NOTE FROM PRESIDENT WAG
Our recent monthly business meeting was Monday, July 24th. I was in England on vacation so Steven Westbrook presided.
The Society recently acquired a transceiver used by the U.S. Marine Navajo code talkers during WW II to encrypt messages. This unit is in excellent condition and is a TBY-2 Type CRI-43044 manufactured for the Navy Department by the Colonial Radio Corporation, Buffalo, New York. When purchased, the radio was missing the antenna, headset, DC power supply and carrying bag, however one of our members indicates he may be able the source these items. We plan to exhibit the radio, in the near future, as the centerpiece of our display for the Alabama Broadcasters Association annual conference in August. After the conference, the radio will on permanent display in our museum.
Don’t forget the upcoming Huntsville Hamfest. We can certainly use volunteers on the day of the exhibit, Saturday, August 19, 2023. Please contact me by email or Steven Westbrook by email or phone if you can help load the vehicles at the shop or help man the booth in Huntsville.
On Wednesday August 16, 2023 from 6:00 - 7:00 PM at the Homewood Public Library, the AHRS has been invited to give a talk on radio history, to include the role of “Pop” Ansley with an emphasis on his links to WKBC, WSGN and the Homewood, Alabama area. Save the date and plan to attend, ideally wearing your AHRS shirt.
The next electronics class at the Shop will be on Saturday, August 5th; the event will be both live at the Shop and via Zoom (see the upcoming email link and topics). Boyd Bailey will continue his sojourn into FM radio. The class thereafter will be in college football season… Anyone know when the first SEC college football game was broadcast on radio?
Our next members’ auction date will likely be in late August or early September once we catch our collective breath.
We recently received a call from AHRS member Charles McCrary. He advised he was cleaning out his father’s house and storage building, in anticipation of the selling of the property. He called to see if the Society was interested in any of the remaining jukeboxes, pinball machines and assorted items. We were given a limited time to make a decision of the items since the house sold quicker than expected and all the items in the garage had to be removed by the closing date. Several members inspected the items and found the remaining jukeboxes were in parts-only condition or is serious need of repair. After consultation with other officers and board members it was decided that due to space restraints in the AHRS Shop, we could not accept the generous offer. We did, however accept the donation of an AMC jukebox wallbox unit and a Kolster console radio. These items have been cleaned by Ray Giles and are currently on display at the Shop.
The shop remains busy with repairs on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Knob sorting is complete and Tom Killian, Ray Giles, Grady Shook and John Herndon are now categorizing our solid-state parts. Thanks to all who have lent their time, expertise, and effort! In an upcoming newsletter, I will ask John Outland to update us on the tube inventory and storage system.
Work continues on the relighting of the museum display cabinets over at the Alabama Power building, under the leadership of Dee Haynes. Please contact Dee if you are willing to help with the project.
On a closing personal note, I flew up to meet our middle son in Montana and we spent a couple of days in Yellowstone, an absolutely unique place. We concentrated on the Lamar Valley and were able to see a couple of black bears (no grizzlies), sandhill cranes, elk, pronghorn sheep, mountain goats, and, most amazing of all, a couple of wolves. The kindness of strangers, sharing knowledge and their spotting scopes, was wonderful.
The hiking in the Park and around Island Lake near the Beartooth Pass was amazing. I would have enjoyed it more if I were 30 years younger and the oxygen level higher… The Pass itself is at nearly 11,000 ft.
Presentation to Broadcaster Mike Royer
Member, Dave Cisco, who was born in Indiana, presented Mike Royer, a long-time local television personality, with a 1926 radio made in Bloomington, Indiana, by the Showers Brothers Furniture Factory. Mike was born in small town west of Bloomington. The company was a major furniture manufacturer in its day and branched into radio production; however, there are few remaining examples. At its peak in the 1920s, Showers Brothers produced more than 700,000 pieces of furniture a year, enough to fill 16 train-car loads a day.
A code talker was a person employed by the military during wartime to use a little-known language as a means of secret communication. The term is most often used for United States service members during the World Wars who used their knowledge of Native American languages as a basis to transmit coded messages. In particular, there were approximately 400 to 500 Native Americans in the United States Marine Corps whose primary job was to transmit secret messages. Code talkers transmitted messages over military telephone or radio communications nets using formally or informally developed codes built upon their Indigenous languages. The code talkers improved the speed of encryption and decryption of communications in front line operations during World War II and are credited with a number of decisive victories. Their code was never broken.
There were two code types used during World War II. Type one codes were formally developed based on the languages of the Comanche, Hopi, Meskwaki, and Navajo peoples. They used words from their languages for each letter of the English alphabet. Messages could be encoded and decoded by using a cipher where the ciphertext was the Native language word. Type two code was informal and directly translated from English into the Indigenous language. If there was no corresponding word in the Indigenous language for the military word, code talkers used short, descriptive phrases. For example, the Navajo did not have a word for submarine, so they translated it as iron fish.
The term Code Talker was originally coined by the United States Marine Corps and used to identify individuals who completed the special training required to qualify as Code Talkers with their service records indicating "642 – Code Talker" as a duty assignment. Today, the term Code Talker is still strongly associated with the bilingual Navajo speakers trained in the Navajo Code during World War II by the US Marine Corps to serve in all six divisions of the Corps and the Marine Raiders of the Pacific theater. However, the use of Native American communicators pre-dates WWII. Early pioneers of Native American based communications used by the US Military include the Cherokee and Lakota peoples during World War I. Today the term Code Talker includes military personnel from all Native American communities who have contributed their language skills in service to the United States.
Other Native American communicators, now referred to as code talkers, were deployed by the United States Army during World War II, including Lakota, Meskwaki, Mohawk, Comanche, Tlingit, Hopi, Cree, and Crow soldiers; they served in the Pacific, North African, and European theaters.
Quote of the Month
"If you do not read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."
- Mark Twain
We meet every Saturday (unless a Holiday weekend) at 8:30 A.M. until around 11:30 A.M., at the one-story AHRS Shop at the corner of 8th Avenue North and 18th Street, (1801 8th Avenue North, Birmingham, AL 35203). Please use the rear (Southeast) entrance.
The Shop is open on Tuesdays at 8:30 A.M. until around 11:30 A.M. Note that parking can be a problem on Tuesdays, so you may have to find street parking occasionally.
Regular monthly meetings will resume on the fourth Monday night at 6:30 PM
Please come join us!
The electronics classes are generally on “Zoom” and “in-person” at the AHRS Shop, typically the first Saturday of each month (except when something special is taking place and then we agree on a different Saturday.
Check your emails for the schedule and how to participate.
We start from the beginning Ohms Law, inductors, resistor and Capacitors color codes, as well as what each component does within the radio circuits. We also teach how to use test equipment used in the repairing of radios. We teach troubleshooting radio troubles, as well as how to read a radio diagram. There are coil winding classes, and one-on-one repair help. Come join these classes!
Membership dues are $25.00 a year, payable beginning in January. If you have questions about your dues, you can contact Treasurer Mike Woodruff at 205-823-7204. Dues can be mailed to AHRS at P.O. Box 131418, Birmingham AL 35213 or paid on-line at https://alhrs.org
Be sure and check out our website at https://alhrs.org, which has copies of all newsletters from 2006 to the present (click on News), videos, photo galleries, museum, Old Time Radio columns, Projects, Reading Rooms, Archives, and Contact Information
President – Richard “Wag” Waguespack
Vice President – Steven Westbrook
Recording Secretary – Grady Shook
Treasurer – Mike Woodruff
Boyd Bailey, Member and Instructor
Newsletter – Steven Westbrook