In early '80s

I have come back on the air after over ten year absence in early '80s.  I was serving residency at a med school hospital living in a small dormitory there shown in the picture above. As most residents did, I did not have long vacation then, when I  recalled this hobby of ham radio I used to enjoy in teenage days. I drove an hour to get the brand new TS830 and a vertical. It won't take me long time to set the vertical on the roof and make a space for radio in the bed room. I don't now why my wife has not complained of that. Smiling to some visitors, however, she told them she had become a ham widow. It was the end of the plateau of the solar activity. I could work with a bunch of DX with this humble set up. It was a surprise for me that I had never forgotten the code after that interval.

I ran across with a number of old friends on the air. One of the most remarkable persons was Steve WA6IVN. I used to work with him in contests etc in '60s but had never known him in person. As soon as we knew each other a little bit more than we used to, we got closer. He was a few years older than me and had been suffering from malignant lymphoma, that was classified as a pretty benign type. He seemed to be thirsty for living. He eagerly enjoyed every aspect of life. Maybe I could say he was urged to enjoy his life as if he had had only limited length of life. In my first trip to the bay area a few years later, I visited him in Manteca near San Francisco. He has treated me warmly like an old friend and would show all of his life to me. He was followed up for lymphoma at Stanford University. In a few years, he has developed a second malignancy followed by melanoma, which was fatal to him. I could remember his fist was getting disarranged every QSO. He was really weakened when I met him at the BBQ party at W6CYX. Despite of having metastasis in brain, he drove up to San Jose on his trailer to see me. It was several months later when I heard of his passing away. I won't forget him.

Bob W6CYX, with whom I have worked on CW for more than 1000 times since '60s, is a brilliant and sociable person. His fist always sounds smooth and crisp. We used to work once a day or two in from '80s through '90s. He kindly let me stay at his home twice in my visits in '90s. In my first visit to him, I and my friend, Hide JH0FBH, were impressed at his great location on a slope of the Mt. Hamilton looking down the city of San Jose and the San francisco Bay. What a gorgeous view through the window of his living room in his home at night! He is a man of argument from the standpoint of conservative. I am inclined to be fairly progressive as for every events in politics as well as economy etc. I am afraid that my opinion might make him irritated from time to time. I believe in the good will and ability of the american people but still should point out the very serious problem in the financial system in the US. I hope he would understand me. I wish him many more returns in good health with his kind and beautiful wife there. May many more QSOs with me be added to the record in the future.

I was thrilled to find a number of old friends who used to keep a schedule in our sunset hours in '60s. The main guy was Ed K6NB, formerly WA6UNF. That schedule was with Trevor VK2NS on around 7020KHz. There were a lot of guys joining the round table. I can figure such as Kemp K7UQH, Cy K6PA, formerly WB6CFN, Ted K6YN, formerly KH6EFW or Ron VK2DO etc. Most of them have gone silent key or inactive by now, I am afraid. In mid of '80s, Trevor passed away that made Ed inactive on the air. They ran in QRQ and used to fascinate me much into the world ragchewing on CW. I was lucky to have met these old stars before they went silent key. It was a really starry sky on 40m around the sunset here.
Merle Parten K6DC, formerly W6ULS, was also an unforgettalbe ham. In '60s, he used to hold regular QSOs with ZS in our midnight hours. It was very tough for me with a low power and a wire antenna to get any Africa. He used to let me work with such as ZS2MI in Marion Island. What a pleasure for a teenage boy! He used to be in Santa Barbara, where he came back from the bay area when retired in around 1990. In my first visit to the bay area in mid '80s, I drove around the peninsula on a rental car. Driving on the El Camino Real in San Carlos, a 2 elemet Yagi for 40m came into my sight. I could not resist knocking the door of the house with the beam, even though I did not know who it was. Yes, it was Merle's home. Without any appointment of visit, he kindly let me in his shack. He was not very talkative but kind enough to treat me as a friend. He took me to an Italian cuisine for lunch. Later, in my third visit to the US, I have drove down with Eric W6DU from the bay area to Santa Barbara where Merle was settled down on a vast property on a slope of a hill facing to the Pacific ocean. Again, I had a great time with Merle and his wife Marjorie. I could not forget the fellows in Santa Barbara such as John W6GTI or Red W6THN etc as well, all of whom have gone silent key by now to my sorrow. 

I have kept this post card on my desk at the office for years. Before it deteriorates, I have scanned it into the PC. It reminded me of those good old days. Sorry for lengthy story that may not be so interesting to the readers. Still fond and important memories for me. Ham radio has made quite a big part of my life in this way.   


  1. Thanks for posting these comments Shin san. I was sailing with the Navy during these years and it is always fascinating to hear about hamming in the sixties. Best, Chas

  2. Hi Chas,

    Yes, it was the golden age of ham radio. I am pleased to share the memories with you.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all.