Re: Radio station at Harlem and Irving
Date: June 09, 2015 07:27PM
A little more on WQPC that I found and copied from a website called msprg.com:
Illinois State Police
URLs for Illinois State Police
Wikipedia - Illinois State Police
Illinois State Police Web Site
llinois State Police is a fascinating subject which we probably are not going to learn much in this lifetime because few have had time to correspond about the matter. I will try a few things in hope to have a minuscule record on hand because the record needs to be on file. A good friend W9BRD Rod Newkirk now resides in Canada with his wife VE3ZBB. Rod was a longtime Illinois State Police radio officer and electronics man. Starting in 1946 manning the CW circuits on daily shifts.
March 22 2000 Rod stated, “When nd my old boss and pal Ero Erickson, then W9HPJ and later KA9DYS (He was so busy he let his ham ticket expire) died just a few years ago, his family emptied his cellar — full of priceless memorabilia pertaining to the police portion of the wireless art. I was in the process of changing QTH myself, groveling through 32 years of living too long in one place and didn’t dare tackle the job of sorting through all of his big cardboard boxes, notebooks and photos. So I had to turn down the job, advising them instead to contact Association of Police Communications Officers for whom Ero had been a steady correspondent and author. I might have taken the task after my own move was completed but then I began planning a move to Canada. I know there was a treasure trove in all that material of the very type you seek. Ero used to spend large chunks of his vacation time visiting and photographing police radio stations and personnel across the country. He was primarily responsible for more than half the size of the CW network, coaxing some out-of-the-way cities and states to hire FCC-licensed telegraphers.
Pictured the WQPC Illinois State Police Radio Crew in Chicago, taken Christmas of 1947. Left to right - Nathan Perlman ex-W9OVJ; Rod Newkirk W9BRD; Ero Erickson W9HPJ now KA9DYS; James Donohue W9KJY and Orval Wingate W9EDH now KX9C.
Disposition of the comm personnel; Officer Perlman had trained as a Rabbi, he declined promotion to supervisor and retired as a CW operator. Rod Newkirk was DX Editor for QST for 25 plus years and recipient of a 55 WPM award. Erickson retired in 1960 after 30 years of service, was in charge of District III Radio plus 2 - 4 & 5 until they were staffed by licensed technicians. James Donohue
is a former Coast Guard and Federal Barge Line operator, he was later Supervisor D2 Elgin station and winters in Texas traveling a lot. Orval Wingate retired to a large farm in Avon, Ill. He worked for Michigan S.P., Lorain Marine Telephone in Ohio, FCC/RID and retired from Los Angeles, P.D.
When this was written by Erickson, he stated all in good health 38 years after the picture taken. SGT Wm Engle of River Forest PD, then in charge of radio maintenance, took the group picture.
The Chicago HQ of Ill. State Police Radio was “WQPC” They housed a Wilcox transmitter running a kilowatt and had a 7090 kc crystal available for quiet Sunday mornings depending on whether a QPO amateur enthusiast was on shift. The boys were PRO A-P-C-O Union Members, see bulletin in picture.
Newkirk says, “Most of the old time CW Ops of those days were older than I was, so they’re beginning to thin out rapidly now.” But on rare occasion I do run into a QSO where the OM may mention a stint on the police network. Fewer and fewer as time goes on. The day will come when somebody will rediscover how CW cuts through the soup when all else fails, but it will be too late. Just like we’ve torn up railroad tracks and right-of-ways to put us all on the clutches of the oil cartels and auto barons and clogged the roads with 18-wheelers.
Ero Erickson was author of most of this material from an article which looks like World Radio Magazine, he states : “There may be some interest in a picture of radio telegraphers who once worked for the State of Illinois, for the State Police Radio, When C.W. was King (no computers.)
Our photo of the police radiomen was taken in 1947 shows the crew and equipment of WQPC Chicago HQ of the Illinois State Police. W9BRD Rod Newkirk called the Western Electric transmitter a 12 Meter rig, because it had 12 meters installed!
The A.M. Phone transmitter was turned on in 1936, operating on 1610 Kilocycles at Chicago and ran over 20 years at 1 K.W. When operated for the last time an attempt to restart it was made a month later, age took its toll, it blew fuses. The transformer windings had cooled and shrunk, causing shorts. R.I.P, AM Phone Police Broadcast.
Illinois required all operators to hold two FCC licenses; at least a 1st Class Radiotelephone operator’s license and a 2nd Class Radiotelegraph license.
Ero, you were prophetic. Yes there is a lot of interest in Police CW Radio, may it always be remembered! Author will do his best with Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia & PA.
Your author was looking over old material provided by Red Devores W8LYV formerly WV. State Police Charleston which had portions of this article on the ILL S.P. - Red’s material supplied 26 March 2005. W9BRD is still alive and going strong in the Toronto region as VA3ZBB with dual citizenship. I worked Rod Newkirk early 2005 on 40 Meters CW. I called him Jeeves and he usually knows it is me calling him, that proverbial name because of his fine QST Column he ran for a long time. Jeeves never got a penny for his hard work, it was dedicated to humanity!
Illinois SP Ride in 1936 with an AM receiver and speaker behind the head light facing the driver.
All above information was supplied by Bob Ballantine W8SU June 2009