The James Millen Society

Alan S. Douglas Letter Excerpts

As for stories, Jim didn't have a lot of contact with hams after the 1930's, when the ARRL headquarters personnel changed. In the early 30's, at least, maybe longer, QST was practically edited from his home, a real bachelor's pad (though I believe his mother lived there too). It was a large farm, no farming was done but there was space for tennis courts, swimming pool, hamshack with sleeping quarters, quite a spread. The ARRL gang would arrive and spend a week playing around while knocking that issue of QST into shape and sending it to the printer (which was not far away).

One amazing sight was the hamshack, a separate building near the house, which was basically just as it had been left in the 1930's: ping pong table in the center of the room, the rack-mounted equipment in one corner, the spare final tubes still sitting on the floor where Percy Spencer had left them in 1940 after rebuilding them at the Raytheon lab. When Jim built a hamshack in the house, he simply left the old building as it was; turned the key in the lock and rarely went back in. It was too bad the entire building couldn't have been moved to a museum site and preserved intact, but the access road was much too narrow and overgrown with trees to allow it. The AWA did move most of the equipment out, when Jim was still alive.

Excerpt from letter dated April 1998


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