KH6/K6MIO (Ham Radio) Six Meter CSVHFS Papers
AND some historical 'Coop-Comments' on the
early 5-6 Meter Band WAS Folks
(This page updated September, 2011)
OK - so you don't give a 'diddly squat' about C-Band and TVRO but the ham six meter band (50-54 MHz or more appropriately 50.000 to perhaps 50.300!) has your attention. You are in the right place. Coop as K6EDX was awarded 6 meter WAS # 21 on March 14, 1957 (there were only 48 states then!); and, #278 on December 11, 1979 as W5KHT (there were 50 states at that time). Missing KL7 'by minutes' he ended his decade as VP5D at 49 and nobody prays harder for Cycle 24 to find legs than he; stuck at 42 from ZL4AAA.
All of this pales when compared to the extraordinary pioneering work done by Coop's "home town pal" Jim Kennedy, K6MIO (you see - we both lived in Fresno, California and - well, you get the idea).
Jim's credentials are (and always have been) impressive. In highlight-form, a PhD in Physics ("Go Gators!") Jim spent a major chunk of his professional career as Project Manager for something you possibly never heard about - but should have; 'Project GONG' (Global Oscillation Network Group) where he helped create and oversaw the operation of the world's most skilled 'solar interior observational data' system (mountain top observatories in Chile, Hawaii, India for a start). Why should that interest you? Because GONG pioneered the first-time-ever raw data that came from 'below' the visible surface of the sun and guess what! Out of that data comes the advanced understanding of how sunspots and the solar cycle works (or does not as is the case in late 2010!).
Enough of the 'fluff'. There have been (late 2011) nine 'Kennedy Papers' presented at the annual Central States VHF Society gatherings and all are here for your review, down-loading, printing and study. When there is # ten, it is likely to appear here as well; think 'All-Kennedy / All the time'. There is more. Check out the Gene Zimmerman (W3ZZ) 'World Above 50 MHz' column from QST April 2011(also here); a review of the extra-ordinary (2010) summer long haul (13,000km) Es season by Jim Kennedy (on six meters here folks), and, a two part series (January-February 2011) by Coop here (click on QST Coop TVRO) describing some quite fascinating 31,000km F-layer (or whatever!) six meter paths during high sunspot count years in previous cycles (you remember them? #18-23 when six meters went F2-ballistic?).
And all of this has WHAT to do with satellite television? Absolutely nothing but "Brother Kennedy's papers" deserve an easy-to-locate home on the web and this is the least we can do for "The Magic Band". These are in date-of-release sequence and by starting at the top ("click on" each to load) and working down you will have a 'travel in time' of the ever 'maturing' 50 MHz propagation data base.pdf/Cent-States-2001-Model-ToD-Es-Effects.pdf
Death of a Pioneer. Robert M. Richardson, known worldwide by his amateur radio callsign W4UCH, died at age 79 in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. Richardson was instrumental in pioneering 10 GHz microwave technology, authoring "The GunnPlexer Cookbook" (1981) and participating in several Coop arranged seminars dealing with this topic in the 70s. Richardson was also the motivating force behind 'DeSug', the private co-operative effort to demystify the Microwave Associates 'Videocipher' technology circa 1986-1987. He appeared on numerous Shaun Kenny 'Boresight' TV programs of that era as a spokesman for the DeSug effort. During Sunspot Cycle 19 (1957-1960) his 50 Mc W4UCH signal was 'HUGE' worldwide.
Yet another Pioneer death. David Barker, amateur K7OMA, the originator of the TVRO image cancel mixer receiver first introduced during the San Jose (California) July 1980 SPTS, has died of a heart attack at his home in Washington state. He was survived by a son, 17, Michael. David's creative design radically altered the complexity and cost of C-band receivers; manufacturer KLM turned the design into an early best-selling TVRO receiver propelling them to become one of the top selling hardware firms. David wrote technical articles for Coop's Satellite Digest from time to time and delivered lectures at numerous SPTS/SBOC gatherings.
