May 2020

Note from President Dave

Greetings to all !

Let me begin by saying I hope all of you are well and making the best of the conditions under which we continue to live. I have spoken to some of our members and it seems they are doing very well. The one comment I hear from everyone is “I am ready to get back to the shop and return to business as usual." I too look forward to getting back to normal conditions.

At this time we do not know the exact timetable Alabama Power has in place for reopening our building along with their other buildings and getting their employee back to work. We are advised they have a “Three Phase” plan.

Julia M. Hooper with Alabama Power outlines the “Three Phase” plan as follows. She does not have dates associated with the phases but the structure is…..

Phase 1 – They will continue as they are currently operating, with the majority of their employees telecommuting.  Only critical employees will be working and practicing social distancing while in the buildings. This will remain in effect for 14 days.

Phase 2 – Normal business operations resumes for those who must report to work to fully perform their job duties. They will continue to practice social distancing.  This will remain in effect for 14 days.

Phase 3 – Employees are allowed to return to locations with normal access and limited social interaction.

All of the above phases depend on a smooth transition without any spikes in new COVID-19 cases.  If that occurs, the phases could be adjusted.  She will advise the start dates for the phases once they are established.

There are still many unknowns. We will keep you advised.

I want to thank Boyd Bailey for presenting the recent virtual “test drive” of the electronics class on Zoom. He plans to have another class for all members in the very near future. We are also working with him to have a virtual members meeting in the near future. We will keep you advised.

Obviously I have no report from any activity at the shop. I know some of you are working on projects at home. If you have questions that I might be able to help you with, please call me. You will receive updates about the plans for the days ahead as they are developed.

For now; stay safe and healthy.

See you at the shop, soon, I hope.


What's Happening at the Society

Who was Hugo Gernsback?

by Dave Cisco

I am writing this article for two reasons: this is about a book in our library that can be checked out and was originally published in the year I was born!

Hugo Gernsback was born in 1884 to a wealthy winemaking family in the little country of Luxembourg. He lived until 1967 and age 83.

Gernsback became interested in electrical things at young age. When he was 13, he installed a communication system in the Carmelite Convent near his home. In late 1903 when he was still a teenager he decided to come to America where there was lots of interest in electrical activity. His primary interest at the time was batteries which he wanted to get a patent on. Gernsback had changed the spelling of his last name by this time. He started an Electro Importing Company in New York City to make a living in 1906. E. I. Company as it became known, began importing electrical items from Europe and selling them to amateur experimenters (later known as hams). Gernsback published a magazine called Modern Electrics (which later became Popular Science) in 1908. The magazine became an instant success with the experimenters. There was so much interest especially in wireless items that Hugo formed a group called The Wireless Association of America in 1909. Soon the association grew to 10,000 members and Hugo published a journal called “The Electrical Experimenter” in 1913. Hugo Gernsback lost interest in the amateur wireless activities due to his commercial successes and competition from the American Radio Relay League started in 1914, however his publications contained articles written for the hams of the world for the rest of his life.

The first world war and the huge advances in radio, audio, and broadcasting helped Hugo to build a publishing empire. He started Radio News (later Radio/TV news), Radio Craft (later Radio Electronics), Shortwave Craft, just to name a few of his literally hundreds of publications.

He hired John Rider as his editor and Rider went on to form his own publishing company with hundreds of books for the radio industry. He opened a radio station WRNY (Radio New York). He even is credited in starting the science fiction craze in 1926 with the publication “Amazing Stories”. There is still today a “Hugo Award” for writers of science fiction stories. Unfortunately, in 1929 Gernsback had to declare bankruptcy and lost most of his publishing empire and radio station, although he later recovered and still published books and magazines until the 1960’s. Hugo also obtained 80 patents during his lifetime.

Now we get to the book I spoke of earlier. In March of 1938 Gernsback published a Radio Craft monthly edition called the “Jubilee Souvenir Number” to mark the 50thanniversary of Heinrich Hertz’s discovery of electromagnetic radiation. This had to have been a change of heart for Hugo since in 1919 he had published an article by Nicola Tesla which called Hertz theories totally useless.

