The FM Chronicles

Welcome to my ‘portal’ for sharing and capturing the history, technologies, products, projects, anecdotes, and honoring the people who started a growth spurt in amateur radio and technology by introducing Frequency Modulation (FM) operations to the community and expanding capabilities, coverage and support around the world.

As much as Marconi, Edison, Bell, Faraday, Voltaire, Tesla, Hertz et al have contributed to the existence and evolution of radio technology, there are equal and greater contributors to the growth, success and positive effects of ham radio – spark gap, CW, AM, SSB, FM, ‘digital’, digital and more.

First, foremost and only I want to chronicle solutions, successes, growth, benefits, contributions specific to FM, repeaters and subsequent new FM and FM-/repeater-related technologies and systems.  The core of this hobby aside from the human spirit is based on technology – science, physics, bounded and proven principles, cause and effect.  We won’t argue the merits of CW, SSB, AM or whether ham radio should or should not be used for CERT, Red Cross, family events, etc.

There are a few things I want to collect information about, to be sorted and arranged to create a time and story line about the FM evolution in ham radio – statistics, details and lessons-learned:

  • Who – the people who introduced and implemented new and novel FM systems, our mentors, our students
  • What – the equipment used, from early Motorola and GE to Kaar to Yaesu, including radios, duplexers, control systems, antennas, creative power schemes – wind, solar…
  • Where – the first FM systems went on the air – region, city, state, hilltop or rooftop
  • When – date project started, date system in the air, other notable occassions
  • Why – experimentation? public service need? to fill a void in communications services?
  • Pictures – I want rig pics, antenna party picks, controller building pics, equipment racks then and now, novel mobile installs, novel repeater site installs (yes, there are a few in working refrigerators chained to trees on remote hilltops!), how-to, how-NOT-to
  • Anecdotes – whether it is a story about mosquitoes, rodents, reptiles, humans, lightning, snow, rain, earthquake, flood, burgers and fries, coffee, 807s (beer)… whatever has made the hobby fun, essential, uniquely valuable, teachable and learn-able moments.

I do ask that you enroll, sign up, register and otherwise make yourself known to credit your contribution and follow-up with any questions.

Please, feel free to contribute, interact, share, question and help document and memorialize the past 50 or so years of amateur radio.

Thank you in advance for your contributions.

73, de Jim, NO1PC


About NO1PC

I grew up with technology, radio, general electronics and gadgets. I have been and am an amateur radio operator, NO1PC, since 1970. I have worked in a wide variety of electronics and technology from paging and two-way radios systems, public safety radio, broadcast, medical instrumentation, scientific research and forensic instruments, digital and computer technology, technical and consumer software.. My technology interests have driven or provided a number of volunteer community service activities most notably as a volunteer firefighter for 8 years in Texas (I signed up to maintain their radios and apparatus and got thrown in the fire so to speak) and as a technical lead with the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services. With those I have certainly come to understand critical communications. I have been fortunate to work with numerous educators, mentors, engineers and a broad "user base" to acquire, learn, understand, enjoy and deliver a lot of great technology. I look forward to encountering new mentors every day and making the most of what they have to offer. I am also an accomplished technical author and columnist, starting with a modest PC how-to book inspired by my mentors and experiences to everyday aspects of computing in our lives, from command-lines to WiFi. The perspective of gathering and sharing and giving back with information available to me continues to drive work, hobby and volunteer services. My interests and desire in this blog are to share and capture various nuances and best practices from and for hobby to life-safety aspects of communications and ham radio.
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One Response to The FM Chronicles

  1. NO1PC NO1PC says:

    One of my first replies off the NARCC mailer:

    “For me it started in 1966. The first repeater in the area was located 35 miles North West of Wichita, Ks. The repeater was on 146.91 and about 75 miles away from me in Winfield Ks. Another ham and I talked about how to get a local repeater. Bill Stevens was the business manager of the local college. Low and behold The Cable tv company asked to use the college property for their tower. Bill agreed as long as the hams could use it for a ham repeater tower. The cable people agreed and ran the coax up the tower for us. Just after installing the repeater the FCC came out with their procedure for getting a repeater license and call sign. It took us about 6 months to fill out all the forms. We actually flew around the tower at different distances to find the radiation pattern and field strengths. All of this work required thanks to Hollingsworth of the FCC. You would have thought we were a commercial station. All repeaters in the country at this time were required to do this. After about 18 months we got our call: WR0ABZ. If you have 73 magazine look up our small article: (If you don’t have a mountain). April 73, 1973. Our site is on the cover. Our small GE repeater was controlled by hard wire with 160 volt dc on the phone line. This operated a 12 dc relay at the repeater site. Many mobiles were Motorola 80 D’s with Dynamotors.
    Keyed up on the carbon mike and the head lights of the car went dim.
    Was W0EMU at the time.

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