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Wake Island … Been There, Done That, No T-Shirt Though

Wake Island … Been There, Done That, No T-Shirt Though

While I was looking at the ClubLog’s Most Wanted List recently, I noticed that Wake Island is #41. This brought fond memories flooding into my mind!

The Year was 1961. I was a junior in High School. We had just moved to Hawaii. My Dad was looking for employment. One Day he came home and announced he got a one year contract as an Electronic Technician in Wake Island. I had never heard of it before.

The next thing you know, we were on a DC3 via Kure and landing at Wake. We had brought a Hallicrafters HT-32A and a Hammarlund HQ-170. Forty-Five minutes after being assigned our quarters, we threw 25 feet of random wire out the window and, through the Harvey-Wells Matchbox, loaded up around 14015 Khz with a short CW CQ. It was a mob … I remember my first QSO was with W5WZQ of contest fame. The pileup was so heavy and thick, I had a hard time peeling the signals apart. The HQ-170 had a neat feature, a band-spread vernier dial that went plus and minus 3 kHz from the center frequency. So I would go down 3 kHz for a few QSOs and up 3 kHz for a few, and soon the pileup was spread all over the spectrum.

Needless to say, in the coming year, Dad and I worked endless pile-ups every band we got on. Adding a 4 element Hygain tri-bander and a Hallicrafters HT-33 KW amp didn’t hurt either. I entered the 1961 CQ WW CW DX contest and got the All-time record high score for Oceania which held for many years.

 

Wake Island KH9

We vowed to return QSL 100 percent and that ran up the postage costs. Fortunately, we were considered a USA FPO address so, soon PO Box 68, Wake Island had virtually daily cards filling its capacity. Here a just a few of our QSLs.

Wake Island QSO

Wake Island QSL

Wake Island QSL

Ahhh, those were the days! —- LAYNE AE1N

Wake Island QST

Layne, AE1N

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