For more than half a century, the North Jersey DX Association has been a leading DX organization as well as the ARRL Second District QSL Bureau. No other QSL Bureau in the country has been under the same management for this long. We have a lot to boast about since our history is graced by some very interesting people. In these pages, we will highlight some of our members and explain why we are so proud of our heritage.
Bob Tuttle, K2QHL won the Silver Star on Iwo Jima during WWII. Bob was the only New Jersey Bell Full Vice President without a college degree.
Dave Beckwith, W2QM won the Bronze Star in the Battle of the Bulge
Earl Lucas, W2JT was surprised one day when AC5PN answered his CQ to thank him for his QSL. For many years, Earl was chief engineer for WPAT.
Urb LeJeune, W2DEC while working at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, NJ, frequently had lunch with William Shockley, one of the inventors of the transistor. Urb was the only NJDXA club member to have worked AC5 (Bhutan) and CR10 (Portugese Timor) before the arrival of DXpeditions.
Howie Wolfe, W2AGW was the only NJDXA member to work AC3, AC4, and AC5 before Gus Browning went to those places.
Ron Levy, K2CO holds Number One Honor Roll and was a dentist in his former life. Working some of those DX stations was more difficult than "pulling teeth."
Leo Cunniff, W2OEH was the CEO of Beckman Instruments. Leo hosted the NJDXA annual picnic for many years.
Arnie Freeman, W2YD told great stories about his experiences at his Radio and TV repair shop in Newark, NJ.
George Wright, W2GW was a telegrapher for the Delaware Lackawanna and Western Railroad. George could send CW at 50 wpm and carry on a conversation at the same time.
Ed Berzin, W2MIG was a honcho with the Exxon Corporation. He was stationed in Indonesia for a number of years. Ed became famous for his MIG Net on 20 meter SSB.
Tom Winternitz, W2MS was a Director at Bell Labs. He is the grandson of Thomas Watson who worked with Alexander Graham Bell on the development of the telephone.
Bill Rawson, K2AX was an editor for the Newark Evening News. He wrote a column about amateur radio. Bill later became the clerk of the Town of Dover. He was an insurance specialist.
Hayden Evans, K2BZT was a director of Comsat. The NYSE ticker symbol was "CQ". Hayden was the first NJDXA member to achieve 5 Band DXCC. He was issued certificate No.9.
Ed Benkis, W2HTI was the first to operate on SSB from St. Pierre, FP8.
Ben Stevenson, W2BXA was post WWII WAZ #1. He also holds #1 satellite DXCC.
Ron Loneker, KA2BZS has confirmed DXCC on 9 different bands.
Charlie Rogers, W2AIW owned a large marine radio business. His home was on the second floor and on the roof was his shack designed to look like a shipboard radio room, complete with port holes. Charlie had two 100 foot windmill towers and one was topped by a full sized 3 element 40 meter been when almost no one had a 40 meter beam.
Ed Hopper, W2GT was on top of the Pre WWII DXCC listing and W2JT was on top of the phone listing.
Charter members W2GT, W2JT W2LV all held original 1X2 calls. W2ZX, an early inductee, also held an original 1X2 call.
Herman Musterman (Musty) W2TP was the earliest licensed member of the NJDXA. He held pre-WWI license 2AWL issued in 1916. Following the war, he was issued 2TP in 1920 which subsequently became W2TP.
Bob Morris, W2LV made the first transatlantic amateur radio contact from the Second District on December 4, 1923. Bob was an antenna design engineer working for Gen. David Sarnoff at RCA. He frequently had chats with Edwin Armstrong, inventor of FM. Bob's biggest project was the first television transmitting tower on top of the Empire State Building.
Jim Dupont, W2DEO was issued DXCC certificate No. 8 for 160 meters.
Charlie O'Brien, W2EQS received certificate No. 12 for 160 meters.
Ted Marks, W2FG Founded Microwave Semiconductor Corp. which built UHF amplifiers for avionic systems. The company was later acquired by Siemens. Ted was a RTTY devotee and was one of the first DXers to achieve RTTY Honor Roll status.
Dave Monfried, W2PK is a native of New Jersey. Born in Atlantic City, Dave was licensed as WV2ERJ in 1959. He has 2 sons who are hams, W2FZ and W7GCM. He is currently a consultant with the AIG Corporation on its restructuring efforts. Dave lives near Seattle.
Vic (Digger) Ulrich, WA2DIG served as our QSL Bureau Manager for 15 years. He would personally triple-sort every box of cards and distribute them to the Letter-Managers at every meeting.
Bob Greenquist, K2GHV designed the traffic light control system for Philadelphia and Atlanta.
Rich Wujciak, K2RW built and maintained the NJDXA Packet Cluster Node during the 1980's and 90s.
