Life before WARTS

It rested on the lower shelf of the Spokane Radio Company store. It was a radio receiver called the Echophone. There were other radios, but all were much more expensive.

Harry was just out of high school and enrolled in the Spokane Radio and Telegraph School. He visited Spokane Radio and saw that Echophone, but the price was formidable, all of nineteen dollars and ninety-five cents. Harry was making just 17 cents an hour washing dishes at a nearby restaurant.

Our country was just emerging from the great depression of the 1930s. That was the year of 1941. A dollar or two each week and in a few months Harry owned an Echophone!

Listening for good CW signals then became the thing to do. Harry marveled at the CW capability of one operator with the amateur radio call sign of W7CKT. Little did Harry know that in just four years Riley, W7CKT would be the primary founder of a new organization called THE WASHINGTON AMATEUR RADIO TRAFFIC SYSTEM.

On November 11th 1941 Harry sat for the old Class C license. This license would give CW privileges on 10 meters for a year. However, it seems that there was an interruption called World War II and there was a delay in granting the license by the FCC. Harry served four years with the Air Force as a flying radio operator, stationed in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands.

And then, a few months after discharge and a visit to his parents home his Father commented that there had been a letter from the FCC and that he had put it in a safe place, someplace. Later he remembered that he had pushed it into a woodpile. There it was all soggy and wet but the call W7JWJ still legible.

Now Harry could work that hot shot CW station W7CKT and the friends of Riley, W7EPS, W7JVB and W7BBK. What were they talking about? Forming a voice traffic net?


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