And one more. Alan Margot, W6FZA, operating a two-radio RCC from Porterville, California until a mid-life change to professional tennis coach, died at 87 in July (2010). Alan held the original post-WW2 420 MHz distance record, was a familiar call on 6 meters during cycle 19 and earned 50 Mc WAC (Worked All Continents) award #4 from ARRL. Alan's XYL, Norma, K6ZEH earned WAJD (50 Mc) #1 in 1958; the couple had retired to Palm Desert (Ca) where he was active in his favorite mode (40-50 wpm CW) until just before death. Oh yes - Alan was licensed as W6FZA in 1932 at age 9 and QST of that era claimed he was the youngest "full privilege ham" in the USA; perhaps the world (78 years an active ham - there could be 'a record' here; not that we expect QST to research the question!).
Six Meter/Magic Band WAS (worked all states)
An email 'exchange' with friend Gene Zimmerman (W3ZZ; QST 'World Above...' editor) prompts the following. During the era when QST's 'World Above' was created by Ed Tilton (W1HDQ), '50 Mc WAS Standings' were frequently printed. So who (by call letters of course; hams don't have names!) did it first (as in #1) and so on down to say number 50 (not a totally random number as it mirrors 50 megacyles and eventually the number of states)? Time to head for Coop's QST Microfiche file!
Until the close of WW2, continental US had 9 (rather than 10) 'amateur radio call districts'. With the shut-down of ham radio (at government decree) following Pearl Harbor, the amateur assignment was 56-60 MHz; roughly the same as subsequent TV channel 2. W9ZJB (someplace in Missouri) was the first (1939) to confirm contacts with each of the nine districts and was pushing 30 states on "5 meters". When amateur radio restarted post WW2 (March 15, 1946), W9ZJB became W0ZJB although his residence had not changed; but 56-60 MHz was now 50-54 MHz and he like all others would have to retool for 6 meters. Vince would (1948) be the 'second' - that's the 'mystery' that follows - to work all (48 at the time) states on six meters. Although the 1945-1950 solar cycle (#18) had been (by current standards) "good" the newness of 50-54 MHz, crystal controlled rigs, and just "getting America restarted" took precedence for most hams. It would be March 1957 before the number of specially hand-created 50 Mc. WAS certificates passed 20. Ed Tilton, W1HDQ, had begun a QST column ("On the Ultra Highs") in December 1939 after the competitor ham radio publication (appropriately called 'RADIO' and published from Santa Barbara, Ca) had launched their own "U.H.F. ..." column years prior and ARRL was caught 'napping' on this one. RADIO was, a personal opinion, frequently a better publication than QST although their sniping at "the League" was a constant negative. RADIO launched in 1917 with ten issues each year; usually 50-100% 'bigger/thicker' than QST. If you are trying to work out what happened to RADIO, think CQ.
So six meters? Of the first 30 WAS folks, 26 are either SK, or their amateur license has lapsed. The known exceptions are (1) this writer/K6EDX (#21), (2) two possibles in W0ORE (#23), W0CNM (#27). W1LLL (#12) is a another 'possible' if he is now N3WD. And the first 50 (QST ceased listing 50 Mc. WAS tables in August 1960 as Sam Harris - W1FZJ - took over 'The World Above...' from Ed Tilton; October 1960); the following comes from that (final) listing:
(1) W0ZJB, (2) W0BJV, (3) W0CJS, (4) W5AJG, (5) W9ZHL, (6) W9OCA, (7) W6OB, (8) W0JNI, (9) W1HDQ, (10) W5MJD, (11) W2IDZ, (12) W1LLL - now N3WD?, (13) W0DZM, (14) W0HVW, (15) W0WKB, (16) W0SMJ, (17) W0OGW, (18) W7ERA, (19) W3OJU, (20) W6TMI, (21) K6EDX, (22) W5SFW, (23) W0ORE - now in Michigan?, (24) W0ALU, (25) W8CMS, (26) W0MVG, (27) W0CNM - now in Colorado?, (28) W1VNH, (29) W0OLY, (30) W7HEA, (31) K0GQG - appears to be 'the original', (32) W7FFE, (33) W0PFP, (34) W6BJI, (35) W2MEU, (36) W1CLS, (37) W6PUZ, (38) W7ILL, (39) W0DDX, (40) W0DO, (41) K0DXT, (42) W6ABN, (43) W6BAZ, (44) VE3AET, (45) W9JFP, (46) W0QIN, (47) W0WWN, (48) K9EID - see 'C-Band Remembered' here, (49) W0FKY and (#50) W8LPD.
