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And we say…
I began listening to shortwave in 1952 using a vintage 1943 Hallicrafters S-38. In the morning Radio Australia would boom in on 9580 kc and several other frequencies in the 25, 31 and 41 meter bands. Otherwise, European and African broadcasters targeted North America prime time. Radio Moscow was found everywhere on 30 to 50 frequencies from late afternoon through to late night.
We had a 6 meter Gonset Communicator II with its matching 100w amplifier connected to a 4-element Telrex beam. Though I was not licensed, as an SWL I participated in the ARRL International Geophysical Year (IGY) Propagation Research Project (PRP) headed by Mason P Southworth. The solar maximum taught me VHF propagation: days when EI2W and CT1CO started the morning off, and the F2 propagation would swing through Africa with VQ2PL making an appearance and by late afternoon KH6 and KL7 stations were dominant. The simultaneous double-hop E and F2 reception, signals reflecting off the aurora, doughnut hole, bent path and tropo made for interesting reception. The monthly PRP newsletters were an educational treasure trove. And I saw the most amazing aurora display ever, on February 10, 1958, so bright one could read a newspaper and drive without headlights; some 60 years later I learned that the aurora was seen in downtown Havana even though street lights were on.
I joined the Newark News Radio Club in the mid-1950s (a member until its demise in April 1982 ), and learned medium wave propagation chasing stations in countries across the globe. I logged more than 1,400 stations in ~95 countries and ~47 states spread from Syria west to the Gilbert & Ellice Islands and south to Argentina. This aspect of the listening hobby lasted for 30 years.
In 1961, an extra-curricular university activity, at its carrier current radio station, required me to have an FCC Class D CB license—2Q3671—and (upon renewal) KOG2427. An EICO radio installed in my 1953 Ford kept me company on the 21-hour mostly overnight drives to and from St. Louis via US40.
Understanding radio propagation from longwave to VHF and UHF stood me in good stead upon getting my amateur radio license.
I finally got around to getting a Novice license in the summer of 1975. Licensed as WN2AYA, then WB2AYA in 1976, and passing the Amateur Extra in January 1977 enabled me to select a 1x2 call—W2XQ—in the last round of those persons eligible to do so. (The X suffixes were released from the experimental license service to the amateur radio service in March 1977.)
The history of the call is documented as granted in late 1919 to Union College in Schenectady, New York. A photo and story of the station was published in the July 1921 issue of Wireless Age; see page 31, continued on page 33. 2XQ ran trans-Atlantic tests in December 1922. 9ASW reports hearing 2XQ in 1924, reported in the June 1924 issue of The Radio Wireless ; see page 92. The Department of Commerce (predecessor to the FCC) lists 2XQ in its 1927 listing. W2XQ was the call sign assigned to the Elizabeth (NJ) Police Department radio per a 1936 callbook.
From 1968 Amateur Extra Class licensees, licensed for 25 or more years, could apply for a sequentially-issued 1x2 call. In 1976, Extra Class licensees could request a 1x2 call of their choosing; printed lists of available calls were distributed by mail. The program was phased out in four stages. The second and third stages of the program allowed those with progressively shorter time holding the Extra Class license to apply. The fourth stage was open to all Extra Class licensees. The one-year four-stage program ended in July 1977.
No tower, beam or amplifier was used in the chase…