Updated: Sept. 21, 1999
Correction: July 23, 2005

Atlantic Radio Club
A Vintage Ham Radio Club since 1930.
Our club station since 1931.

A Travel-log of K2TQN's OldRadio Museum

Some of the places the museum visited so far this year (1999).

Right click on the smaller photos to see them full size.

The year officially started with a 600 mile (each way) trip to Charlotte, NC in March. As you can see, it was a very successful meet. Everyone had a great time.


On the way home, I drove straight through to the Trenton, NJ, area and camped in the RV in front to the Delaware Valley Radio Association's hamfest. At 6 a.m. Sunday they opened the gates and I went in. It was a fun day, as I knew many of the hams there. (No photo.)

Next we set up for the Tuckerton Wireless Day at the Tuckerton Historical Society, Saturday June 5th, in Tuckerton, NJ.

This museum is home to numerous artifacts from the original Tuckerton Wireless Station, WSC, whose tower was the second tallest man made structure in the world at the time (820 feet.) It was second tallest only to the Eiffel Tower. Tuckerton Wireless Station was constructed by a German company in 1912, completed in 1914. Its tower originally extended 850 feet above the meadows. It was used by the Navy during World War I. In 1920 it was bought by the Radio Corporation of America. In 1955 it was torn down and sold to a land developer. (It is believed by many that the signal to sink the Lusitania was sent from this station, to the German Submarines.)

Link to WSC Tuckerton Wireless Station web page, with many great historic photos. Click here.

On Friday June 11th, after work, I displayed the museum at the New Jersey Antique Radio Club meeting in Freehold, NJ.  

After the meeting I drove on to Rhode Island and "camped" in the museum overnight (at a truck rest stop.)  Up early Saturday morning, I continued on to East Greenwich, to the Museum of Wireless and Steam's - Radio Tune-up Spring Meet.  

This is a great Museum.  I recommend you visit it some day. Click here for a link to their web page. The New England Wireless and Steam Museum.

I left Rhode Island Saturday afternoon and drove to Brant Rock, MA, where my Daughter lives, and where my wife was already there baby-sitting our new Grandaughter. (Brant Rock is also the location of Fessenden's 1904-1914 wireless station. For more on Fessenden, click here.)

During my three days in Massachusetts, I had visits from several of the local hams who wanted to see all the radios on display. One blind ham was especially thrilled. Before he lost his sight, he built several radios similar to what was on display.

Wednesday June 16th was an interesting $350. -- 6-hour -- lesson in the fun of owning an old vehicle.

On the way to the ARRL Headquarters, from my daughter's home in Massachusetts, I stopped for gas about 1 mile from my Newington destination. It was running great! After paying for the gas, and on my way back to the RV, I noticed a large puddle of green fluid coming from the motor area. A quick check of the heat indicator (it was still OK) -- I continued on.

I set up in the shadow of the ARRL W1AW station, and found the supply of green liquid was abundant and still flowing. Using a large yellow plastic bottle, I captured most of it (1/4 gal.)  It seems that without the motor running, the green liquid stopped. A quick look underneath confirmed my suspicions: water pump!


           The famous "Old Betsy."
Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, W1AW Station Manager was very helpful in finding me a local gas station owner who said he would change the water pump late in the day. This was good; I had about two hours to show the museum.

While inside, I had a few minutes to visit the museum display that is set up at the W1AW station. Hiram P. Maxium's "Old Betsy" spark transmitter was impressive.

While attaching my flatwire antenna to the poles on the museum, I attracted the attention of an ARRL employee crossing the parking lot. He was impressed with the display and said he would announce that I was there. After a few minutes several ARRL editors, department heads and other ham-employees visited me. There were also several ham visitors to ARRL who came out to see the museum as well. About 50 visited the museum altogether.

After he took several photos, QST Editor Rick Lindquist, N1RL, interviewed me. He was interested in the museum and why I built it. After everyone had a chance to go through the museum, I packed up and took off for the gas station about 2 miles away.

    Here are two links to the ARRL Members Page where Rick Lindquist's article and photos
    on the ARRL visit and about the museum is located.  

    Click here if you are an ARRL Member with a password.

    Click here if you are an ARRL Member without a password.

    Then work your way down to "The ARRL WEB EXTRA" and look for the story
    "Mobile Amateur Radio Museum Making the Rounds (June 17, 1999) -- Like
    the traveling circus, John Dilks, K2TQN, has taken his show on the road. Ever since he
    started collecting vintage radio gear back in the 1950s, Dilks, 57, says it's been his desire
    and goal to have a radio museum. His wife "wasn't too keen" on the idea of his setting up
    the museum in their Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, home, however, and his location
    is not exactly the kind of place that would attract enough visitors to make it worth the effort."

