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Chapter 36 - Northwest Indiana

~ Creaky Knees and Rusty Keys ~


Below are some pictures from our July 12th meeting at Suzie's Cafe in Valparaiso. It was an honor to present Gene W9CWG and Bob W9ORW with awards from our QCWA Headquarters at this meeting. Both received 50th Anniversary Awards and Fifty-Year Continuously Licensed certificates. In addition, Gene got 55th and 60th Anniversary certificates... and also the very prestigious QCWA Century Club Award. The Century Club Award is issued to QCWA members whose age, when added to their number of years as a QCWA member totals 100 or more. Gene has been a QCWA member for almost 40 years, so that must mean he is just a little over 60 yrs old at least!   ;-)   CONGRATULATIONS to both of you on earning these awards!

Gene also passed around a copy of a signed letter, dated August 10, 1949, from famous electrical engineer Dr. Lee de Forest to Mr. James "Doc" Fry (later W9QHW) declining an ARRL invitation to speak at the Mid-West Convention in Omaha. The letter is on American Television, Inc. letterhead (Chicago) where Dr. de Forest was Director of Research. Gene has the original letter, but I scanned the copy that he showed us... take a look at the low-res or high-res versions.

The STRANGE Test Equipment Contest was won by Dale AC2E with a L&N (Leeds and Northrup) type K potentiometer, probably from the 1920's. (See a similar item here.) The potentiometer is used in a bridge circuit with a standard cell and galvanometer to measure voltage very accurately. See full description below. Other entries were a small signal injector from Dave W9DN, an old Eico electronic voltmeter/ohmmeter from John W9ZG, an old Eico capacitance meter from Troy KC9E, and a very interesting device from Carl W9CJH that measured the thickness of paint on steel... I have no idea what that device is called, but it worked! Thanks to all for bringing in your entries!

These pics by Jim KF9EX. Click for a larger view.

Stan and Bob
Stan and Bob
Dave, Fran, and Lila
Dave, Fran, and Lila
Nancy and John
Nancy and John
Bruce and Pam
Bruce and Pam
Gene and Carl
Gene and Carl
Gene and QCWA Century Club
Gene and QCWA Century Club
Stan, Gene, and Bob
Stan, Gene, and Bob
Stan, Gene, and Bob
Stan, Gene, and Bob
The Contest
The Contest

These pics by Stan W4SV (well, Stan's camera: Jim KF9EX shot 3 of them). Click for a larger view.

The Gang #1
The Gang #1
The Gang #2
The Gang #2
Stan, Gene, and Bob
Stan, Gene, and Bob
Stan, Gene, and Bob
Stan, Gene, and Bob
Stan, Gene, and Bob
Stan, Gene, and Bob
The Contest
The Contest

The Gang included 10 members and 5 guests (listed below).

Attending: (in last name order)

Bruce (W9OTN) and Pam Balsley
Carl (W9CJH) and Lila (N9ESS) Hallberg
Jim Harney (KF9EX)
Troy (KC9E) and Claudette (KA9IXZ) Harrison
Dale Kempf (AC2E)
John (W9ZG) and Nancy Miller
Dave (W9DN) and Fran Nicolaus
Bob Pence (W9ORW)
Stan Vandiver (W4SV)
Gene Wiggins (W9CWG)

More info from Dale AC2E: The Type K Potentiometer in the website link above says the CENCO catalog price of that unit in 1929 was $250. That original cost adjusted for inflation would be many thousands of dollars today, but we can get a more accurate digital meter for far less money. Today the term "standard cell" usually refers to an integrated circuit subcircuit (cell) instead of battery whose voltage is very accurate (to better than a millivolt) at standard temperature and no load (open circuit). An unknown voltage is divided down by a potentiometer and applied to one side of a galvanometer (a very sensitive current meter). The other side of the galvanometer is connected to a standard cell. The potentiometer is adjusted until the galvanometer current is zero; then the divided down voltage equals the standard cell open-circuit voltage. Accuracy depends on galvanometer sensitivity and potentiometer linearity. Today we have better digital voltmeters. For example, the Keithley Model 2002 has a 200 mV scale with resolution of 1 nanovolt and input resistance greater than 100 Gohms. It has 8 1/2 digit display and costs over $5000. (No, I don't have one.)


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