Posts Tagged ‘amateur radio’

Iowa radio hams spread Lincoln Highway info

July 1, 2009

IA_Bev mic

Van Becker sent news that two Iowa locations celebrated “96 Years on the Lincoln Highway” on June 13-14 with two amateur radio stations operating for two days from two historic one-stop locations. Above is Bev Becker, WØWDC, LHA life member and experienced amateur radio operator taking her first turn at the mic; following is Van’s report.

The Benton County Amateur Radio Club, KØKBX, put the restored Youngville Cafe on the air operating with three transmitters on the 20, 40 and 80 meter ham bands. This is the second year for this crew and practice sure helped the results! We had 12 operators rotating through one-hour stints at the microphone.

IA_Youngville Station

IA_Youngville MkrABOVE: Youngville Cafe, 20 miles west of Cedar Rapids, Iowa on the Lincoln Highway. Inside, an original 1928 LH marker is on display.

The Ames Amateur Radio Club, WØYL, operated from Reed-Nyland Corner in Colo, Iowa. This group experienced a slow start while installing temporary antennas in the rain. This was the first year for this group and they had respectable results and lots of fun. They also had the comfort of a fully-operating cafe for refreshments.

IA_Reed-Nyland StationABOVE: Reed-Nyland gas station, Colo, Iowa, on the Lincoln Highway.

Together, we contacted over 1,000 different stations from coast to coast, quite a few Canadian stations, and even one fellow in Scotland!

The operators had a sheet of “talking points” and LH facts to help enlighten the over-the-air listeners. All the stations contacted will receive an impressive color confirmation certificate upon receipt of their QSL (confirmation) card. Each certificate will be accompanied by a Lincoln Highway Association brochure too.

We spread the Lincoln Highway word far and wide!

Lincoln Hwy author reads for WWII Radio Heroes

December 11, 2008

The author is me, and my part is probably less than a minute long, but if that justifies a Lincoln Highway connection to mention this book, that’s OK. World War II Radio Heroes is the fascinating story of dozens of 60-year-old letters discovered by author Lisa Spahr. They were sent to her family by total strangers to inform her great-grandmother that her son had been captured and was being held as a POW. How did they know?

Lisa explains:

Short-wave radio had held all of the answers. POWs were allowed to state their names and hometowns on the radio, and sometimes relay a short message to their families. Scores of Americans, listening to the German propaganda from so far away, heard my grandfather’s information, and took it upon themselves to write to my great-grandmother. All of these dear people wanted to give my great-grandmother a measure of comfort to know her son was alive.

Lisa’s tale of trying to track down the letter writers is part of the journey, and after I began talking to her about it, she asked if I would read one of the letters for the audio version. We also thought my son Andrew would be perfect to read for Flavius Jankauskas, who is seen on the cover with his Howard 430 radio. He was 16 when he sent Lisa’s family a note and is one of those Lisa was able to locate.

A couple interesting notes: that’s Lisa’s grandparents also pictured on the cover — her grandfather did return safely. And although you might think that cell phones, e-mail, and texting would put a damper on ham radio, there are more than 600,000 operators in the U.S., up from just 51,000 at the dawn of WWII.

The audio book is professionally produced with 3 CDs and bonus tracks. The text is read by Lisa along with 30-some letter readers. The book is available on Amazon or from the author’s site for $15.95 or instantly downloadable as PDF for $19.95. The audio book in a limited run of 400 is $29.95 or can be paired with the book for $40.

Lincoln Hwy radio coming to Iowa, June 14-15

April 18, 2008

Youngville Cafe along the Lincoln Highway in Iowa is teaming with the Benton County Amateur Radio Club, KØKBX, ( to put an amateur radio station on the air for 2 days to celebrate “95 Years on the Lincoln Highway. The dates, June 14-15, will coincide with the 16th annual Lincoln Highway Association National Conference in Evanston, Wyoming.

Above: Youngville Station, a beautiful restoration effort on the Lincoln Highway west of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Photo courtesy of G. Januska.

Amateur operators will be at Youngville that weekend, and special certificates will be available for amateurs throughout the country who contact the Special Event station. Times, short wave frequencies, and more information are available from the American Radio Relay League website (then click on “operating events”) or from Dave Lucas, 4264 Hwy 13, Central City, IA 52214, (319) 438-1763. This event is sanctioned and supported by the ARRL and the Iowa LHA.

Thanks to Van & Bev Becker (and Russell Rein) for the info.