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Woodward High School 1953 - 2011

My maturation really began when we moved and I was registered at Woodward High School in March 1964. I had just turned 14 that January, I started my first term half way through the winter quarter at Woodward where I would be joining in with the 7th grade junior high students. I was a year behind because I started first grade a year late.

Upon my arrival at Woodward, I was assigned a number of junior high classes. One of these was Metal Shop taught by Mr. Neal Mays.

I remember making ashtrays out of galvanized sheet metal by pounding them into shape in a wooden mold and attempting to polish them on a buffing wheel. I also made a fireplace poker as my main project. I was too young to do any welding, so a second teacher who was a soft spoken neatly groomed black fellow used a torch to weld the parts together for me. I remember this guy teaching us about tempering metal. I think another of our assigned projects was to forge a chisel and then harden it.

The metal-shop classroom was limited in equipment. There werenít any power tools like lathes or milling machines. I also donít remember anyone using any type of arc-welding equipment.

There was some woodworking equipment in one of the other shop classrooms. I do remember a jointer, a table saw, scroll (jig) saw, and other woodworking hand tools.

These shop classrooms were located in the newer north wing of the building in a sub-basement level.

My exposure to electronics in a formal setting began on my first day of the fall of next year at Woodward, the 1964-65 school year. One of the classes I would be taking was Basic Electricity. This room was located in a different part of the 5-level building on the ground floor on the east side to the right of the main entrance far from the other shop classrooms.

There I would be exposed to this thing called ham radio.

An Estimated Layout of the Classroom

In this dingy electricity/electronics shop was this suspended steel overhead storage rack hanging down about 24 inches from the ceiling attached to the wall by chains similarly to the other shop classrooms. This thing stretched from the entry doorway which was in the middle, across to a small corner room that contained some kind of power control panel. Along the front of the rack were these homemade painted plywood doors going up to the ceiling that concealed the contents; though one could see up from the bottom through the metal grating.

Note. The equipment used in this shop-class in 1965 was very unsafe by todayís standards. An example was the 117 volt current limiting dim-bulb test stations with ammeters below each bulb. The cloth-covered test leads had no protective insulated clips on the ends, just bare frayed wire ends.

Speculation as to what was on the card.

On many occasions, I would look up at this small 5 by 7 inch blue cardboard card affixed to the rackís left most door closest to the roomís entry door. This small card had some kind of callsign embossed into it along with some other printing.

I have been looking for many years for this callsign in different places trying to recall it from my memories. I did remember BSX. But I wasnít sure if it began with K8, KA8, W8, WA8, or whatever. I assumed that the Number 8 was in the callsign because the license was assigned for call-area 8. I wrote to someone who did callsign lookups asking them to look for this information. But I never got a response.

Just recently, there were a number of Radio Amateur Callbooks scanned into the Internet Archive website. I noticed these links on a Google search and I started searching through them using KA8BSX, but no results. I also searched for the teacherís name of Crayton, but nothing. I then looked through a 1965 Woodward yearbook on the web and found that his name was spelled Creighton; but, still nothing. I was beginning to think I imagined the whole thing. Then while I was looking up and down a PDF image of a page from a 1964 callbook, I found the following.

From the Fall 1964 Radio Amateur Callbook

I didn't know Woodward actually had its own callsign. I thought it was assigned to the shop teacher Mr. Creighton.

So why would I be interested in this callsign?

As it turns out, the teacher of the electricity/electronics shop class, Mr. William H Creighton, was said to be a licensed ham and the control operator of the K8BSX station, which as it turns out was the Woodward High Schoolís Radio Club ham station. Prior to this, I really had no idea what ham radio was all about.

1965 Yearbook: Woodward HS Radio Club
K8BSX. Members were:
 L. Appleblatt - W8DRD,
 J. Meyers,
 B. Cohen - WA8PAM, 
 B. Stevens,
 S. Holzer - WA8BJQ,
 W. Wickemeyer,
 Mr. Creighton,
 B. Hyman - K8CJM,
 L  Schlacht - WA8AVH,
 T. Kutas,
 B. Holzer - K8TUT, and
 B. Rosenberg - WA8HKO.

