KD5FX visits the ARRL HQ and operates the most famous Ham Radio Station in the world, W1AW.

(Note - all pictures are thumbnails, click on them to enlarge and then hit your back button to return to this page)

April 3rd, 2008 I got to visit the ARRL Headquarters and be the guest operator of the W1AW station.
This is something I've wanted to do since becoming a ham in 1981. 

Here's the story complete with pictures. 

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Above is the first thing you see when arriving at ARRL HQ, this sign greets you but you already know you're getting close because you can see the many towers and antennas from a block or two away.

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This is the W1AW station house, it looks small on the outside but it is quite roomy inside and crammed with Amateur Radio gear!

w1aw29.jpg (104537 bytes) This old tube type station is the first thing you see when walking in. It's available if you like to pound brass while keeping warm!

w1aw31.jpg (132082 bytes) This original spark gap transmitter sits next to the tube type station. It no longer operates of course. "Old Betsy," is it's name and it  once belonged to "The Old Man" himself, and was installed at President Maxim's Hartford residence.

w1aw32.jpg (133735 bytes)w1aw33.jpg (119669 bytes) These two pictures show the equipment that is used to broadcast all the W1AW bulletins. The racks of gear are all the transceivers and amplifiers. The other picture with a few computers shown is the control equipment.

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There are three rooms on the other side of the building for guest operators to use, the first two pictures show station 1, the 3rd is a shot of station 2 and the last two pictures show station 3 which is the one I operated. They allow about 2 hours of operation for guest operators. I chose a station with a Kenwood TS2000 since I have the (much) older version of that at home (TS-850S/AT) and I figured it would operate about the same. It did but had a WHOLE bunch more features! Took a little while to figure all that out.

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Here are shots of the various towers around the station, all kinds of antennas on these towers from UHF all the way to 160 meter.

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Above is the actual ARRL HQ building. Then the lobby with many books and other ARRL items for sale.

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The lobby also has several antique radios on the shelves.

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My tour guide for the day was Grant Warner, AA1T, all the tour guides are volunteers who live nearby. He's standing in the test center. You can see all the equipment they have to test and build things. In the past they actually build everything that was published but no longer.

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The first picture above is the QST publication area. Next is W1HQ which is the club station for the folks that work at HQ. 

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Here's the room where all the VE Staff work, they have all the forms and paperwork here.

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Next is the sales and marketing department and some of the folks who work there. Followed by the QSL bureau. Note all the QSL cards in the sorting bins.

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Around the halls of HQ are many racks with amateur memorabilia and some unique radios. Note the backup OSCAR 1 satellite and the original un-built Heathkit.

w1aw92.jpg (123699 bytes) Not far away from HQ is the Lentini radio store!

Lot's more info available at the ARRL website here.