From Small Beginnings
Brief History of the Guelph,
It is with regret that we anounce that Newt God VE3CY becase a Silent Key in 19xx. His call remains active with his son Brian.
How I Got Started In Amateur Radio And How It As Affected My Life During The Past Seventy Years.
One day when I was a lad living in Berlin (now called Kitchener) I read about a man called Marconi who was able to send signals across the Atlantic without wires. This attracted my interest so I decided to try and find out how he was doing it. Soon after this, the sinking of the liner Titanic was making front page news, especially about how many people had been saved by wireless and the heroic wireless operators on the ship.
Apart from the reports of the shore station operators handling the distress signals, I read about what were called wireless amateurs also picking up the signals from the Titanic. I thought it would be great if I could pick up such signals so I started reading radio magazines; radio equipment catalogues and studying some of the diagrams I saw but could not understand.
The Electric Importing company and Wm B Duck had fine catalogues and it was from one of the latter that I discovered a diagram of a navy type coupler. That was my first bit of radio equipment which was not of much use by itself.
However, I knew a Mr. Ruppel who lived on Cameron Street not far away and who was a radio amateur. He took my coupler and joined it up in a circuit with a crystal detector and a pair of high impedance telephones. He was able to copy commercial stations which showed that my coupler was well built. At this time, World War I was still on and no radio amateurs were allowed on the air. It did not matter much to me then as I was still going to school and homework was taking up much of my time.
In 1919 my family moved to New Westminster, B.C. and as luck would have it a neighbour next door had a son who was a commercial operator with the Marconi Company. When he came home from a voyage I quickly made his acquaintance and from then on I was in clover as far as radio was concerned. His name was Ernie McCracken and he had been a radio amateur prior to becoming a commercial operator.
Under his guidance, I soon became the possessor of a 2-slide tuner, a crystal detector, a pair of high impedance telephones, a morse telegraph key and best of all, a 1/4 KW Thordarson transformer with a 60 cycle fan motor attached. I also acquired a Leyden Jar condenser, a bakelite panel and various binding posts, with switches and bits and pieces thrown in for good measure. Most of this equipment came from the Marconi Company in Vancouver.
Once I had the receiving units joined up, I was able to hear all sorts of signals both commercial and amateur. I was now learning the code and Ernie helped me a lot in bringing up my speed so that I could take the examination for my amateur licence. He also taught me the theory so well that when I sat for the examination, I passed with flying colours and was given the call sign 5FE.
Now I was all set to get on the air but before doing so decided to improve my receiver by using a tube instead of a crystal. I traded my 2-slide coupler for an Autra Audion tube and built a regenerative receiver using two variometers, one for tuning the grid circuit which consisted of a tapped secondary of a vario coupler, the other variometer for the plate circuit to produce the necessary regeneration.
As a point of interest, the variometers were wound on Quaker Oat and Old Dutch Cleanser cardboard cans using double cotton covered wire. The grid condenser was made of tinfoil strips with wax paper between for insulation. The grid leak was carbon pencil marks drawn between the bolts that held the grid condenser together. The tube was mounted on four small binding posts located on the front panel.
The transmitter consisted of the 1/4 KW Thordarson transformer with a home-brew rotary spark gap; Leyden Jar condenser and a hand wound tuning coil. These formed the oscillatory circuit which was inductively couple to the antenna. The rotary spark gap was driven by the fan motor of the Thordarson transformer.
Now I had a complete station and it worked just fine. I worked many station up and down the west coast and got as far south as Eugene, Oregon which was about six hundred miles away from my QTH.
Now I was really hooked on wireless or radio as it was now being called worldwide. I decided to go the whole hog and to make a career out of it. To become a professional radio operator meant attending a radio school so early in 1922 I enrolled with the Sprott Wireless School in Vancouver. Before the year was over I had passed the Department of Transport examination and received commercial licence number 904.
When I moved back to Chatham Ontario in December 1922 I had my amateur licence callsign changed to 3HM. In the spring of 1923 I joined the Canadian Marconi Company as a sea-going radio operator. I stayed with this company until 1929 when I joined the Wentworth Radio Company as a service manager.
My work took me to Hamilton, Toronto, St Catharines and Kitchener. With the advent of World War II I joined Electrohome in Kitchener and took charge of two of their plants. Some of my work during the war was testing 750 2KW radio transmitters being built for the RCAF. After the war I set up my own business servicing radio and television equipment. This kept me busy until my retirement some years ago.
During all these years, I found my amateur radio training and experience of great help. In 1933 when I renewed my amateur licence I was given the callsign VE3CY. This is the call I still use. I was one of the founding members of the Progressive Radio Club in Galt; member of the ARRL for twenty years, Official ARRL Observer for 5 years and am still active on the amateur bands.
My present equipment certainly differs greatly from what I started with in 1922. Now I have a Yaesu FT101E transmitter operating through a SWR bridge and antenna tuner to a vertical antenna with base loaded coil which is tapped for all the amateur bands. I have a 4-wire radial system and an inverted V antenna for 40 metres.
Not least among the nice things of being radio amateur is meeting many fine people; making friends through radio clubs and in talking to fellow amateurs around the world. Now as a member of the Kitchener-Waterloo ARC Coffee Club I can look back over the years and say:
AMATEUR RADIO IS THE FINEST HOBBY OF THEM ALL.