...The radios we'll always remember

Two Teens, a Ham Radio, and Operation Deep Freeze


A bit of Ham Radio history that deserves to be remembered

DX-60 Modifications 0 Comments 05/05/2022 


Posted By: Robert Nickels (W9RAN)
Posted on 05/05/2022

Few words better characterize the period from 1945-1970 than "science".    But while the space program was the most visible and exciting,  the eleven nations included in the Antarctic portion of the 1957-1958 International Geophysical Year created several permanent research stations, including the first permanent station at the South Pole. The effort to create a permanent scientific presence at, literally, the end of the earth required enormous effort of scientists and military personnel.

The work was difficult and took a toll on the workers who were isolated from their families for months at a time in those days before satellites made global communications something we take for granted today.    Their morale was boosted by a couple of teenagers from New Jersey who happened to be ham radio operators with a strong sense of empathy.

"The History Guy" describes Operation Deep Freeze in this video and the role the Madey brothers played in running countless phone patches between scientists and Navy personnel at the first permanent research station on Antarctica and their families.

Because there is little actual footage of the events described, this is mostly a narration over period-correct films including one showing the assembly of Hallicrafters transmitters.   But it is worth the time to watch regardless.


   Phone patches were a common activity on the ham bands for many years.   Although it was not difficult to homebrew a patch, many hams bought commercial units, often in kit form from Heathkit but assembled phone patches were also sold by Gonset, WRL,  EF Johnson/NYE Viking, and were incorporated into nearly every multifunction station console from Collins, Drake, Heathkit, Galaxy and ...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (W9RAN)  Posted: 09/30/2022 
    It's probably safe to say that no company produced more components for radio builders than the National Radio Company of Malden Mass.,   many of which were designed by radio engineer extrordinaire James Millen  W1HRX.    Having acquired a degree in mechanical engineering at Stevens Institute, Millen always stressed solid mechanical design principles in National'...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (W9RAN)  Posted: 09/11/2022 
   Homebrewing has always been a big part of ham radio, but it clearly peaked during the period following WWII when surplus components became availalbe in quantity and at low prices.  Most large cities had at least one surplus store and the supply was so great that authors wrote magazine articles based around surplus components because they knew readers would have no problem in finding them.But ...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (W9RAN)  Posted: 07/22/2022 
   Here's a simple kit that is useful for tube and solid state projects - a dummy load with power indication.   The 4S-Dummy Load is a simple kit that employs the use of large SMT parts and  LEDs to provide rough indication of power up to 10W output.   Just 12 bucks!  MORE INFO...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (W9RAN)  Posted: 06/02/2022 
   Everyone knows the history of the "Missiles of October"  - the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.   But many - even dedicated radio fans - may not know that 10 US AM radio stations joined the fight against the threat of nuclear proliferation by becoming the medium wave extension of the Voice of America.    This excerpt from a 206 page paper entitled "Cuban American Radio W...  READ MORE
- Robert Nickels (W9RAN)  Posted: 05/18/2022