Ham Radio Operator At AO Has World-Wide “Neighbors”

Article Taken From:AO News (1963)

Don Whitney (W1NEP) at his "rig"

People of France, Japan, South America and other countries all over the world are “talking neighbors” of AOLite’s Donald Whitney, WINEP, typical of several “ham” radio operators working at AO.


They say there is a little “ham” in all of us.In the case of the radio amateur operator, the term is a compliment.It sets him apart as one of some 230,000 people in the United States who have passed a Federal Communications Commission examination and have been licensed to operate their own radio stations.


Amateur radio dates back to the time when radio was known as “wireless” and there was little distinction between professionals and amateurs.With few textbooks to guide them and with fewer pieces of equipment, the hams ingeniously made up their own “homebrew” receivers and transmitters.


A few years later, when the air waves began to get crowded with the first commercial broadcasts, government officials assigned the hams to a band of 200 meters and down, to “keep them in the back yard” communicatively.They’ve done more than well in this area.


Some of the earlier tinkering of hams resulted in major advancements in radio, and have been adopted in our present-day communication equipment.


Every ham refers to his equipment as a “rig” and his place of operation as a “shack.”


Typical of the amateurs, Whitney, a member of the American Radio Relay League, uses “cans” (earphones) to pull in weak stations, a “bug” (telegraph key) to get a “QSO” (conversation) through when there is a lot of “QRM” (interference or noise) on the “other” (radio waves).

Whitney has “visited” almost every country in the world except China via his rig.

“Most people, including Russian hams, speak English pretty well.It’s probably the language used most by hams,” he said.

Whitney, like all hams, travels in celebrated company. Well known hams include General Curtis LeMay, Arthur Godfrey, Herbert Hoover, Jr., and Dr. Allen B. Dumont.

Other hams here at AO art Al Watson, Materials Testing and Control Lab; Frank Hurley, Lensdale; Frank Padykula, Research Center, and Bob Haynes, recently transferred to AO Frederick.


The Whitney and Haynes families have been in pretty close contact since the transfer to Frederick.You guessed it, they’re in “QSO” often with Don Whitney’s rig.

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