me in utter awe. From the very beginning, he made me feel welcome, and moreover, honored to study under his tutelage.

As a taxi driver, in those days, money to meet everyday expenses, much less purchase radio equipment, was hard to come by. Nevertheless, Howard, at his own expense, saw that I had what I needed to get on the air.

When I got my Advanced ticket, he presented me with an old crusty looking power tetrode, a plate transformer and choke, and told me to apply what he had taught me. That was the first of many amplifiers I built - each time remembering Howard, in his wheel chair, with limited use of his hands and arms, showing me how to calculate the value of various components that the amplifier would require.

As time passed, with Howard's encouragement, I obtained a RadioTelephone Second Class license. It permitted me to give up the taxi and go to work as a service technician. In a relatively short period my family and I left the area to pursue a career in commercial radio. I lost touch with Howard, but have never forgotten him and his gracious wife Val, nor the tremendous personal sacrifices they made to help fellows just like me get started in one of the greatest hobbies in the world, ham radio, which he so honorably represented!

Bob - WB0NNI



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