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.
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.
Ahhh, those were the days! —- LAYNE AE1N
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