On several occasions before class began, Mr. Creighton would make contacts using the station. I remember the ones I heard sounded like AM contacts rather than SSB . There he was, sitting by his desk at the microphone conversing with whomever.

I do remember one contact where the other fellow sounded very clear as he gave his location being somewhere in Arizona. The QSO happened during the day, so I presume this most likely occurred somewhere on the upper bands.

Station Goes Quiet

Shortly after my arrival in the first or second electricity class, Mr. Creighton said he would not be there for very much longer. It was said he was to leave to go on to teach at some college or university as a professor.

Sometime thereafter while I was helping him carry his stuff to his car, he said I had the potential to learn electronics and also get my ham license.

This white-haired fellow had a rather dark temper that could flare up at a momentís notice. With a startling sharp crack of a stick on a table, he would raise his very loud deep voice yelling at something stupid someone had done.

During this time, there was another shop teacher who was said to soon be taking Creightonís place. After Creighton left, this teacher immediately took over the room. However, this young heavyset fellow really didnít seem to have all that much interest in teaching electronics. I think this might have been his first permanent teaching assignment. Also, I don't think he ever got his ham license.

Although there might have been some QSOs by former club members, the stationís equipment was never officially on the air after Creighton left. Thatís why I thought Creighton held K8BSX.

I think the real tale as to what happened was in the log book sitting in a pile of stuff on the new teacherís desk with possibly the last entry made by W. Creighton. At that time I didnít know what a log book was or even what to look for.

The stationís equipment was kept on a table in the teacherís tiny office.

Hammarlund HQ-170

Hammarlund HX-500

I think the station had two pieces of large boat-anchor type equipment very similar to the above. I have a vague memory of an H behind a clear plastic cover that was somewhere on the receiver. I think there were other pieces of equipment sitting on top of the two main boxes along with some kind of microphone sitting in front of the transmitter. The stationís equipment was on a table opposite the teacherís rather cluttered desk which was just to the right of the door under a large glass window that looked out over the room.

Heathkit DX40


Update June 2021:  According to B Rosenberg, the transmitter was not a Hammarlund HX-500. He recalled it was a Heathkit DX40 which was modified to use a Heathkit SB10 SSB adapter.

Shack Station Gear Used in 1964 Woodward HS Field Day

The stationís callsign of K8BSX was listed in Radio Amateur Callbooks from 1958 to 1973. After that, the callsign was never listed again.

I applied to the FCC for the vanity callsign of K8BSX for different reasons. First, I wanted to honor Mr. Creighton, whoever he was. In looking on the FCCís web site, I found that there are four W or William Creightons listed in the FCC database. None of these are listed as being in or around Greater Cincinnati. But of course, I couldnít fine his name in any of the callbooks under call-area 8.

Itís unfortunate that our world has had to make it necessary to conceal oneís identity making it nearly impossible to find long lost friends.

The second reason I wanted this callsign is who I was then and who I am now. I was, shall we say, not academically motivated. My education and enlightenment would come many years later in my adult life. I am, for the most part, self-taught. I sought this callsign because, if I was academically inclined then, I too would have been one of the stationís club members as Mr. Creighton said I should have been.

The next reason I wanted this callsign is the times I was living in. These were changing times where the inner cities were being abandoned by white Americans as they fled to the suburbs to escape forced integration.

Woodward was also changing. Soon, the once fine school that taught the various disciplines such as literature, the languages, the sciences, and other high academics, would decline into rudimentary base-level education. Creighton saw this, so he moved on. I think his anger was seeing his space turned into an elementary level educational experience with students who were, shall we say, not educationally motivated. After his leaving, it seemed little to no electronics was taught by the new teacher.

To this day, I never really learned electronics to the degree I wanted to. Though I did attempt going to college for electronics, it seemed the lacking education I had at Woodward didnít prepare me for the rigors of college life. So, I missed another opportunity to study electronics in a formal setting.

