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Butler "Bob" Beattie (W9OIB)
25 OCT 03
Bob Beattie taught electronics for many years at Chicago Vocational High School. In that time he trained literally HUNDREDS of his students in code an theory, and administered the Novice license exam to them. He further served as the trustee of the CVS club station, W9LBB. A great MANY electronics techs today (including me) owe Bob a great deal. I celebrate Bob's life, and say a final, fond 73 to my old friend. I further wish comfort to his wife Ruth (K9LOL), and to his family.
Tom Adams, W9LBB (Ex K9TA)
Contributed by: THOMAS ADAMS (W9LBB)
Bob was always helpful to local hams in the area around Joliet-New Lenox. Knew him for many years when we lived in Minooka and Channahon. Later, when we had moved down to the Mexican border we ran into him and his elderly buddies on the top of 40m SSB. They were there every morning about sunrise, operating on upper sideband so they wouldn't bother a net a little lower. It was always fun to reminisce with Bob. I think he was there until he had to leave New Lenox and move to San Antonio. He was a great "old fashioned" ham, in the best sense of the words.
Contributed by: Barry A. Boothe (W9UCW)
Contributed by: THOMAS ADAMS (W9LBB)
Wow! Sorry to hear about Mr. Beattie's passing. I, too, benefitted from his training while I was at CVS in 1961. And I remember the DX-100 and SX-28. Fed into a long wire, I'd get an RF burn from the bug while trying a CQ on 40 meters! Funny thing, I ran into a guy at the Zero DXCC meeting in Minneapolis two weeks ago who also went to CVS and remembered Bob. 73 Old Friend.
Dennis Sokol, W0JX (ex K9QNC), Milan, OH
Contributed by: Dennis A. Sokol (W0JX)
I guess I would first like to thank Mr. Adams for alerting me to the passing of Mr. Beattie. I was first licensed by him in 1964 as WN9NVN and I think later that year my friend Ralph WA9NVU and I received our general class license. Mr. Beattie was a great influence in my life and I was greatly saddened to hear of his death. I can remember when we were in high school we took a field trip to his QTH in New Lenox, IL. I can remember meeting his wife Ruth and the great fun we had in his shack. I remember his rig being a HT37 and SX100, SB200 linear. Although somewhat of a modest installation it was a lot of fun to operate for us. About ten years ago I picked up a Hallicrafters SX100 MKII in pristine condition and I keep it as a remembrance of the SX100 at our high school and Mr. Beattie's receiver. The lessons he taught us in electronics I carried with me throughout my life. 73 Mr. B you are the best. Michael Matich W9NVN - Brentwood, California
Contributed by: MICHAEL MATICH III (W9NVN)
Wow, I just found this webpage with memories about Dad. Tom, thanks so much for starting this page! Everyone, thanks so much for posting! I printed in for my mom (Ruth, K9LOL) and she was very touched so you did provide some comfort. By the way, I am his youngest daughter, Irene. (I was probably the little kid running around when some of you visited the house.)
Thought I would add a bit of info of my own. I will also separately post Dad's "Early Radio Day's" story that he wrote for presentation at the Austin Repeater Organization a couple of years ago.
Dad (Bob ) always spoke fondly of his time at CVS. He later taught electrical apprentices at Washburne Trade School, but he didn't get to know them like his CVS students. When he retired he did sponsor a ham club at the local high school (Lincoln Way, New Lenox, IL) for a while. He also helped license several blind hams. We he and Mom traveled by trailer around the US his main camping criteria was "room to put of the inverted vee dipole". Ed (my husband, N5KZW), and I contacted him all over the US during his travels, and later when we travels we would take our mobile HF gear, and Dad would check in every couple of hours, traveling with us.
The main thing about Dad is no matter what he kept his enthusiasm and his sense of humor. Near the end his vision was going due to cateracts & Parkinson's and he couldn't speak clearly because of the Parkinson's so he returned to CW sometimes. At the assisted living place where he lived, he took a code key & oscillator on his walker and would talk to the other retired ham there, and the retired military signalman. They had fun but I am not sure if ALL the widows there appreciated his "noise". His mind stayed very sharp and he even picked up his email the day before he died. As my husband says, he died peacefully in his sleep during his afternoon nap, with his HF & 2 Meter radio at his side. He was 92 1/2.
Sorry if I rambled on too long. 73's
de KA5DYF, Irene at Leander (near Austin) TX
Contributed by: Irene Beattie (KA5DYF)
For Barry Boothe and others who enjoyed talking with Bob about the Early Radio Days.