I made it to the "S&S Shell" gas station in Newington without overheating the engine. Steve, the station owner, wasn't happy to see the big 1973 RV (it ruined his day.)  But to his credit he honored his promise and did a fantastic job replacing the water pump. Once he started, it took him about 4 hours (the removal of the radiator was a chore.)  After paying, I was on the way home about 7 p.m.

The trip home was uneventful except there was some construction on the Garden State Parkway. So I arrived home tired and broke at 11:30 p.m.

All in all I was lucky. I was lucky I stopped at the ARRL. Had I just headed home, I most likely would have noticed the problem long after the engine overheated - and then I would have been broken-down on the interstate. That would have been much more $tressful.

I never thought collecting Ham Radios would be so much fun!

Now I was tired and the weather held me up a day from going to the MAARC meet near Washington, DC - Baltimore Thursday morning.  So I went to bed early Thursday evening.

I got up Friday morning, at 2 a.m., and drove to Beltsville Maryland.

The MAARC group really knows how to make everyone feel special. Fresh hot coffee and pastries (free) were waiting for all the attendees at 6 a.m. They do this every year! It really hit the spot after the long drive.

They had a real nice location all picked out for the museum too. Right next to the hotel's rear entrance, and adjacent to the fleamarket area. I set up and had many visitors all day. I also bought a couple of nice radios in my spare time.

After attending the evening banquet, I traveled up US-95 to another motel (the MAARC motel had sold out. Next year I promise to reserve e-a-r-l-y !)

Link to the MAARC web page. Click here.

Saturday morning I was up early and back on the road.  This was the last leg of the trip.  I began to notice an exhaust sound that was new.

By the time I got to Valley Forge for the Rooster "3990" picnic, the sound was much louder, like a fire engine.

They had a great location for me, right next to the food!  Most of the Roosters are retired and have been hams for many years. They all enjoyed the museum.

    (The Rooster net meets every day at 7 a.m.
    eastern time on 3990 ssb. It's a lot of fun and
    they are a good bunch. Listen in sometime,
    then join in the fun.)

Before I left the picnic, I looked underneath the RV. The muffler and exhaust pipe had become separated. A few minutes with the wrench and I had it back together again.

I headed home.

On the road again....

July 11, 1999 Kimberton, PA Hamfest

These guys really know how to run a great hamfest. Setting up was a breeze. And the location was great. They placed the museum right next to the food, bathrooms, inside displays and the tailgate areas. I had over 175 visitors during the day.

During one of the few lulls in visitors, Peter came by with his digital camera and offered to take a photo of the museum. Standing next to me is AWA Board member Jim Troe, W2GRX, of Lansdale, Pa.

Our trip to the Aug. 15 Jersey Shore ARS Hamfest at Bayville, NJ.  was a lot of fun.  This was a first-time hamfest for this group.  They really had their act together and it went off without a hitch.  Plenty of food, coffee and great door-prizes.

I saw lots of my friends and met some nice "old-timers."  The stories they tell you are the best!

I'll be back next year.          

Thanks to Jules, KA2FUY, for the photo.

It's August 31st, 4 a.m.  -- Sherry and I were already up for an hour.  -loaded all the last minute items.  -had a quick bowl of cereal and were on our way to Rochester, NY.  We were headed to the "Big One," the Antique Wireless Association meet.

Along the way we stopped for 20-25 gallons of gas every 150 miles.  Pulling those long mountains takes more gas than around here in flat New Jersey.  We had an unexpected nice breakfast on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, at the first rest stop.  (The restaurant area.)  Then motored on into New York state.

New York's roads are either very good or very bad.  Our route had both.  (The roadway with the seams give the radios a good working over.)  But we enjoy the nice scenery in Upstate, so I guess it's worth the bumps.

About 1:30 we rolled right past the Marriot Motel and on to a Rochester shopping center where there is a Dexter Shoe store (my favorite shoe.)  After trying on a few shoes, Sherry and I were ready to, at last, arrive at the meet.

The timing was great.  As I pulled up to the flea market gate, they were just opening.  Since I was already registered and they knew I had the same space as the last four years, they waved me through.  I had some difficulty parking the museum, as they repainted the lines since last year and they were now much closer together.  I just squeezed in with an inch or two to spare.  Lucky my doors were on the right side, or I would have been out of luck.