When QST dropped the '50 Mc/MHz WAS' listing the 75th (and last listed) was W0LLU; of the first 50-on-50, 22 were in the W0 district, 4 more in W/K9; more than half the total, therefore, were in or almost within 'single hop Sporadic E range' of all continental states. 1960 was on the waning side of Solar Cycle 19, and a few (of the very limited available to work) DX stations were doing quite well by then in their own WAS quest: KL7AUV was at 44, EI2W at 37, ZE2JV 26 and my personal favorite JA1AUH at 16 (he - you see - was the first JA to work NA on six meters and the guy at the other end was - well, check WAS # 21 here).
I have threatened to research the full history from 1933-34 onward of "The Magic Band" and write a book; maybe, maybe not!
PS - There is a post script to all of this (diatribe). According to QST, on June 13, 1948 "Ed"/W9ZHL in Zearing, Illlinois worked W4AVT/4 (South Carolina) for state # 48. BUT - but Tilton wrote; ' Ed refuses to accept the first WAS 50-Mc. award because W4AVT was not a fulltime resident of South Carolina'. Obviously in 1948 when a six meter rig could be 6 feet high in a 500 pound rack, and the receiver was the size of a small refrigerator and weighed 70 pounds, the concept of "roving" had not (yet) occurred to anyone. Problem one: in my 'Rand McNally' and my (London) 'Times Atlas of the World', Zearing, Illinois does not exist. Maybe it did - or maybe - maybe W9ZHL was in 'Zearing, Iowa' (42.08N, 93.13W) - save he would have been W0 not W9. OKay - so in 1948 a place called Zearing existed in Illinois and by 2000 it was gone; puff. Lots of small towns lost their post offices in the 50s and 60s. Problem two: 'Ed' (his last name has not been found in print - maybe it like Zearing in Illinois also did not exist!) REALLY did not want to be the first 50-Mc. (that's the way it used to appear in print; '50-Mc.') WAS guy. Look up 4 paragraphs now to refresh your mind; W9ZHL, after apparently being the first to work 48 states on 6 meters, ended up by August 1960 as the person who received 'Special 50-Mc. Certificate' number 5. Even legendary Leroy in Texas (W5AJG; #4) 'beat him' and as the QST extract (here) reports, Leroy worked a guy who was also portable! (see QST 1950 extracts here)
It gets better and for what it is (or is not) 'worth' some additional research might be in order. December 1948 QST lists two guys with 50-Mc. WAS; (1) W9ZHL and (2) W0ZJB (who by the way reportedly operated from Gashland, Missouri and wonder of wonders, it also does not exist in 'Rand McNally' or 'The Times Atlas'.) Man alive - living someplace and earning a 6 meter WAS is not a good omen for your community! W0ZJB needed Oklahoma (he would work Tulsa at a reported 250 miles - creating an arc in the vicinity of Kansas City for 'the missing Gashland) and Vermont and BINGO! he had WAS. Further checking reveals Zearing, Illinois actually exists as an unincorporated community (in 'Bureau County' near Princeton, Illinois; north central not far from Chicago) and Gashland, Missouri did exist with a postmaster until 1959 when it was 'annexed' by Kansas City; ah, progress!
December 1949: Now we had Tilton's annual 50-Mc. table and it said: (1) W9ZHL, (2) W0ZJB, (3) W9QUV, (4) W0BJV and (5) W0CJS. At the bottom of the tabular listing it reads: "Calls in boldface indicate holders of special 50-Mc. WAS certificates, listed in order of the award number." This apparently indicates W9ZHL was "first to work" 48 states but W0ZJB was first to receive a (sequentially) numbered certificate.
By December 1951 the table has 8 calls listed but "Ed/W9ZHL" has mysteriously slid from #1 to #5; and now he too is boldface. Perhaps he finally worked a 'fulltime resident' of South Carolina! Back in the middle year (1950), W6WNN was listed as # 6 but by 1951 he had disappeared and was back listed under "claimed but not certificated" meaning even if he was granted a certificate back in 1950, by 1951 something equally mysterious had happened and he was dropped from the "boldface (certificate issued)" group. It becomes even more convoluted through the 50s as at one or two a year the 50-Mc. "boldface" (certificated) listings grew up to the K6EDX #21 in March 1957. I have to admit it - I am somewhat challenged by this seemingly straight forward "keep a list and assign consecutive numbers" system. W6WNN never did reappear (boldface) although in the full-first-50 list above there is a W0WWN.
Humm. Maybe I should research that "Magic Band" book