A Santa Cruz County

Amateur Radio Scrapbook of Memories



1921 convention

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Photo by 6OW


In 1921 radio amateurs from the Monterey Bay region and adjacent areas attend a Hamfest in Santa Cruz.


6DP was Earl Harris. He was the first ham to return to the air in Santa Cruz County, following WW1, in 1919.




Earl later taught wireless classes for commercial radio operators at Heald College in downtown Santa Cruz.


at 6DP


The photo shows 6VX atop a 100-foot tall redwood antenna-supporting pole at the QTH of 6DP. This house was located at 40 Center Street in Santa Cruz, just a short distance from the center of downtown. It was near the old Laurel School, now the Louden Nelson Center.


6DP shack

In 1926, Harris was operating from the shack shown in the photo above. He was now using tube equipment and running CW, rather than spark.


Earl and his brother opened a haberdashery on Pacific Avenue around this time. Harris Brothers menís clothing store continued to operate from that location until the 1990s.


Clifford McCormick obtained his first license in 1920, when was a 15 year old student at Santa Cruz High.This is a copy of his first amateur radio license with the call 6OW (later W6OW).


6)W license


6)W shack


Melvin Wilder operated a dairy ranch, north of Santa Cruz along the coast. Melvinís father originally established one of several dairy ranches along the north coast, in 1859. Cliff worked at the ranch, following his graduation from Santa Cruz High School and before he accepted a job with Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company. His career with the telephone company lasted more than 40 years.


Wilder had briefly studied electrical engineering at Stanford. He had to return home to take over management of the family business when his father became ill. He was interested in wireless communications and other technologies. He soon talked McCormick into selling his radio equipment. Wilder became W6CEH. He was an avid ham until his death in 1948.


The dairy ranch is now known as Wilder Ranch State Park. This may well be the only state park in the country with a rich ham radio past.





Ham days at the ranch


During the 1990s, club members operated K6BJ as a special event station at the Wilder Ranch State Park. Historical displays presented the early history of amateur radio in the region.


Art Lee, WF6P demonstrates modern-day operating, while Wayne Thalls, KB6KN expounds on the history of radio in the region.


Radio High

During the 1920s and 1930s hundreds of high schools and colleges throughout the country sponsored radio clubs. Santa Cruz High School had a Radio Department, beginning in the late twenties. An active amateur station continued into the 1950s. Radio technology (electronics) shop was part of the elective curriculum. Many local radio and television technicians were products of these studies.An unknown number of other students pursued engineering careers.During WW2, many of them served as communicators in the various branches of military service.



Teacher and advisor for the classes was Frank Kazmarek, W6EMZ. One of the star pupils was Vernon Berlin, W6JCZ. In 1930 Vern constructed an amateur station for the local Naval Reserve unit, which was housed in the Veterans Memorial Building in Santa Cruz. An active station still exists at this location. In 1947 Vern became a founding partner for radio station KSCO. He served as General Manager and Chief Engineer of the station until his retirement in 1986.


A 60-year member of the SCCARC, Vern became a silent key in 1993.


A Typical Ham

In 1935, Roy Couzin was licensed as W6LZL. He enrolled in radio school after his graduation from high school in Oakland. Upon completion of his studies and after obtaining his commercial radiotelegraph operators license, Roy was unable to find a berth as a radio operator aboard ship. This was during the depths of the Great Depression. He did what numerous young men were doing at that time. He joined the US Navy. During WW2 he served as a radio operator/gunner aboard Navy dive bombers.



Roy, now SK, moved to Santa Cruz after his retirement.During his travels he had become W6JET. Roy served as President of the Santa Cruz County Amateur Radio Club.


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