Reg Dawe Memorial Page
Reg Dawe 1909 - 1999
This page was created by a group of hams dedicated to serving as
“elmers” to the amateur
radio community by guiding, assisting and supporting fellow hams following the example of
Reg Dawe, W6HUT. See below for more information on Reg
Reg Dawe, W6HUT was a friend and mentor to many local
hams and an inspiration to all of us.
Dave, K6HWN wrote an article in 2006, and Kathi, KF6WB wrote an article in 1999
that both sum up Reg's generous spirit. Both articles are reproduced below.
“Way Back When” with My Mentor Reg
Reprinted from October 2006 Key-Klix
In the early 50’s, when 440 was “experimental” and the only rigs were converted WWII surplus radar “tail-end-charlie’s” (thyratron-pulsed 6J6 tubes) for detecting bomber-following fighters, I was introduced by a high school radio shop friend to Reg Dawe, W6HUT.
We entered Reg’s Radio Repair, a room in a very old brown shingled Victorian (in its own private jungle) at N-W Chapala and Arrellaga, to meet a very friendly, blonde-haired, welcoming man in his mid 40’s (after passing thru a terminally messy hallway stacked with news-papers). He was seated on a chair-with-littlewheels (not a wheel chair) as he was paraplegic and was surrounded by an even greater mess of boxes of old radio parts, etc. Before him was his repair bench with test equipment from the 30’s, including a multi-meter with a separate little meter for each function.
In the early days of crystal sets he began his radio career, and taught himself radio repair. One set of unfortunate customers of his were Japanese-Americans who by law had to have the short-wave bands of their radios disabled at the war’s start.
Well, I became his apprentice, and spent every Saturday morning for all my (early 1950’s) high school years assisting him with able-bodied tasks, and learning to fix radios from this experienced and always cheerful mentor. No pay was involved, but he was generous in giving me whatever electronic parts I needed. After getting my driver’s license, I would drive him in his ’40 Pontiac coupe to Los Olivos to get boxes of fruit, etc. In it was a 10M converted police mobile rig with thin final tube filaments that lit up only on xmit, and a dynamotor for the final’s plate (whose “whirr” made you feel that something important was happening when you xmitted!).
In the very best tradition of ham radio, he gently began to get me interested, and a trip upstairs to his radio shack was next (he got up there backwards by lifting his rear end up each step, using his arms).
There was, for HF, a receiver and a separate Viking Ranger Xmitter for CW and AM only, as SSB, called SSBSC for “....suppressed carrier”, was still experimental and rarely heard (you needed to use the CW receiver mode). Reg contemptuously called them “side-winders”!
Also in there was the only commercial 2M xceiver available, a Gonset Communicator, as otherwise one would need a converted surplus VHF ARC-4 unit. This Gonset was a literal cubic foot of stuff, with a UHF conn. on top for a whip, a receiver pointer dial tuning from 144-148 MC, and a row of xtal sockets for xmit. It was AM only, of course.
Well, the chance to operate this thing by myself got me going earnestly to get my novice license (5 WPM and an easy test), and my dear mother learned the vocal “dit-dahhs” to practice me up. As Santa Barbara is over 100 miles from the FCC office in LA, I took the test here administered by a ham, and then got my call KN6HWN (the N for novice). In one of his rare non-technical pieces of advice, my “radio-dad” advised me not to use the phonetics “Half-Witted-Novice” as it was too self deprecating!
I guess I was too young for him to share much beyond technical stuff with me, but I did learn that he was born in 1909, got polio at age 14, and had an estranged brother, Stanley, who ran a TV repair shop on lower Chapala. Once he hinted to me that there had been a woman wanting to marry him. He lived with his simple-minded other brother, Ted, a gardener, and his very old mother who prepared Reg’s simple yet healthy diet. The living room of the house was closed off, but just once I saw inside it, a never-touched time capsule from way-way back, left alone after Reg’s father departed (I believe on foot).
Later, with more encouragement, I got my “conditional class” license, K6HWN (there were so few hams then that the calls were either W6 or K6). It needed 13 WPM and a harder test, and the conditional meant “general-class privileges but not taken at an FCC office” (later all were commuted to general class).
After starting UCSB and then moving to Berkeley I couldn’t spend Saturday mornings with Reg anymore, but he always had people to help him with any big task, as he seemed to know every ham in SB, and had very cordial relations with all.
During my Saturdays there once in awhile all work would stop for Reg to greet a drop-in, someone special from his past, with a big joyful smile and “Hi _____”. Years later, all stopped for my surprise drop-in, and a joyful “Hi Dave”, as I was also someone special to my dear mentor, Reg Dawe, W6HUT, now a silent key.
A Remembrance of Reg
Reprinted from November 1999 Key-Klix
I met Reg in 1961 while I was in high school. I had developed an interest in 1920-30 radio and old time broadcasting. Reg had done radio repair for my grandmothers who lived in the house I am now living in on Chapala St. Reg's home and radio business were at the corner of Arrellaga and Chapala St.
One day in 1961, I marched up to the door, rang the bell and was led in by his mother. Thus began a 38 year friendship.
I fondly remember the hours we worked on old radios at his Litchfield Lane house on the Mesa and all the good meals at Skandi Buffet on Sundays after his church service was over.
Reg knew his way around Montecito and Hope Ranch and many pleasant drives on Sunday were taken in these two locals and occasionally to Carpinteria. One time we went to a house party at Smitty's, N6ZJ, in Ventura.
What I remember most about Reg was his friendliness and his unquenchable spirit. He always made the best of less than desirable situations and kept his sense of humor to the very end.
Gud luck in the contest and may the best of dx be yours.
I recently visited my hometown of Santa Barbara. I was hoping some of my old friends would be listening and sure enough, I found WB6OBB and several others. I was asked to write something about Reg Dawe that no one else knew. I can’t really recall anything about Reg that everyone doesn’t already know. He was pretty much an open book. We spent a lot of time together when I was in town. He liked to get out of the house, so we took drives here and there. He was always the best of company and he knew everybody in town. I think we had the most fun at the bar-b-ques we would have. Lots of hams would come and we’d have a great afternoon.
I first met Reg circa 1959. He lived in a huge Victorian on Arrelaga and Chapala. The yard was completely overgrown so it had the look of a haunted house. But, once past the dark and scary hallway to his workshop, it was all congeniality, fun and laughs. He used to work AM with a Viking Ranger. I still fondly remember the operating procedures of the time. When you worked AM you had long, relaxed transmissions where you would expound at length about whatever. When you turned it over to the next person in the roundtable there would be a considerable silence before you heard the bang as the switch was thrown and the transmitters tubes came to life. Then you heard the faint AC hum rise and fall as the finals were tuned. Finally the modulation would start and continue until a suitable essay transpired. Things are different now, but not in a bad way.
Reg was the best Elmer ever, for me and many others. He got me through the Novice and General. In those days that included a code test. We all miss him and I treasure the time we had. I’m so pleased that the club station carries his call.
Best regards to all,