We gathered our suitcases and headed for the motel.  True to form, the motel didn't have our room ready.  It was 3 p.m. and we were ready.  But we were in good company. There were many standing around, some for hours, waiting for their rooms. Marriott really needs to work on this.

So back to the Museum we went.  At the gate we were stopped by security and asked for our badges.  We stood in line for no more than five minutes, got our badges and went to the museum.  During the next hour and a half we were setting up the displays, putting up the antennas and visiting with friends who stopped by.

Finally we settled in our motel room at 5:30.  Later, several of us motored over to Canandigua and had dinner at our favorite Upstate restaurant: Casa de Pasta.  It was especially good, as it was a long time since the second breakfast on the turnpike.

Morning came too soon.  I overslept and missed the 6 a.m. start by an hour.  It's OK, I told myself, you didn't want to spend too much money this year.  Later I found I missed a beautiful Gross transmitter from the 1930's.

Here it is in the back of Mike Raide's pickup truck.  Other than a few minor modifications, a loose meter panel and a missing top, it was the best find at the meet.  I could have found room in the museum for that!  Oh-well, there's always next year.

After a while, I opened the museum.  I was busy the entire meet with visitors and friends.  

My neighbors were Ludwell Sibley and Al Klase, shown here.  Al on the right, was selling a few boatanchors and demonstrating a powerful crystal set. (It really pulls in the stations.)  Ludwell was promoting his new club: the Tube Collectors Association and he was selling a few copies of his book "Tube-Lore".

You can see my "Flattop" antenna above the museum.  We also had a new 25' TMC vertical antenna, thanks to a friend. (It's the high aluminum antenna at the rear.)  It worked well.

Thursday morning I was up and out in the flea market early - my flashlight in hand.  I was hoping to find another Gross.  No Gross, but I did get first crack at some very nice old books that arrived fresh that morning.  One book, a 1914 book by Morgen, was the best of the lot.  It details building a spark transmitter and crystal receiver from raw materials.  I love it!

Thursday morning at 10:30 I attended "the Amateur Radio Station that Time Forgot," by Lou Leonard, WA2UIJ.  It was about the discovery of an early ham station dating from the very early 1900's.  It was turned off on December 7, 1941.  There it remained untouched until discovered by Lou in 1997.  He took hundreds of slide photographs and recorded everything possible about the station.  The talk was especially interesting to me, as I had one of the transmitters from there in my museum.  [Shown at the right.]  

I made a video of the talk.  So I will be able to show it when I visit ham clubs along with my museum.  To see where I'll be, click on the transmitter for a web page with my show and club schedule.  I hope to see you there.

The AWA Equipment contest was exciting.  For another perspective, please click here to see and read Ron Lawrence's adventure to, at and from the meet.  He's from North Carolina.  There are some nice photos there too.

Friday at noon, we pulled out to return home.  It seemed like the ride home took twice as long.  We finally rolled in and parked at 9:30 p.m., hot and tied.  We showered and went to bed.

September 18 found us in Marshfield Mass.  Sherry and I traveled up yesterday, the day after "Floyd" the hurricane went through.  It was one windy ride!

Marshfield is home to the Marshfield Fair Grounds and the first Genesis Hamfest.  It is also the home of our Daughter, Son-in-law and our 4 month-old Granddaughter.  It was easy to get Sherry to accompany me on this trip.

The hamfest suffered from the hurricane Attendance was low for this first time hamfest.  But I think this will become one of the largest New England Hamfests because this club really tried hard.  There was a VEC Testing Session, there were Door Prizes and lots of friendly club members to help out.

And the location is great!  The Marshfield Fair Grounds provide inside seller spaces, electricity, large rest rooms and parking right next to the tailgating spots.  You don't have to lug those big Boatanchors too far, to get back to your car.  Watch for this hamfest next year.

Almost everybody that attended the hamfest spent some time in the museum.  I was busy answering questions all morning.  Everyone who attended had a great time.

On Sunday, September 19th I drove over to the location of Fessenden's Brant Rock Station.  It's just 1/4 mile from my daughter's home.  I try to visit it on each trip.  This is where the first voice transmission was made; on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1906.

From John Hogan's 1922 Book, The Outline of Radio, "It is well known, however, that in 1906 Fessenden gave numerous practical demonstrations of radiotelephony between his experimental stations at Brant Pock and Plymouth, Massachusetts, and that in 1907 he increased his range from this distance of about twelve miles to such an extent that Brant Rock was able to communicate with New York, nearly two hundred miles away, and Washington, about five hundred miles."

For more on the Brant Rock Station, Fessenden and Radio History, click here.

Returning home on Monday, we added 830 more miles to the museum's odometer.