...The radios we'll always remember

The Blizzard of '67

featuring ham radio reports via WA9RTP

Ham Radio History 0 Comments 02/34/2023 

Posted By: Robert Nickels (W9RAN)
Posted on 02/34/2023


"Kids are skiing down Lakeshore Drive"...

WFLD Channel 32 in Chicago brought it's viewers real-time live reports from ham radio operators around the Chicago area in the aftermath of the historic 1967 blizzard.    This recording is courtest of the Museum of Classic Chicago Television, and a summary of their comments follows:

32 was the first station to bring live ham radio reports from the field, via WA9RTP which had been on since 12:30am, and this evening alone had 150 separate reports; he then turns to Jim Roper(?) and Dick Cox for a roundup report At this point, Jim reports that 11 stations are on standby, appearing in the following order: - From Mike in Skokie (WA9LIO): All available snow equipment out, side streets blocked, cars stalled; open streets are Simpson, Dempster, Cicero, Niles(?) Center(?) Road north of downtown Skokie, Crawford south of Dempster(?) - From Mitch above Evanston (WA9NXH): Morse(?) Avenue and Howard Street are "a bit messy" but open; Touhy Avenue is open and a "best bet" for east-west traffic; Sheridan Road is open for north-south traffic; (?) Avenue open until about Howard Street; Jarvis Avenue is closed; no buses running anywhere; side streets are closed and cars are stranded; and drifts as much as 5 feet high were seen - K9JTD in the Wauconda area reports that according to Lake County Sheriff's office, roads are rough including Route 176 through Route 41 from Highway 12; temperature in Wauconda is 14 degrees; Highway 120 is very rough at Route 12 through Waukegan, Green Bay Road Route 131; area hospital is completely operational and full; - From K9LSQ in Mount Prospect: Snowplow seen north on Route 12, several cars moving in on north-south road; east-west road closed; temperature is 17 degrees (whole report is barely audible at certain points) - From Bob of WA9IBT in Hollywood and Sheridan area: Sheridan Road is "virtually impassible"; buses not running; outer drive completely closed and a few cars have been deserted; kids are skiing down Lake Shore Drive - From Barry of K9LUF in Des Plaines: Police urge motorists to stay off road except for emergencies; roads open include Northwest Highway to Palatine, Dempster Street to Morton Grove, Milwaukee Avenue, Route 83, and leading to Lutheran General Hospital and Holy Family Hospital - From John in Wheaton (W9CMY): Snow removal completed in downtown area, with concentration on side streets; Route 53 north and south still impassible; parts of 64(?) North Avenue east and west has 2 lanes open - From 4600 south, 3500 west in Chicago (WA9QEW), Rich reports that main streets around Midway Airport are being plowed and salt being spread, meaning the roads should be cleared by late morning-early afternoon of the 28th; southwest side public transportation seems good as per CTA reports; a fire is burning at 2652 Wilcox on north side - From near south side, closer to the Loop in Clark, Clark of WA9RHM reports that the Dan Ryan near Rush at ramps (?) Street, 43rd Street and 51st Street are closed; vehicles are being removed and ramps being cleaned - From Lincolnwood, IL (WA9GSW): Broad, Central, Peterson and Lincoln Avenue are open, but Devon, and Western Avenue is deemed not good; 12 buses stranded at Peterson near Kedzie Avenue - From Bob in Gary, IN (K9HSL), for the final report from the field: No streets open, toll road closed, equipment breaking down, roads in and out of Hobart are closed, roads into and out of Crown Point are closed, Route 30 and 41 are all closed (talk about saving the worst for last!) With that, Jim ends the ham radio reports (notice Dick never mentions a word) before passing it back to Patrick who marvels at how the two Field papers, WFLD and WA9RTP all pooled their resources to provide "the most comprehensive coverage" of the storm, and he promises "they'll be used in the future" (ahem) This aired on local Chicago TV late Friday, January 27th 1967 during the 11:30pm to 12:00am (Midnight) timeframe.

WA9RTP was a club station at WFLD-TV.    WFLD started out as an independent funded by the heirs of Marshall Field plus the Sun-Times and Daily News newspapers.   The WA9FLD license seems to have expired in the early 1970s and was not renewed.

The equipment is obviously a Collins S-line, installed in the "President" model console made by Design Industries.

The following article appeared in BROADCASTING magazine for May 2, 1966.   More information about WA9RTP operation is welcomed.

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