W1BB visit 1965

By David Howell

After the enjoyment of the first trip my Mother decided another visit was arranged. This time we flew from Manchester Airport to Glasgow airport & changed planes to one bound for Boston.

This visit time we stayed with my Mother’s cousin Ernest & wife, Blanche in Framingham.  Ernest was brought up at Upper Brockholes (Ogden) prior to his family emigrating to US.

On this visit to Stew, I did not stay overnight. Ernest drove me to the house in Winthrop dropped me & then went on to visit other places before collecting me that evening.

We went for another sail but this time it wasn’t as enjoyable. The sea was quite choppy with a strong cool breeze. We did sail at the end of one of the runways at Logan airport. A couple of jets landed whilst we were there passing over us only inches above the mast. I think that might of unsettled Stew as we made a quick retreat back to the Yacht Club.

US 17
Moorings at the Winthrop Yacht Club Considerably larger now.
US 18
The Yacht Cub Clubhouse
US 19
Snake Island in the foreground (I think)
US 20
Me taken by Stew with my camera
US 21
Stew taken by me
US 22
Me taken by Stew on his camera

Stew explained that since my last visit, he had set up a Top Band Rig in the local water tower. So he took me to see it. He had his own set of keys (Can you imagine Yorkshire Water allowing that here?). He had spent nights there during the winter when he was operating.

US 26
Google Earth Street View picture of Winthrop Water Tower now!
US 24
Me on the bank outside Winthrop Water Tower

As well as operating on 160 metres Stew also published a monthly news report which he circulated worldwide at no cost. That must have cost a fortune as he did it for many years!

Cousin Ernest collected me and after introductions to the family we set off back to Framingham.

I did enjoy both visits and found Stew & Alice really nice people and very good hosts. I feel very lucky to have met them.

From 1959 I used to listen to WRUL which in case you don’t know was a short wave commercial station.

They broadcast in English to Europe and Africa and Spanish to Latin America. One programme I used to listen to was the U.S. Top Ten (I think) each week. The Studio’s were in 1, East 57th St. New York with transmitters in Hatherly Beach, Scituate, Mass.

I mentioned this to Ernest who took us to Scituate on another outing from Framingham. After some considerable driving round we saw the antennae and eventually found the gates to the TX site.

US 28
WRUL antennae

Luckily there was a guy working on his car outside the gates who was one of the engineers. I explained to him why I was there & he immediately took me into the station where he introduced me to his boss. I was treated like royalty. All the engineers were hams and I found the station seemed to be a huge Ham site.

US 27
WRUL2 transmitter

To the right of this picture, which I was asked not to photograph, was nothing more than a chicken pen where the water cooled P.A. tube was leaking leaving a puddle on the concrete floor.

While I was there, the schedule changed and so one of the transmitters needed to be changed to a different antenna. The way to confirm power was going out was to hold a fluorescent tube up to the feeder. If it lit all was OK.

US 16
Winthrop’s location. Boston City is off picture on the left

For more information on most of the topics I mention e.g. Cabot tower, WRUL(WNEW) etc. Wikipedia is great and I have found Yahoo search brings up a lot of references to W1BB.


Dave Howell