W9VNE Jim Danehy Shares Golden Memories of W9IOP Larry LeKashman
W9IOP on the cover of February 1953 CQ Magazine
W9IOP's Collins 75A2 on the cover of October 1948 CQ Magazine
W9IOP, W2JDR sharing a moment
I enjoy the memories from Ham Radio. One of my Elmer's, W9WCE (whisky cures everything) was a great help to me as a kid. So were W9VW and W9IOP. All of those folks really influenced me in more than just how to operate a radio. Real life lessons.
When I was a Novice (WN9VNE) in October 1952 I started a 59 year career as a CW operator. I noticed that there was a nice 20 meter antenna about a mile from my parent's home. One day I knocked on the door where the antenna was located. I introduced myself as WN9VNE (age 14) to Larry, W9IOP then about 32 years old. I had no idea that he had been an editor of CQ Magazine or that he was the Vice President of Electro Voice Corporation. He took me on a tour of his shack located in the basement. He told me he had to attend to some things and if I wanted I could make some QSOs. He showed me how the Gold Plated Exciter worked. I told him that I was a Novice and that I should not operate a rig with a VFO or more than 75 watts. He said just use W9IOP and it will be OK. I did.
Our meeting that day in April 1953 started a long relationship that lasted until Larry's death in 1978. He had me cut his grass and rake the leaves. He over paid me so I could buy some ham gear. We would stop on many Sundays for lunch with W9VW another one of my Elmer's.
When I sat down at W9IOP in April 1953 at age 14 this is what I saw. A home brewed Eimac 4-65a with a Collins VFO. It put out 250 watts. It drove a pair of 4-400s. The output of the amp only God knows for sure. I would guess it was probably close to 3 KW. A nice 3 element monobander for 20 completed the station. That is a Collins 75A2 in the photo.
Larry W9IOP let loose a 14 yeard old Novice licensee, WN9VNE to run a pileup of Europeans on 20 CW. That was the start of a love for DXing that has endured for 58 years. Larry was the VP of Marketing for Electro - Voice at the time. He eventually won several of the ARRL Sweepstakes from Northern Indiana. No computers in those days either. SS was a two weekend affair. Not many keyers on the air either. Mostly bugs, paper logs and NO transceivers. Spotting switch can be seen on the exciter. It is a lever that was pushed up to spot and down to transmit. A very slick set up fo those days.
I have enjoyed ham radio for 59 years. It has helped in my personal development. How to compete. How to get along with others in a competitive environment. How to push yourself and achieve more than the last time you tried it. How to walk up to strangers and communicate (the art of rag chewing). I was not the teen aged athlete. I loved radio though. Contests and DXing challenges did a lot for self esteem. My XYL calls me an over achiever. I just think of life like a contest. Can I do better ?
I sincerely hope other hams have received the same benefit from their ham careers. I am forever grateful to ham radio for more than the on the air benefits. What a wonderful find for a teenager.
Memories, QSL, CQ Magazine
photos courtesy of W9VNE
W9IOP, W2JDR Photo from Don Chesser DX Bulletin #58, Jan. 13, 1959
Special thanks to K8MFO