Rich Gelber, K2WR is a Technical Director with the ABC Network. He has won four Emmys for his work behind the scenes in connection with sporting events. Rich is an avid contester and is one of the early members and a past president of the Yankee Clipper Contest Club.
Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML is the radio coordinator for the annual New York Marathon. Steve is a Design Engineer who came to ABC after a career with CBS Radio. He has recently been appointed the radio security liason for the New York Jets.
Mario Karcich, K2ZD was the first W2 to achieve 6 meter DXCC with award #48 issued in December 1991. Mario presently has 163 entities confirmed on 6 meters. He holds WAZ #9, WAS, and WAC - all on 6 meters. Mario completed the first EME QSO from the Cayman Islands as ZF2ZD.
1A memory of Howard Wolfe - W2AGW. You just had to be there!
Here we were, back on line again. Such is the true dedication of an active DX-er!
We were on this line yesterday afternoon. After a wait of perhaps a half hour an announcement was made indicating that the line would be closed and re-opened tomorrow. My OM Ed - W2HTI and I had two goals in mind; each of equal value. We were here to acquire a QSL card representing a new entity worked - Chesterfield Island. We were also here in hopes of exchanging a handshake with master DX-er Martti Laine - OH2BH who had given us the opportunity for a QSO with this ‘new one’.
This was the year 2000 Dayton Hamvention. Our line extending out into the cross aisles of the exhibit area gave testimony to the drawing power of this convention. People on our line which at this time numbered over 100 had a special interest which was contrary to the interests of many hundreds more who would negotiate a path thru our barrier with a series of “excuse me’s”.
There was an estimated 30 or 40 ahead of us before the line would narrow into a single lane and turn into the Yaesu display area. Somewhere up there, still hidden from view, was a counter where our goals would be met.
On the way, conversations with others patiently waiting had broken out. In front of us was a husband and wife team from Germany. With not only the common interests of our hobby at hand but also with a sketchy familiarity of the area of Germany from which they had come added to topics that were now being discussed with a lot of animation. We were having a good time!
About 20 or so people further back in line, another group was whiling away time with similar activity. Two members of that group were Ron Levy - K2CO and Howard Wolfe - W2AGW, both fellow Club members of the NJDXA. We exchanged waves.
Suddenly, Howie decided to break ranks and came forward in line to investigate what our commotion was all about.
At this time of afternoon both Howie’s age and the building temperature were hovering around 90. Howie was dressed, complete with jacket and tie. It was his unshakeable custom to be properly dressed at all public affairs. The thought entered my mind that if my mother had a similar uncompromising sense of propriety she would have probably gone to the hair dressers before grocery shopping! His manner of dress plus the obviousness of his age probably worked in his favor when it became evident that Howie had taken up a position ahead of people behind us. To Howie, he wasn’t line jumping, he was only visiting!
Actually because of Howie’s effervescent personality coupled with his colorful method of speech, the folks behind us whose positions in line had been increased by one didn’t seem to mind at all. Instead they became members of the impromptu discussion group.
Eventually we arrived at the point where the line narrowed to one abreast. Once again formality set in and Howie ushered me in ahead of him. “Ladies first!” Ed fell in line behind Howie. Was he possibly thinking, “age before beauty”? Probably not!
We approached a brightly lit desk and were greeted. “Hi, I’m Martti. How may I help you?” I handed him my QSL card with all the information on it. He took it and started a log search.
Martti glanced up at the gentleman standing next to me and suddenly stopped. He recognized the call letters on the name badge clipped to Howie’s breast pocket and his eyes got as big as an arctic owl’s in mid-winter.
Without taking his eyes off Howie, Martti dropped my card like a hot potato and instructed a young man, his helper, to finish the task at hand.
While shaking Howies hand Martti announced that he would have his card finished in just a moment. Howie stopped Martti before he could start the log search with, “That’s O.K. I don’t need it. I already got it direct. I just wanted to say hello.”
“Oh yes, I remember the large envelope.” Martti was trying to regain his composure but it was out of reach. With a tone of utter disbelief in his voice Martti came up with, “You waited on line to see me?”
“I was just coming along with my friends”, Howie replied.
Still trying to regain his composure all that Martti could come up with was a repeat of, “You waited in line to see me?” It was going nowhere so Howie took charge and a short friendly chat ensued.
Our precious cards in hand, the three of us headed to the food concession area. A table with a nearby floor fan suddenly became available. With a hot dog and a cool drink to beat back the mid-afternoon hunger pangs, we reflected on current events. Howie repeated Martti’s “I can’t believe...” line a couple of times. We laughed. But, it was clear that Howie felt honored. Truly honored!
What I was privileged to witness was two gentlemen, each at the top of our chosen hobby, coming together for a brief moment and contribute to each other’s vast store of wonderful, memorable experiences.
Arnie Freeman, W2YD was a unique character. He was a top-notch electronics technician who could build or repair anything that had anything to do with radio. Arnie was also well known for his big signal. After all, he had full size Telrex Yagis for 10 through 40 meters on a 120 foot tower.
