My first clue to narrow down the search was a website called Old QSL Cards which has a large collection of the postcards that amateur operators send each other to confirm that they had made a radio contact. QSL is early radiotelegraph shorthand for "I am acknowledging receipt" of a wireless message. They had a card from my grandfather that was dated 1939.
|QSL card from my granfather from Jan. 26, 1939.|
Scan courtesy of Old QSL Cards.
There are far fewer sources to search through before such an early date. I was then able to find an annual series at the library called Amateur Radio Stations of the United States from the Radio Division of the U.S. Department of Commerce. His call sign was first published in the June 30, 1931 edition, which was a couple of years before the FCC was created. He does not appear in the June 1930 edition so that pins it down to within 12 months. He was about 23 years old at the time.
|First publication of my grandfather's call sign W9GYR in 1931.|
I don't have much information about his involvement in radio communication. I have some vague memories of him talking to other hams in Chicago and occasionally someone half way around the world. There is a brief mention of him participating in a "round table" on the 5 meter band with a large group of other local operators. It was published in the ARRL magazine QST in November 1935.
|It was a grand "shindig," thoroughly enjoyed by all.|
His license expired just a few years after he passed away. Shortly after I was issued my own operator license I applied to the FCC to have his original call sign transferred to me under a rule that allows a close relative of a "silent key" to request a reassignment. W9GYR has now been in my family for more than 80 years.
|RMA Resistor Color Code Guide.|
Allied Radio Corp. Circa 1945-1955.
I also have his resistor color code guide. The company address and phone number date it to shortly after the war.