Setting the Stage for WARTS


+---------------/There was no neon sign above the street. However, every Kennewick teenager knew the location. It was above the hardware store on main street and it was the Kennewick Roller Rink. One teenager who frequented the rink was Mary Smith, an excellent skater. One night a visiting Ham, Harry, W7JWJ asked her to skate. They were married six weeks later in the Methodist Church just down the street. The presiding minister was Reverend Underwood, W7AKB. Assisting as alter boy was his son Gene, W7AKA. Gene now lives in Newcastle. In the congregation several Hams from Richland, Washington. Soon each and every one of them would be involved with the Net to be called WARTS. They were members of the newly formed Richland Amateur Radio Club.


The Lewis residence would be in Richland, WA where Harry served as Chief of Communications for the Security Department, Atomic Energy Commission. The next-door neighbor was Charles Larcom, W7AOQ a Master Sergeant with the Army and Harry’s work supervisor. Richland and the Hanford Project were undergoing change by being converted from military to civilian control. Sgt. Larcom would receive a new assignment. An antenna had been installed for Charlie by the military. It was an off-center fed 75 meter Hertz suspended between two sixty-foot telephone poles. Before Charlie departed he swung the antenna lead in over to the ham shack of the Lewis residence, and the ham shack window.

The ham shack was being upgraded. The old Echophone had been donated to the war effort and in its place a Hallicrafter Model SX-41. The little transmitter was homebrew with its single 6L6 oscillatior. It was replaced with a Collins ART-13 autotune W7JWJ began To check into the Trunk Line Nets that preceded NTS and the Region nets. From Oregon the Oregon Emergency Net.While Harry was at his place of employment Mary would secretly practice the Morse code.

And on December 23, 1947 a new net was born. The founders called it WARTS. The first roll call of the WASHINGTON AMATEUR RADIO TRAFFIC SYSTEM.

The second remembered roll call was at midnight December 3. This was the first time that W7JWJ checked in to be qualified as a charter member.

One of the youngest members of this Net was Norm Ray, W7LFA and Norm relates the mission and purpose of the WARTS Net.

WARTS was founded on the principle that it would be a gathering place of stations in the Northwest who had a similar interest in life and who were genuinely interested in furthering the cause and upholding the true meaning of ham radio. We would if the need arise, offer our services to traffic handling and emergency situations. It later proved that a binding force such as traffic would strengthen our fellowship. It was felt by all that true traffic, which was sent because it had a definite purpose, held a place in our mission. Down through the years the quality of traffic has varied, as have the conditions under which it is being handled.

Norm Ray, W7LFA

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