Early Radio Days
by W9OIB, Bob Beattie
I got started in ham radio in 1933, during the Great Depression. After I came home from college, I was not able to find work. My elder brother, John, came home one day and told me that a friend of his was building a short wave receiver with which he hoped to hear Europe. I thought I would like to do that. The only catch was, that I would have to learn Morse code. I found an old buzzer, a door pushbutton and an old electric train transformer and started to practice the code myself. My younger brother, Frank, a first year high school student, asked if he could practice with me. When my brother John friend saw what we were doing, he gave me a copy of Short Wave Craft and a B battery. With that and with parts of the 1920-30 years of early home made radios, given to me by friends, I built my first regenerative receiver. The first European station I heard was DNB. (The German short wave broadcast station.) They were giving the election results between Adolph Hitler and Von Hindenberg for the President of Germany.
At the time I did not know how to go about getting a ham ticket. My father told me that his boss's son was a ham. I went over to his home and saw his radio station (W9IPK). He told me I would have to be able to copy 10 WPM Morse code, and pass an essay test that would take about an hour. The test would be given at the Federal Radio Communications building in downtown Chicago and I would have to have the license notarized for a cost of 25 cents. At the time, Frank, my younger brother, was already able to copy about 10 WPM; I was not. We both went downtown to the FRC in Chicago and took the code test. I failed it, but Frank passed. He eventually became a major in the Army Air Corps, because of his ability to copy code. He took the theory and passed it too. In about a month he became W9MLA. Because of the FRC rules, I had to wait for 3 months before taking the test again. Then I became W9OIB. When Frank's license came in the mail, he went on the air on CW on the 80 meter band. When he made his first contact, the ham told him he was out of the band. We then readjusted the transmitter.
I soon found out that I could use radio phone, so long as Frank was there to turn on and off the transmitter while I was using the radio. I found out I could go on radio phone by using loop modulation. Loop modulation was to put a standard telephone mike, connected to a loop around the tank coil, and talk. There was a ham I talked to who would send high speed code. I tried to send code back to him and he could not copy. I soon found out that he was a bootlegger. I had one call sign, but he had to change his from time to time. In three months I passed my test and became W9OIB, but I never used my call sign, because we continued to use Frank's, and nobody ever knew the difference. When Frank moved away, I then used W9OIB.
One receiver we used was a 3 tube regenerative circuit using three 201A tubes, powered with batteries. The transmitter was a one tube transmitter. It used the Hartley circuit, using a 245 tube and a 250 Volt power supply. The 250 Volt power supply had a 280 tube as a rectifier. The antenna was an 80 meter zepplin. A zepplin was an antenna invented by Germans to use during WWI on the zepplins. It was a half wave antenna fed by a 600 Ohm feed. The transmitter output power was about 15 Watts peak inverse voltage. DX was a few local states. Most of our QSOs were a few hams around the south of Chicago.
The only phone bands we could operate on were 160 and 10 meters unless we had an extra phone license. We soon found out that the TRF receivers (TRF stood for Tuned RF, and it was one of standard broadcast receivers at the time) could copy the 160 meter band and we had an audience. We were able to use phonograph records for test purposes, so we had a lot of fun. My brother Frank was 14 years old and was beginning to like the girls and he had a nice radio voice so he found out ham radio had other advantages that he did not expect to get. There were also some risks. One day he began describing to another ham over the air two girls that were very nice, but not too good looking. I reminded him about the nature of the radio wave, and he did some fast talking now describing the girls as beautiful.
As technology and our operating practices improved, this type of thing did not happen as often. However about 40 years later I met an old high school friend name Roy, when we moved from Chicago to New Lenox. Roy happened to be a ham, W9VYB. He and his family lived across from the Methodist Church, where his wife, Laura, was a member. Roy was not much a churchgoer, but his XYL, Laura was. On Sunday mornings he would go on the air while Laura was attending service. One Sunday he was in QSO with a ham on 10 meters, when the fellow he was talking with asked him why he was not in church. Roy replied that he did not like "that windbags sermons." Apparently the new electronic organ made a good 10 meter receiver, but poor Roy caused a little QRM to the preacher. About a month later Laura began speaking to Roy again.
