Winter 2008 Issue
Lost Letters of KH6UK
In part 1 of this series WA2VVA discussed how he came across the lost letters of Tommy Thomas, KH6UK, along with Tommy’s tropo QSO with W6NLZ. In part 2 he discussed Tommy’s pioneering VHF EME activities. Here WA2VVA presents the effect that the Klystron had on Tommy’s EME activities.
By Mark Morrison, WA2VVA
Photo A. The Eimac KW Klystron delivered to W2CXY in 1960.
After three months of vacation, Tommy Thompson, KH6UK, and Helyne were back in Kahuku by February of 1960. Tommy’s first job was to prepare for 432 Mc tropo tests with John and the other West Coast hams. In prior years, Tommy would have already been prepared for the next inversion season, but his long-deserved vacation took priority. Tommy had this to say:
The 4 long johns are sitting in the yard waiting for phasing lines and matching xfrmrs. Shouldn’t take long once I get the bridge. The 432 gang is all set up and we should be ready to start tests with NLZ in a week or two now.
It was about this time when Walt Morrison,
W2CXY, was well on his way to building the first 1296 Klystron
moonbounce station in the state of New Jersey, and one of only three
anywhere in the world (the other two being W6HB in California and W1FZJ
in Massachusetts). In January of 1960, Eimac shipped Walt the 3K2500LX
Klystron shown in photos A and B. This historic tube and original
shipping crate are now part of the Infoage Technology Museum in Wall,
The reason I mentioned 1296 Mc to Carl (W2AZL) was that I know just what will happen when and if John and I are lucky enough to get across on 432 Mc—that guy NLZ won’t let one rest until we try it on 1296 too!
Apparently, Tommy was doing more than
thinking about the band, because he later wrote that a dish was coming
his way. It might be possible that Tommy’s visit to Washington, DC the
year before had opened the door to some surplus dishes. Walt received
the 15-foot dish shown in photo C from the US Air Force, and it is
believed to have been manufactured by the General Bronze Corporation of
Long Island, New York. Tommy’s dish was probably surplus equipment from
somewhere on the island. Considering this was only 1960, both dishes
probably had seen radar or early satellite tracking duty.
Although Tommy showed an interest in 1296, he wasn’t thinking moonbounce at this time. Rather, he was more interested in 1296 for continued trans-pacific work with John Chambers, W6NLZ.
Apparently the boys back there are serious
about doing the m/b [moonbounce] job on 1296. More power to them. They
will need it. I think it is going to take some doing even on 144 Mc.
Maybe the extra antenna gain on 1296 will do the trick; time will tell.
I see you are now talking 42 foot Yagis with
21/2 inch and 2 inch phase shift. Boy, that is going to be a big hunk of
stuff to get up in the air—and keep up! Think I would settle for four 36
footers. As I recall Ross [Bateman] had to go to stacked rhombics before
he got any results worthwhile. I agree entirely with Ross—every step has
to be checked and double checked to make sure you are actually getting
the gain, etc., you are suppose to. The tape of Ross’s moonbounce signal
was very interesting and should be able to be duplicated by a couple of
serious guys. I wonder just how much gain was picked up by ground
reflection. Evidently some as Ross claimed signal was best with ant
aimed about 2° above the horizon. Has anyone heard their own echo
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