Western Union Polechanger Key 1-B

Latest addition to my key collection.  A Western Union “Pole Changer Key”.  The name would lead one to think they were used by the guys who climbed the poles and installed the landline wires.
Actually they were not used by the actual pole changers but used in the office to switch between landline wire systems. Example would be switching between a North, South route to an East, West wire.
So changing between the poles sort of speak. Circa around 1900.

Western Union Pole ChangerWU Polechanger


Ted “Mac” McElroy Worlds Champion Telegrapher

Here is the hero of the radio telegraphers in our time. Mr. Ted R. McElroy – W1JYN – *1904-1963*
As legend has it, Mac astounded the audience by not doing anything when
the sending competition started in the3_pppurchase
July 2nd 1939 Hamfest at Asheville
N.C. –
The competition commenced and Ted
took a drink of water and light a
cigarette. He didn’t start typing until
a full 15 seconds of code had taken
place. When the tape finished he kept
typing for that same 15 second period
and it is no coincidence that he also
won touch typing contests. He left
that Hamfest with the Worlds Title
for fastest telegrapher at 75.2 WPM,
never to be broken.



Band Conditions

Now I am usually a very early to bed guy and with that I get up in what you would consider the “Wee Hours” like 02:30am almost every day.  The last three or four days I have been staying up late. Late to me is 9pm but I am talking 11pm here. I found 20 meters alive with DX on CW and digital modes more than once. So now I am under going a sleeping habit change and forcing myself to stay up later.

I related this story to a good friend in Georgia and he indicated he was in bed by 9pm each night. I got to thinking about the time difference so I do understand him not being up at midnight and having to get up for work in the morning. Being retired does have it’s advantages as far as Ham Radio is concerned !

Johnson Speedx Bug eBay find

My dad bought me one just like this when I was a young ham in 1962. He paid $19.95 for it at a local electronic supply house (Peninsula Electronics) in Salinas, CA.  I was so happy to get it as it got me away from a straight key. I developed my CW speed on it and used this bug for many years.
This weekend I ran across one just like it on eBay and it was a had to have.  So glad to have for the memories it will bring.



Follow up on Ladder Line Mishap

The winds given problem and the winds take away problem of ladder line snagged on clamp at top of mast. We have high winds again this morning and just as fast as the last wind storm created the snagging of the ladder line at the top section of my 40 foot mast they unhooked it this morning which made me quickly drop everything and get out and secure the ladderline straight down with a 10 ft piece of paracord to stop the fluttering in the wind. I have delayed letting down the mast due to work schedules and other things like not being able to walk due to a case of gout in my left foot.

Had made up my mind to drop the mast Saturday if there was no wind and correct the problem. About the only time you will ever hear be thank the wind for saving me some work. 40 MPH blows expected here today.

Ladder Line mishap

We recently had some high winds and I started to notice my antenna tuner settings had changes quite a bit. Went out side and took a look at the supporting pole. Noticed the ladder line
had caught on the clamp which holds the top 10 foot section up. Tried several things to get it unlodged on the clamp to no avail. What this did was put the ladder line right against the push up
mast and caused the high swr on the normal tuner settings. Had plans to let the pole down and fix this but low and behold a rainy weekend. So Will have to use as is until weather clears. Going to come up with something to prevent this from happening again in the future as the antenna which is a Alpha Delta DX-DD. With ladder line feed this antenna covers 80-40-30 meters and works very well normally.



450 Ohm Ladder Line

The Wireman ( www.thewireman.com) a well known supplier of antenna making products for the amateur carries some 450 ohm ladder line which is much better than the standard stiff solid conductor  line you see on eBay and else where. It has two 16ga 19 strand conductors and is very flexible compared to others. It is their product number 552. Full legal power and very flexible.
Most of the 450 ohm line out there these days has two 18ga solid conductors.

I highly recommend this line, you will not be disappointed !