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The CHRS / W6CF amateur radio station now in Alameda CA, was once the very active station of James Maxwell, the West Coast Director of the American Radio Relay League, (or ARRL).  In honor of Jim’s achievements in amateur radio, and in honor of his memory, Trudy Maxwell bequeathed Jim’s entire station to us, along with his extensive library. We are rebuilding a bigger and better W6CF. Listen to “Bart Lee, Godfather of Ham Radio.” | Read Bart’s Experimenters on a New Amateur Band |

Jim Maxwell

The Society of Wireless Pioneers nets: Dick Singer K6KSG​​ is the current net control station. The SoWP nets run on Thursdays: 20 meter net, 14055 KHz, is at 1100 eastern time, 40 meter net, 7052 KHz, is at 2200 eastern time.

Legendary Ham Don Wallace, W6AM, tells his story in 1985:

In the video, W6CF on the air for the first time from CHRS Radio Central,  Denny  Monticelli, AE6C, at the key, in QSO with K6KPH, Bolinas/Marshall on the 100th Anniversary of KPH, 26 IV 14, 13:30 +- PDT. Denny put up a full field-expedient slingshot slung inverted Vee dipole in the oak tree, and worked his K2 Elecraft transceiver in the 40 meter band. Ol’ Chicken Feathers is back on the air. QSO data:  April 26, 2014, 2050Z   7050KHz.  A1 transmission,  K6KPH  Op = Roy  QTH = Marshall  RST given = 599, W6CF  Op = Denny  QTH = Alameda  RST given = 599

NEW: W6CF QSL Cards 2013

As the premiere historic radio organization, CHRS took the responsibility of honoring Jim by adopting his callsign and keeping his station active and operating as the CHRS station. Jim’s desk and trusty Kenwood transceiver are the most prominent part of the CHRS amateur radio station! W6CF operates CW and phone modes on the 20m, 15m, and 10m HF bands, and also the 2m and 70cm VHF and UHF bands. Even if you do not have an amateur radio license, one of the CHRS licensed amateur operators will be glad to assist you and get you on the air as a guest operator.

W6CF uses some very interesting and coveted amateur radio equipment. Besides the top of the line vintage Kenwood transceiver, W6CF also uses lovingly restored vintage vacuum tube era amateur radio equipment from Collins, Johnson, Henry, Hallicrafters, National, Hammarlund, and others. The vintage equipment used as part of the W6CF amateur station is occasionally rotated to keep the antique gear working and to provide a unique operating experience for guests that may not have had the opportunity to actually use some of the best equipment ever made. Amateur radio operators who have never actually used vintage equipment frequently comment on the amazing performance and how much easier it is to operate than modern gear. Startled looks and wide smiles are very common at the W6CF operating desk, and we know Jim Maxwell would be very proud!

Below, Photos by Bart Lee showing the W6CF Shack as it once was in Berkeley:

W6CF operating desk IMG_3560

W6CF ham radio display IMG_3555

W6CF military receivers IMG_3564

As a way of keeping the iconic W6CF callsign on the air, and reaching outside the four walls to radio amateurs and shortwave listeners all over the world as much as possible, the CHRS built W6CF/B, our 10 meter radio beacon. W6CF/B is on the air 24 hours a day, 365 days a year operating on 28.2045 MHz.  In the great CW tradition, the opening part of the repeated beacon string begins with “V V V”, the most widely sent CW character string and a respected attention getter.

We keep extra W6CF and W6CF/B QSL cards in the amateur radio station room, please stop in and take one. For more information about W6CF and CHRS / BARM amateur radio operations, please contact Paul Shinn, Amateur Radio Operations or John Staples, W6CF Trustee.

Thanks to the Yasme Foundation for their recent $2,000 donation to CHRS in honor of Jim Maxwell and W6CF | Download our QSL | The 2003 CHRS Charles Herrold Award for outstanding achievement in the preservation and documentation of early radio was presented to Trudy Maxwell.


In July 1932 George Grammer published a series of landmark articles in QST about the design of the modern ham transmitter.   Very soon after that, Art Collins published his first ad in QST for the 32A transmitter, and soon after that the 32B, which followed almost exactly the schematics published by Grammer. The 10A and 10B exciters are the RF part of the 32A and 32B transmitters, which also include the power supply and antenna tuner.   The 10B transmitter comprises a type 47 crystal oscillator, followed by a 46a buffer/multiplier and parallel 46’s in the final, producing up to 25 watts of output. The Collins 10B was donated by Bart Lee, K6VK, to the CHRS collection.

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