W1BB

badge-25-spacedStew Perry, W1BB, an American radio amateur, made a name for himself in the amateur radio world during the fifties and sixties by conducting¬† experiments into communication across the Atlantic on “Top Band”, an extremely difficult task using the type of equipment available at the time.

Northern Heights Amateur Radio Society built strong links with Stew and at least two club members made the trip to America to see him.

As a service to the amateur radio community, Stew produced lectures in the form of audio tape and photographic slide presentations. Northern Heights curated these lectures in the UK and they were lent out to other amateur radio clubs around the country on many occasions. An accompanying book had over 1000 signatures from those who had seen the lecture.

In recognition of his dedication to the hobby , Stew was made an honorary member of Northern Heights in 1968.

David Howell visited Stew in 1961 and 1965 and has kindly provided his recollections  which I have split into two sections.

David writes:

I remember the feeling of awe whenever Matt Eskdale G2SU visited the radio society meetings. He was revered even by the ‘Old Timers’ of the club. To me as a youngster (15 or 16 years old) he seemed unapproachable! When he heard about my trip to the US. he invited me to his shack and ‘insisted ‘ I visit W1BB “quite close” to where we would be staying in Massachusetts. That visit was quite an honour in itself!

I recollect that it was a Thursday afternoon (My half day off at the time), I caught a bus into Bradford, Chester Street Bus Station, walked round to and up Manchester Road where I found his QTH. in a modern shop terrace. (Since demolished) I entered the shop, I don’t recollect any goods for sale, but no one answered the door bell! I could see Matt through the window of the door into the back room he was slumped in a chair with his back to me in front of his rig. Making as much noise as I could, I went behind the counter and into the back room. Fortunately he had been fast asleep and my noise did wake him!

I was shown round his station and shown some of his photos & memorabilia of Stew.

Unfortunately I don’t remember the connection between G2SU and W1BB and I don’t think they had ever met personally. They were both Top Band enthusiasts and may both have earned a DXCC on that band. However Matt wanted me to meet Stew. (Even more awesome?) How could I refuse?


David Howell’s visit to see W1BB 1961

David Howell’s visit to see W1BB 1965