In 1934, one band that we operated mobile was the 5 meter band. While I was attending a second year physics class I saw a demonstration of the Lecher wire experiment for measuring the length of the radio wave. I built a 5 meter transmitter from a diagram out of the handbook, with junk parts. I used the 201A tube with excessive filament voltage to make it oscillate. It lasted about 20 minutes, but I had plenty of spares. (I had a bushel basket full of 201As, given to me by a friend.) I stretched two wires side by side five meters long and coupled my transmitter to one end. I then used a 14 volt Christmas tree bulb that would light up at the crests and nodes of the wave. I changed the frequency of the transmitter until the distance measured 2 ½ meters. I knew I was in the band. I connected my 5 meter transmitter to the modulator on the low band equipment and went on the air. My first contact on 5 meters was Si Reed, W9AA, the first licensed ham in the in the 9 district. He came back and asked me how did I find 5 meters. When I told him, he said that he worked for NBC and he had used their wave meter. I was using a home brew 5 meter super regenerative receiver for my receiver. I was fortunate to have six people in my family so I had plenty of coil forms, (Toilet paper rolls made good coil forms.) As we had two call signs in the family, we had our own net like the one Ed and Irene have now.
Just after the war (WWII), there was plenty of surplus equipment, so I got a command set and modified it for 160 meters using a dynomoter for a power supply. I tuned my car receiver to copy 160 meters. I used a center loaded whip for an antenna and I was on 160 meter mobile. I was teaching at the Chicago Vocational School (electronics shop, of course), and the school was over 30 miles from where we lived in New Lenox, Illinois. I would call my XYL about every 10 minutes to tell her where I was. When I got within one mile of home I would ask her to open the garage door for me. She was the best garage door opener I ever had because the new ones do not smile at you when you press the opener. My mother, who was living in a trailer at the side of our home, said to me one day, "Son, I do not understand how that door opens about a minute before you get home." This was before automatic garage door openers.
I was also interested in television. Just after WWII, used RADAR sets appeared on the surplus market. About 1946, QST had a diagram of a home brew television set. I bought a twenty dollar RADAR set. I think it was the one that should have been paid attention to, by the officer at Pearl Harbor. It had an acorn tube in the front end, and standard IF tubes for the IF stages. I had a home brew cathode ray oscilloscope in my low band transmitter that I had built before the war. I modified the front end to copy WBKB TV Chicago on channel 4. I wired the sweep circuits in, and for a day we got a negative picture. I was working as an electrical testing engineer at the time at US Steel, and all the engineers were extremely interested in my home brew TV. The chief engineer saw what I had done wrong and said to reverse the polarity of the second detector. I then saw my first television picture. The CRT screen was 3 inches in diameter and was green, so we didn't have black and white, we had green and white TV. It was installed in a 6 foot Western Electric Relay rack. I used a delta match antenna for a receiving antenna from instructions given to me by the chief engineer of WBKB. He was very interested in my radio conversion to a TV set. The Fair Store in Chicago, sent us a membership certificate in the TV Pioneer's Club. We were number 16.
WBKB TV was only on the air 10 hours per week and for a sports game on Saturday if one was available. Mostly they showed wrestling matches, and my brother-in-law, Dave, would walk three miles each way just to see the matches. Both my wife and Dave got very excited during the matches. My daughter, Cathy, used to watch Kulka, Fran and Ollie, a children's puppet show. They sang Happy Birthday to her for her fifth birthday.
Contributed by: Irene Beattie (KA5DYF)
I had Mr.Beattie in electric shop my 2cnd year. He was a great teacher & had fun doing it. I got my ticket in 1951 & opearated the school station many times when the console was on the second floor & Mr. Stanton was the trustee then. We were building a new console & transmitters when I graduated. Also remember the station set up in Stantons' tool room. (bc 342 & B 458. I am glad to see that W9LBB is still on the air thanks to Tom.
Dennis Widdows - W9vhn class of 55
Contributed by: Dennis Widdows (W9VHN)
I am one of the blind hams Bob helped to get licensed in 1978.
I will never forget him bonking me on the top of the head to help me concentrate on copying the code. It worked as I was able to go on and get my extra a few years later.
He helped me get my first station back then, it was a old jonson ranger and this huge all band hammerland receiver.
He showed me how to set up my first all band set of dipoles wich i used for many years.
just today i set up a 75 meter dipole just as he taught me.
I guess thats why i remembered him and i did a google search to see where he was.
i used to talk to him and his friends on 40 meters in the morning when i had a vertical.
then my rig got hit by lightning and i was off the air for a couple years.
He told me because of me getting my extra it forced him to upgrade from advanced to extra.
He said "if blind jim could do it so can I".
Bob will be always remembered fondly.
73's my good friend
jim WD9HKQ then now AB0HM
north east minnesota
Contributed by: jim samanich (AB0HM)
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