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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bud Waite, W2ZK, Antarctic Ham Hero

I really blew it in SS137, and in the original version of yesterday's blog post. I can't believe I actually reported that McMurdo Base was named for McMurdo Silver! This is like some weird self-inflicted payback for all my April 1 hoaxes. Sorry guys. McMurdo base is unfortunately not named for McMurdo Silver.

OM Armand, WA1UQO, came to my rescue! He provides a wonderful story (a TRUE story) about a ham who actually did have some Antarctic terrain features named for him. And deservedly so. Be sure to read the story of W2ZK in the links below.

By the way, we see here two additional examples of strong, distinctive names in the radio world: Armand Hamel and Amory H. Waite. Thanks to Steve "Snort Rosin" Smith for reminding me of another one: Philo T. Farnsworth. (Billy and I have long had plans for a kids novel built around a character named Excelsior G. Whiz --- the G stand for GADZOOKS!)

Hi Bill!
Listened to Soldersmoke #137 Sunday evening and was intrigued by the McMurdo Silver piece. It immediately brought to mind another Ham that was associated with Antarctica and had a Point of land and four islands named in his honor. His name was Amory "Bud" Waite (W2ZK). There was a nice write up about him in the November 2009 QST Vintage Radio Column by K2TQN. There is also a wealth of information about him on the Antarctican Organization website. I have a fond spot for Bud even though I never met him. As a novice in 1975 I responded to an advertisement in QST for a used Heathkit TX-1. My first transmitter! Bud was selling it as a favor for the widow of a SK. Had a really nice conversation with him one evening and he mentioned that he had once been on an expedition with Admiral Byrd! WOW! Little did I realize then that he had been one of the three men that had rescued Byrd from a forward camp. The story is amazing and can be found on these links. The first link is a video of a presentation that he gave to a New Jersey radio club in 1974. It's a little long but well worth the effort. You can see what McMurdo Sound looked like when he revisited it during the IGY (knew you would love that!). Anyway thought you would like to read about someone who really had the Knack. If you are looking for nominees for the Soldersmoke Ham Heros Hall Of Fame, I nominate Bud Waite ( and Doug DeMaw and Wes Hayward and Jean Shepherd). By the way, I still have the Heathkit Apache and hope to get it back on the air. As always keep the solder flowing and smoking and the podcasts comming.
Armand (WA1UQO)


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