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Reviews Categories | Books/Manuals/Videos/Pod-WebCasts on ham radio | Don C. Wallace: W6AM, Amateur Radio\'s Pioneer Help

Reviews Summary for Don C. Wallace: W6AM, Amateur Radio\'s Pioneer
Don C. Wallace: W6AM, Amateur Radio\'s Pioneer Reviews: 3 Average rating: 5.0/5 MSRP: $29.95
Description: Written by Jan David Perkins, N6AW. This book traces the life of Don Wallace,
W6AM, and the early history of Amateur Radio. Don's experience with wireless
in 1909 preceded government regulations or any form of licensing. Naval
stations, commercial stations, ships at sea, and the first wireless
experimenters all shared the same wavelengths.
Product is in production.
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W6LBV Rating: 5/5 Aug 21, 2008 11:34 Send this review to a friend
"6 a.m in the morning"  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
Ordinarily I wouldn't be particularly interested in reading a biography of an individual Amateur operator – most just aren’t that noteworthy– but this book is different for two reasons.

First, the book was given to me by a friend who had obtained it from its original purchaser, a person (now deceased) of some note in the local electronics field. Second, it chronicles the life of Don Wallace, a singular Amateur licensee!

For those interested in radio and electronics, and especially the history of these fields, this is a significant book. It documents the life of Mr. Wallace, a man of continuing high achievements throughout his lifetime. But more importantly, it presents his personal and continuous involvement with the fields of radio and electronics over an extraordinarily long period of time, from his first crystal set receiver in 1909 until his last QSO, just a few hours before his death in 1985.

And Wallace did participate in everything: commercial telegraphy, the beginnings of radio broadcasting, the start of military wireless communications, significant experimentation in HF antenna design and development, radio transmitting and receiving electronics, Amateur DXing on the grandest scale ever devised, early VHF/UHF development, and the development of commercial radio products. In the early days, it was possible to know and to do it all, and Wallace did everything with an intensity unmatched by few others!

This book is an excellent resource into the beginnings of both Amateur and commercial radio and the technologies that underlay them. It will show for today's ham how very, very different Amateur radio was at its origins from what we know and do today, in every area: technology, licensing, and operations.

And, of course, there is the description and pictures of the shack and the antenna farm (now long-gone) “on the hill” in the Palos Verdes Peninsula section of Los Angeles/Long Beach. Of that probably un-duplicatable ham-shack-in-the-sky the author, N6AW, wrote that when he awakened in the morning and heard Wallace beginning to work rare DX from atop the hill, the author knew that he had about twenty more minutes in which to catch some breakfast, before he could even hope to hear the same DX at his location on the ground!

While the description and QSL card photographs of "when I worked [the rare DX]" got a bit "draggy," for the most part the material in the book provided a high degree of interest and an excellent read. And....after finishing the book, you too will understand the "6 a.m. in the morning" reference!
VE2EQL Rating: 5/5 Aug 20, 2008 17:47 Send this review to a friend
Must have Book  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Cover to Cover, It is a great read, and provides a lot of Amateur Radio History. If filled in the blanks on what I knew to be a legend in the world of Amateur Radio operators.
WA6L Rating: 5/5 Aug 20, 2008 12:50 Send this review to a friend
What a great read!  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Our local DX club was selling this book as a fund raising effort. I purchased one to help support the club, and didn't really know what to expect. What I found was a well written and intensely interesting book.

Don Wallace, W6AM was an icon of the radio world from 1909 until his death in 1985. He operated spark-gap rigs before there were any licensing authorities. He was a commercial telegrapher. He was the chief radio operator on President Wilson's yacht. And he earned every honor and award that was possible for an Amateur Radio Operator to have.

Don Wallace also built what is arguably the greatest Amateur Radio station in history - period. He had an incredible rhombic farm encompassing 125 acres, with separate legal-limit amplifiers for each band. His signal was dominant in every spot on the planet, in every pileup, and in every contest.

When you read towards the end of the book that Don held the #1 spot on the DXCC honor roll, it comes as absolutely no surprise. You would be shocked if it was anyone else.

But as fascinating as the life of Don Wallace was, this book is so much more than a simple biography. It is a history of our great hobby from its very beginnings to the advent of solid state electronics. The author, Jan David Perkins, does a wonderful job of explaining technology in a non-technical manner. No matter what your level of technical expertise, you will get a lot of enjoyment from his description of equipment and technology from by-gone days.

I will also mention that the book is beautifully bound and is filled with pictures and illustrations. As well as being a great read, it would make a wonderful gift for anyone interested in Amateur Radio.

I read this book in a week. For me, it was hard to put down and will be worth re-reading again. I hope you will get the chance to read this book and learn something of the history of this great Ham and his era.


John, WA6L

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