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 Post subject: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Thu 19, 2020 7:47 pm 
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On the front and back covers of the latest issue of the AWAs Old Timers Bulletin ( I never did like journal) are photos of an amazing amateur station from 1924. When I saw the photos they looked familiar, I went out to the display room and sure enough I had another photo of the same station. It's ham station 2HA, mine is an original dated 1924 on the back. This kid has some amazing gear including TWO Leutz model L super-hets. Below are copies of my photo.

The AWA says the station was in Brooklyn NY the back of my photo says it's in Morristown NJ.


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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Thu 19, 2020 8:52 pm 
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Location: Morris Plains, N.J. 07950
Ron, do you have any further information on the owner of that station? Morristown is my home town.

The 1924-26 call-sign book says 2HA was the call sign of Peter Testan of 2123 Troy Avenue, Brooklyn. The 1927-29 book has the same information.


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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Thu 19, 2020 10:17 pm 
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It also looks like a Leutz model C on top of the two model Ls, with a model J RF-amplifier on its front end.

Over on the right side is a RCA AR-812. My understanding is that RCA brought that radio to market about Sept. 1924. I'm sure there's no way to know the exact date the photo was taken, but it makes me wonder if 2HA was an early adopter, or did he actually have a pre-production unit from RCA?

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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Thu 19, 2020 10:28 pm 
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OK, I found the N.Y. Times obit for Peter Testan, who died in 1985 at the age of 79.

He started out as a ship's wireless operator from 1924 to 1926. (Might that photo be of the ship's radio room)? He later became chief engineer and part of owner of radio station WBBC (later WBYN). He retired in 1972 as chief engineer of radio station WVNJ. The obit says he was a ham since 1914 (he would have been 8 at the time?). He lived in New York at least through the war, but later moved to Morristown, which is where he died.


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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Thu 19, 2020 10:39 pm 
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Interesting - there's a copy of QST in the foreground...Ron, can you zoom in on that cover? Maybe a comparison of QST covers could narrow that down further.

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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Fri 20, 2020 12:21 am 
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The AWA write-up says the QST is a January '25 issue.

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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Fri 20, 2020 1:58 am 
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What do you think? Was this Testan's own ham shack or the ship's radio room? Bear in mind that in January 1925, he would have been 19 years old.


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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Fri 20, 2020 2:20 am 
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I don't think this was a ship's radio room. Note the large call on the left side, looks like it's on a rolled-up window shade.

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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Fri 20, 2020 3:02 am 
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Looks like a pretty rich kid's radio room, to me. Does have his call sign and QSL cards from hams so it would not be a ship. Nice big framed license on the wall there. Fancy thing to show off. Now they just send you an email license. Not even paper anymore. And they want to start charging fiddy bux for the email licenses. They might get away with less resistance to the proposed fees if they once again offered a fancy detailed cert. At least my last license that expires in Dec. was both printed and a wallet sized copy too. Now how do you prove you are licensed without a wallet card. Save the email license on your phone and show them? Uggh.

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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Fri 20, 2020 3:17 am 
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One would have needed to be seriously wealthy (or with access to $$$) to afford all that equipment back in the day. The equipment is stacked pretty high and none of the large sets appear to be 'bolted down', which seems like a reasonable expectation for ship-borne equipment staying put in rolling seas. I'm a bit surprised there is no Grebe gear in sight.
R/ John


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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Fri 20, 2020 3:24 am 
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In addition to the Leutz line-up, there is a Kennedy 110 "Universal Receiver" ($250) with a 585 amplifier ($85) next to it...and further down on the top row it looks like a Magnavox AC-3 amplifier ($75) and R3 speaker ($35)... Then as now, a table-full of desireable, high-end gear, especially for an 18-year-old!


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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Fri 20, 2020 5:50 am 
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I wonder what happened to the Leutz Ls, as rare as they are now?

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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Fri 20, 2020 2:53 pm 
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Per the 1920 census, Testan's father was a 40-year-old mechanical engineer at a power plant. Per the 1930 census, Testan's father was then an electrical engineer for a broadcasting company. The family home, which they owned, was worth $20,000. Per the U.S. Labor Department, $20,000 in 1930 is the equivalent of $305,000 today. That sounds like the Testan family was comfortable but not super wealthy.

While Peter Testan worked his entire career as a radio engineer, it appears that he had only a high school education.

A caveat: census workers often got stuff wrong, so we have to take the census information with a grain of salt.


Last edited by Joe Connor on Nov Fri 20, 2020 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Fri 20, 2020 3:17 pm 
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UV201 wrote:
I'm a bit surprised there is no Grebe gear in sight.
R/ John


Look closely just to the right of the bottom Leutz, and beneath the AR-812. That unit appears to be a Grebe CR-13 SW receiver and attached RORK amp.

-Mark


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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Fri 20, 2020 3:41 pm 
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I agree that the equipment in the photo looks too precariously arranged to be on a ship. Could it have been taken at a land based Navy station? Would the Navy have allowed that degree of personalization at one of their installations at that time? It would not be out of place in a private company office or cubicle today and some of it could have been staged for the photo. In 1940 he appears to have been living with his wife, son, and an older female relative, his mother I would assume. This reference does not give the address but he was still in Brooklyn:

https://www.archives.com/1940-census/peter-testan-ny-59181229

The current boundaries of assembly district 2 do not include the area where the 1924 address lies but then none of Brooklyn is in the present day district 2 so the boundaries must have changed and his 1940 address could have been the same as it was in 1924. Here's the Google view of the Testan estate. It does not look like a wealthy family's digs to a modern midwesterner but someone from the area would have to comment on the economic status of families in that area in the 1920's.

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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Fri 20, 2020 4:57 pm 
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Small place for antennae of the period (?)

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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Fri 20, 2020 4:59 pm 
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Hope these photos help, and that I have not violated any copyright rules.

Russ


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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Fri 20, 2020 5:20 pm 
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There’s the window open- looking out at the other house.
You’d think he could have afforded a better chair.

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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Fri 20, 2020 5:21 pm 
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...amd the loop antenna!

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 Post subject: Re: 1924 Ham station
PostPosted: Nov Fri 20, 2020 5:58 pm 
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Forget the teenage angle, surely that was a lot of equipment for any ham at that time.


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