By the time I got around to going back to college, electronics as a career was becoming passť because everything was being Made in Japan. Instead, I chose computer programming as my career.

Anyway, in the four and a half years I attended Woodward, I watched the school steadily decline towards what public education in inner cities would become in modern times. Also, during this time, Martin Luther King was assassinated and there were sit-ins for several days in the main lobby. That was, until the principle Mr. Shrimpton announced over the PA that school was dismissed and everyone could go home. Then solemn racial tension turned into gleeful cheers as the protesters scattered to go have fun.

It seems this became the theme of inner-city life where things would diminish; cities dying, schools becoming substandard, companies going out of business or relocating, and people moving on. It took moving far from the city to the suburbs for people to find a more stable environment.

So, the next reason I filed for my license callsign to be changed to K8BSX is because I wanted the memory of the schoolís station to live on, at least in my own mind.

As for my desire to get on the air, it would be until 1979 when I got a novice license, callsign KA8IKJ. I did this by attending a class given by Hal Miller W8XB which was taught at the Dayton Museum of Natural History where the W8BI DARA station was located.

Heathkit HR10B Receiver, DV60B VFO, HG10B AM CW Transmitter, Tuner, and TR relay controller, all sold on eBay in March 2015 for $380

I didnít really use this license.  I did build a Heathkit CW rig.  But at the time I wasnít all that motivated with sending Morse code. There was a lot going on in my life then. So, I let the license expire. In May of 2001, I studied for and passed the Technician class test at the Dayton Hamvention. In May 2015 , I passed the General test (KC8OUW). But because of HOA restrictions, I have yet to get on the HF bands. I did make several QSOs on an HT, but I haven't really got involved.

In 2015 with great anticipation I did purchase an Icom IC-718 Amateur Transceiver. I then made a wire dipole antenna, built an MFJ-941EK antenna tuner kit, hooked everything up including installing a good earth ground. I got ready to string up a dipole when a neighbor's father came out and asked what it was I was doing. After some slightly heated words on his part, I went on line and looked up the neighborhoodís CC&R documents and found that, if I put up an antenna or did any kind of transmitting, I would be fined and through some legal actions, I could possibly lose my home.

Finding this out devastated me. For so long I wanted to do HF, but because seven years ago I decided to live in the burbs in a ďsafe neighborhoodĒ, most of which are deed-restricted, I cannot and I dare not. So, after all the work I did on this house, do I as a 67 year old retiree move to do ham radio?

I live in an HOA, a deed-restricted private land use area covered by CC&R, which forbids any type of amateur (ham) radio RFI transmitting activities including the installation and use of any type of antenna structures or devices.  Because 90% of suburban neighborhoods are deed restricted, anyone who lives in suburbia and wishes to practice the Amateur Radio hobby simply cannot. Basically, we are legally forbidden from doing so. For those who stealthily wish to do so Ė this harkens back to a time during WWII with hidden underground transmitters in Germany being sought out by the Gestapo.

When I purchased my home in 2009, I first read through the brief HOA documentation provided at closing and I didn`t find any restrictions on antennas other than the placement of TV/satellite antennas on the home. Having lived in a number of regulated communities such as historic designated neighborhoods, I assumed, wrongfully so, that I could put up a non-obtrusive (stealth) antenna in the back yard or in a tree. However, I discovered that there are obscure regulations not provided at closing prohibiting any type of amateur radio antennas.

Yes, I know. I could take the radio somewhere remote and get on the air. But right now itís 3o F outside andÖ Iím feeling a bit defeated.

I did get Gordon Westís Extra Class Element 4 study guide. I intended to take the Extra Class exam at the new 2017 Hamvention. But, if I cannot have an antenna or transmit, why should I go through all of this effort?       Because!Ö I strongly feel amateur radio is a valuable freedom.

I sincerely hope I do not have to move to do something Iíve always wanted to do.

K8BSX - January 2017