The Norwich Free Academy Ham Radio Club visited the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) for a tour of the facilities and W1AW. Dan Arnold, W1CNI, gave us the tour and introduced the students of W1HLO to the history of amateur radio. We saw many informative posters and got to see the inner workings of the ARRL. The W1AW students agreed that the highlights of the tour were the Faraday cage for testing/reviewing equipment and the amateur radio museum. Dave Sumner, former CEO of the ARRL and alumni of W1HLO, also joined us for the tour.
After touring the ARRL headquarters, Dan brought us to W1AW, the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station. The W1HLO club members were allowed to work the station and had a blast doing so. Dan Wall, W1ZFG, set us up on three radios covering three different bands -- 17m, 20m, and 40m. Lauren had the farthest QSO among the contacts -- London, England! We also got to see Hiram Percy Maxim's spark gap transmitter, "Old Betsy," in action. (Here is a YouTube video of operating Old Betsy from another author.) Old Betsy was operated using a key inside Hiram Percy Maxim's old roll-top desk that was adjacent to the transmitter. As the story goes, Hiram Percy Maxim had to keep Old Betsy in the basement because his wife complained that it was too loud!
Many thanks to the ARRL, Dan Arnold W1CNI, and Dan Wall W1ZFG for our tour of HQ and W1AW. Thanks to Dave Sumner, K1ZZ, for joining us and bringing a newspaper article from the last time W1HLO visited the ARRL -- in 1964! You can see an image of the article and photos from our visit below.