On Thursday evenings each week, a few NJDXA members met at Arnie's house to sort QSL cards for the Bureau. The sorting racks were in a room adjacent to Arnie's shack. One of the guys would invariably end up in front of the rig and work a few DX stations. One evening, we heard a strong signal from Europe. We zero-beat the frequency and just said "Hello, this is W2YD." The European station came back with "Wow! What a signal! You are pinning my S-meter. What are you using for an antenna?" Arnie then grabbed the mike and said, "An underground dipole." The European said, "I never heard of that antenna. How does it work?" Arnie replied, Well, the SWR is point five to one. Everyone in the room burst out laughing but the Eurpoean fellow said, "Can you send me the specs on this antenna?"
Arnie Freeman W2YD was well known for his story-telling talent. Arnie could tell a story like nobody else. He could make a sad story into a happy one or a happy story into a sad one. The following tale could have been a disaster but to hear Arnie tell it, it was a blast.
The W2YD antennas rested comfortably on a 120 foot crank-up tower. Naturally, it had a motorized winch with a remote switch in the basement but located so Arnie could see the tower as he raised or lowered it. One snowy and icy February morning, Arnie saw ice building up on the tower. He decided to lower the tower by a few sections to reduce the wind load. He hit the down button but after a few seconds, nothing happened. Arnie decided that the tower sections were frozen together and that he would go out and shake the tower a bit to break the ice bond. Of course, the lowest section was securely attached to its base and would not budge. So, Arnie climbed up to the first secton which was at about 25 feet. He was wearing a light jacket, no gloves or boots, and it was snowing. When he reached the 25 foot level, Arnie proceeded to shake the tower. As he did so, the ice bond was released and the upper sections fell with amazing speed, pinning Arnie's feet to the tower. He was wearing steel-toed safety shoes but his toes were bent downward and caught between the tower sections. He was effectively stuck on his tower 25 feet off the ground. Dorothy, Arnie's wife, had already left for work. Arnie's daughter, Diane had also left for work so Arnie was alone. He collected his thoughts, reached into his shirt pocket, grabbed a cigar, and started searching his pockets for a match with which to light the cigar. He found a pack of matches in his jacket pocket but there was only one match left. His greatest concern at that moment was that the wind would blow out the match and he wouldn't be able to light his cigar. Somehow, he shielded the match and the cigar was lit. After a few puffs, he now had to figure out how he was going to get some help.
After about 15 minutes of yelling "Help" from the tower, Arnie spotted a young boy playing with his sled in the snow. He yelled as loud as he could but the little boy didn't think to look up. Finally, after another 15 minutes of yelling, the boy saw Arnie and walked over to him. "Please tell your mommy that I'm stuck up here and I need some help," said Arnie. The kid ran home and got his mom. She called 911 and within a few minutes, the Whippany Fire Department responded. Arnie told them how to push the up button to take up the slack in the cable on his tower and to lift the tower off his toes. He was free. Arnie came down slowly. He was able to walk into his house and he offered the firemen a drink. They exchanged some small talk and eventually, they left. Arnie then went to the bathroom to take off his shoes and evaluate the extent of his injuries.
Just as he got his shoes off, Diane came home for lunch. She saw him in the bathroom, saw blood all over his feet and the bathroom floor and immediately passed out. Arnie carried her to the bedroom, laid her on the bed where she awoke. She started yelling at Arnie that he messed up the bathroom and mom would "kill" him. Then she saw the blood and passed out again.
After some time, both Arnie and Diane headed for the emergency room at the hospital. Arnie had broken all 10 toes and had some deep gashes in his feet. The doctors fixed him up the best they could. He had pain for weeks afterward. That was an adventure he would never forget.
The first NJDXA picnic was held at the LeJeune chateau in 1958 when the club was less than a year old. When W2DEC left to go on a cruise, final details for the picnic had not yet been made. Urb left. When he returned the following week, he and his new bride Helen found W2LNB and W2GUM cutting grass (there were 2 acres of it) and setting up food and beer.
"The picnic was a huge success. We had to do a beer run several times." Helen and Urb had moved into the house in Holmdel only a few weeks before. The house had been empty for about a year. "After we were about an hour into the festivities a State Trooper appeared in full uniform wanting to know what was going on. (Holmdel did not have a police department at the time). We explained that we were a ham radio club and this was our picnic. Whereupon he replied, 'I'm a ham, (K2 something or other)' Someone offered him a beer and he said, 'I'm on duty' while taking off his hat and putting it under a tree. 'That should do it' he said while reaching for the proffered beer."
From the beginning we held the picnic on Saturday so we could have Sunday as a rain date. In 52 years we have never had to cancel a Saturday picnic.
Another historical fact: As the years progressed we drank less and ate more :-).