This book is about 150 pages of very interesting history and projections for the future of radio for the 50 years past and future. There are 11 pages of “Reminiscences of Old-Timers” recognizing 18 of the people that Hugo felt had been the most important figures in the first 50 years of radio development but there was one person missing from this Edwin Armstrong. Apparently Gernsback and Armstrong did not see eye to eye on lots of things. Hugo did mention Armstrong when he talked about regeneration but there is no mention about FM even though Hugo mentioned many problems with AM reception at that time. There are 3 pages on the “Growth of Broadcasting”,  there are 5 pages called “Mileposts in Television”, 6 pages on “Development of Sound Equipment”, 3 pages about Amateur Radio, 6 pages of “Predictions and Fulfillments” based on earlier predictions mostly by Gernsback, but the most interesting 3 pages to me were called “Radio in the Future”. These pages were strictly Gernsback’s ideas about where radio was headed in the future. Hugo predicted that people would someday wear TV glasses (see picture), have radio receivers the size of a pocket watch (picture), powered by winding the watch spring, and doctors being paged by radio within 100 miles of their offices.

Even though Gernsback wouldn’t recognize Armstrong’s FM he predicted that High Fidelity music without interference would be possible. One thing that Hugo predicted that did not come to pass was listening to radio using a “Molecular Vibrator” which could be hooked to a chair or bed and when a person sat in the chair or laid in the bed they would hear the music and no one else in the room would hear anything. He even envisioned using it as a learning tool while you slept.

As you can see, I am just giving some teasers in this writing to get you to read the actual book. Actually, it’s not a book but a reprint of the original magazine. Also, it is in the group of books that can be checked out of our library. The reprint was so popular that it is available from most of the radio book sellers. We are so fortunate to have our wonderful library; I want every member to check out a book (not all the same one) once a month.

Quote of the Month

Submitted by Steven Westbrook

“Every storm runs out of rain”.

Maya Angelou

Resurrecting an Aztec

By Doc Holladay

A couple of months ago I was contacted by a gentleman in Tucson, Arizona. He said he'd seen my radios for sale on Radio Attic and wanted to buy a 12 tube Zenith. Well, as it happened, I had just sold the Zenith 12S265 that he'd been looking at. "Will you have another 12 tube sometime in the near future?" He asked. I told him I had one in the workshop but hadn't started refinishing the cabinet yet. The chassis was electronically redone and sitting on a shelf because it does no good to put the work into a cabinet if the radio itself turns out to be a basket case.

I sent the man a photo of the radio, a Zenith 12S471 which is sometimes referred to as The Aztec.

To some people, including me, the front grille kind of resembles an ornate headdress. He said he and his wife loved it and they'd like to buy it so I said Great! I'd like to sell it.

I got busy stripping, grain filling, sealing and sanding. This is how it looked after all that.

Next step was to apply the medium walnut flavored stain.

I had to wait a few days for nice temperate weather in order to apply toning and clear coat lacquer but the day finally arrived.

I ordered Zenith wave pattern grille cloth from the Netherlands but after waiting for over a month the customer said just pick out a nice generic grille cloth so I used a small diamond pattern. I also added a 1 amp fuse and an aux input jack. My thanks to Colonel Frank Parker for his expertise in explaining to me exactly how to do this. I also had an issue with the pushbuttons- some of them were broken and nobody makes reproductions. Nobody, that is, until I met a young aerospace engineer who works for NASA. He agreed to try to 3D print them. They are fantastic! They work perfectly and the only thing I had to do was paint them an ivory color to match the knobs. I think they match very well, what do you think?

This Aztec is now finished and ready for its new home in the Arizona desert.

