When I married Barry Beall way back in the sixties, he was
already into communications which became a major interest that he pursued all of his life. I paid little
attention but was somewhat impressed when, on our first trip to his home in
Rockmart, Georgia, while still miles away, from his car he talked to his father, Hugh, on a
citizens band radio. Today we have cell phones, but before cell
phones we had mobile phones, and before that we had CB radio and HAM radio.
Barry usually bought the latest electronic device on the market. Today, if he were
here, he would probably have us in the poor house because he would want the newest gizmo that comes out. He did have a Blackberry when
few people I knew had one.
As a child he had been impressed with his Uncle Ralph and Aunt
Mildred who had set up a HAM shack in their home. According to Barry, Ralph and
Mildred talked to people all over the world from tiny Cedartown,
A few years into our marriage, my husband met some local
HAM radio operators. Before I knew it, he had invested in all the paraphernalia
it takes to get on the air, including a huge antenna on the house and another
on his car. To go beyond the novice stage in amateur radio, one must know Morse code. One night I went with him to a class, and the men there insisted I
should learn it as well. Just for fun, I said I would try, but had no real
interest in it.
The dots and dashes made absolutely no sense to me.
For weeks we listened to an audio tape of Morse code. It was fun to talk about and see how much I
could remember. Barry taught me why the code was created and how it was used during war, etc. Finally the day came when Barry thought he was ready to take
the test. I said I'd take it at the same time, not caring if I passed or
failed. When we were done, the instructor surprised me when he said, “Glenda,
you passed. You are now eligible to apply for a HAM radio license.”
Shocked, I heard him say, “Barry, you didn’t pass.
You can take it again later. I’m sure you’ll pass it next time.”
I felt awful. Barry was crestfallen, to say the least. I
think he was a little embarrassed that I had passed and he had not. Barry had
been a German Linguist in the Army and worked with highly classified
information. He was intelligent and much smarter than I in this kind of thing. I think he tried too hard
because it meant so much, while I hardly tried and was not a bit anxious.
He passed the test the second time and we both received our
licenses and call numbers. He was WA4KCL and I was WA4KCK.
I think he was
pleased that I became a HAM even though I never got on the air. I went with him
to HAMfests and social events. I loved meeting interesting people, and we made some good friends. One couple, both doctors, were amateur radio operators in our group of friends.
Call Sign: WA4KCKGrant Date: 07/25/1996, Expiration Date: 07/25/2006, Cancellation Date: 07/26/2008Registrant: Glenda C Beall, 445 Chatuge Ln, Hayesville, NC 28904Call Sign: WA4KCLGrant Date: 07/11/1996, Expiration Date: 07/11/2006, Cancellation Date: 07/12/2008Registrant: Hugh B Beall, 445 Chatuge Ln, Hayesville, NC 28904
I had no interest in talking to a person in Japan at 3:00
a.m. I think Barry enjoyed listening more than talking. I still preferred to use the telephone when I wanted to hear from someone. I
complained about the time he spent in his upstairs HAM shack, and I teased him
about his hobby. Little did I know the boom that was coming in communications,
and Barry and his friends were forerunners. He bought one of the first computers on the market, the Commodore 64. His interest sparked my own, and I eventually learned how to use a computer as well.
The biggest thrill for our local HAMs in Albany, GA was the
night of the presidential election when they set up a station outside of JimmyCarter’s home in Plains, Georgia
. Barry and several others stayed up all night and
reported around the world what was happening on that auspicious eve. They were
among the first to spread the word that our own South Georgia neighbor, one of
the most compassionate people to hold the office, would be the new President of
the United States.
My next post will be a poem I wrote, tongue in cheek,
about Barry’s love for early radio communications. Stay tuned.