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Southbridge Recollections

Memories of the 1966 Parade and Local Ham Radio operators - Al Watson

Hi Dick:

Thanks for the offer to contribute to your web site, even though I don't have anything specific to add to it. 

As to any memory of the sesquicentennial parade I have no specific observations,  except to say that Sally and I were assisting the Sunday School youth of Elm Street Church with their Endeavour to raise money by selling soft drinks, etc. to the people who came out to watch the parade.  We were in a tent-like area at the corner of Main and Goddard Streets where the present Friendly is now located.  Friendly was not there at the time.  From this location we had a good view of the parade as it came from Hamilton onto Main and toward the center of town.  It was an ideal location for me to take  pictures.
 
I took advantage of the link you provided to bring back memories of Southbridge, AO, and other subjects.  One subject, in particular, was the history of Harvey Wells.  I remember Cliff Harvey (W1RF) well, as I visited him on occasion in his basement "radio shack" and he gave a course in electronics to members of the Quinnebaug Valley Amateur Radio Club (QVARC).  Across the street from Cliff lived Stanley Knight, whose call letters I don't recall.  Cliff's early partner in the business was John Wells, W1ZD. 
 
At that time in the history of Southbridge, there was an active group of "Hams" from Southbridge and Sturbridge, as well as other towns.  I saw an entry by Keith Knowlton in your web site. I'm glad to see that Keith is keeping the Club License active.  I remember him well, along with Paul Dobson and Bob Lavallee.  In this era we would have what we called "Fox Hunts" wherein on particular nights one mobile ham would park somewhere in Southbridge and others would try to find him.  I didn't have a mobile unit so would accompany Charlie Mach (K1RNH) who ran Kennedy Electric in the Globe.  Another ham I remember is Roger Johnston in Brimfield who later became Keith's father-in-law.  I happened to be at the Sturbridge Transfer Station earlier this fall and a younger man came up to me, after noticing my call letters on the number plate of my station wagon.  He asked if I new Roger.  It turns out he is Roger's son.  Small world! By the way, one of the pieces of equipment I had along the way was a Harvey Wells TBS 50 D, which I traded to Keith for an electronic keyer. I remember Keith as one of the greats with the 5 - string banjo!
 
After Bob Haynes was transferred from Southbridge to Frederick, MD., your father had a weekly schedule with Bob on Sunday mornings.  This was in Morse Code. Several times I joined in on the contacts with them.
 
My original call letters were K1ABP.  In the early 80's Charlie and I went to the FCC in Boston to upgrade our licenses: Charlie to Advanced Class, and I went for the Extra Class.  While living in Maine I applied to the FCC to change call letters - they issued me WG1D, which I still hold. I've been licensed for over 50 years!  Where does the time go?
 
I am presently not very active in ham radio because of my hearing loss - I can't understand conversations coming from the radio, telephone, TV (thank Goodness for Closed Caption), and conversations when there is background noises, such as restaurants, etc.
By the way, one of the pieces of equipment I had along the way was a Harvey Wells TBS 50 D, which I traded to Keith for an electronic keyer.
 
I've got to spend more time looking over your web site.
Al Watson

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