Earnal Spurgeon "Spud" Campbell

Earnal Spurgeon "Spud" Campbell died on Monday, April 13, 2020 at Cullman Regional Hospital in Cullman, Alabama. A memorial service will be scheduled at a time when assembly restrictions are relaxed. Spud was born in Eldridge (Walker County), Alabama on December 28, 1921 to Martha Harbison Campbell and George Franklin Campbell. He was the sixth son and tenth of twelve children. He lived in Winston County throughout his early childhood and high school. In his memoir, Waves Astern, Spud said he "was fascinated listening to voices over his battery radio set, voices beckoning to a wider world. The magical technology of radio became a passage to a lifetime of adventure." In 1940 he enrolled in the U.S. Maritime Service Radio School at Gallups Island, near Boston, Massachusetts. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Merchant Marine through World War II, including serving as first radio officer on the Henry Bacon, a Liberty Ship that delivered vital war materiel and life-sustaining supplies from Scotland to Murmansk, Russia. On its fateful return voyage to Scotland, the ship was sunk by a German torpedo bomber, leaving the crew and 19 Norwegian refugees to fight for survival in two small lifeboats above the Arctic Circle. From one of the lifeboats, Spud manned the radio that contacted British destroyer HMS Opportune and led to the rescue of the refugees and 42 of Spud's shipmates; the remaining 28 of his fellow crewmen perished when the ship went down. In 1995, on the 50th anniversary of the end of the war, Spud and the surviving refugees attended a dinner in Hammerfest, Norway where they were honored by King Harald, Queen Sonja and Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. On March 29, 1945, Spud married Obera (Bea) McCullar of Double Springs, Alabama. After the war, the couple lived briefly in San Francisco, then moved to Birmingham, Alabama, and became the parents of Lynda (1946) and Steve (1948). For the rest of his professional life, Spud followed his dream of a career in radio (and television), first in Birmingham at WSGN and Cheaha Mountain at the transmitter site for Alabama's first public television station. His radio and television experience then led to work as a contractor for the Atomic Energy Commission in conducting nuclear weapons testing on Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands (1956-57). His growing portfolio of communications assignments led to work on the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System in Thule, Greenland (1959-60), and then as a consultant for Page Communications. In 1962, Spud began his career with Radio Free Europe, first in Portugal until 1969, and then in Darmstadt, Germany. Ultimately he became RFE's Vice President and Director of Engineering in Munich. He retired from RFE in 1982 and returned with Bea from Europe to Cullman, Alabama. There, they became and remained loyal members of Grace Episcopal Church, became members of Terri Pines Country Club and engaged in numerous civic and community organizations. In 2012, the couple moved to northwest Arkansas, where they lived with their daughter and grandson's family until Bea's death in 2017. In 2018, Spud returned to Cullman, where he lived at Morningside of Cullman until his death. Spud is survived by his daughter Lynda; his son Steve (wife Nan); his grandson Christopher Sparks (wife Samantha) and their daughters Elleanna and Zooey; his brother Julian (wife Marie); his sister Doris Fuller; and many nieces, nephews and cousins in North Alabama and throughout the United States. The family also wishes to thank the staffs of Morningside and Cullman Regional Hospital, and especially his dear friends Clint and Marion Frey who made his life in Cullman a treasured adventure.

Throwback to Previous AHRS Legends of Broadcast Luncheons

Submitted by Steven Westbrook, Tom Killian & Dee Haynes

Since the Society was not able to have the usual spring Legends of Broadcast event this spring, here are a few photographs from previous events.

                               2016 Legends of Broadcast attendees eating lunch

                                                  2016 Legends of Broadcast

                                2016 Legends gather at the Joe Dentici DJ booth

                               2017 Legends of Broadcast attendees eating lunch

                2018 Legends of Broadcast:  Fred Hunter & “Dollar Bill” Lawson

               2018 Legends of Broadcast: Ed Boutwell, Sis Levin and Jerry Levin

         2018 Legends of Broadcast with Tom Killian giving a few words of wisdom

                              Legends from an older Legends of Broadcast event