Updated 6-20-2007

July 2007 Column



Bruce Kelley, W2ICE, and the Antique Wireless Association

Bruce Kelley, W2ICE, admiring the Spark transmitter built about 1920 by George Batterson, W2GB.

Kelley's Carriage Barn, early home of the AWA Museum. From the beginning AWA members volunteered their time to build museum displays.

  Bruce Kelley, W2ICE, and the Antique Wireless Association

This story starts in January 1951, with a letter Bruce Kelley wrote to his friend Ed Raser, W2ZI. In it he is telling Ed about a recent meeting of the Rochester Amateur Radio Association where almost 100 turned out at a meeting about early wireless radio. He said, “The overwhelming success of the meeting demands another one this fall.” He also asked when Ed was planning his next “Old Timers Nite,” in New Jersey, as he would like to attend.

I reviewed over 100 letters by Bruce Kelley, written between 1951 and the 1970s in preparation for this story. It is very clear to me that Bruce Kelley was an exceptional man, dedicated to his beloved hobby of ham radio, the ARRL and to his friends. His enthusiasm was infections and he was able to recruit friends and strangers alike to work with him. He was a tireless worker and planner, always gathering information and sharing the same with anyone who would listen. If he heard about someone, another old timer or collector who had radios, he would contact them. If he heard about some old radios forgotten in storage, he would try to get them. If he learned about a long forgotten radio station from the past, he would visit it and take photos to preserve the history. He would make historic slide shows with a tape recorded program, then share them with just about any club that wanted to borrow them. He contacted the ARRL and had them distribute (loan) the slide shows to even more clubs, and they would also be shown at hamfests and conventions. Many times Bruce would accompany the slide shows and bring along some of his collection for show and demonstrations.

Visit the AWA Web Page   Visit the AWA Museum Web Page    Visit the AWA Museum, page by K2TQN

This Year's AWA Conference is on August 22, 23, 24, 25

The theme of this year's (46th annual) conference will be "100 Years of Electronic Communications," with 2007 being the 100th Anniversary of the patent of the Deforest Audion. The dates for the conference are as follows, August 22, 23, 24, and 25, 2007. Early registration will be on Wednesday evening and the Flea market will open Thursday morning. The many seminars will be on Thursday and Friday. The Auction will be all day Saturday, with well-known radio Auctioneer Richard Estes at the gavel.

So why not plan something different this summer and take a few days off from work and attend. You will be rewarded by having a great time meeting and speaking with collectors like yourselves. You'll have the opportunity to pick up some new treasurers in the flea market or at the auction. You will be able to find those much needed parts to complete your restoration project from the many vendors attending. You will make new friends.

Bring your best restoration, home brew radio or rare radio item and enter it into the contest. I hope to see you there. I'm bringing a 1930 homebrew transmitter for the contest.

This year the AWA will waive the member's only rule, inviting you to attend without being a member. Of course you are invited to join if you wish and if you do, you will receive the The AWA Journal loaded with history and old equipment information four times a year. As collectors we all owe a lot to the AWA for building this hobby we all enjoy so much.

There are many motels and restaurants in the area, so finding a room should be fairly easy. Visit the AWA Web Page www.antiquewireless.org/otb/2007conf.htm for the Conference Program and motel information.

Documents of interest.
Bruce Kelley's October 9, 1952 'Old Timer's Nite' Program - Click Here

Movie of interest - (YouTube 4:06 thanks to Niel Wiegand, W0VLZ)
Bruce Kelly takes you on a tour of the AWA Museum - Spark Transmitters


John Dilks, K2TQN    125 Warf Road, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234-8501   e-mail: K2TQN@arrl.net