GB4JJD CALLING CQ- CQ -CQ TO ALL MOOSE RADIO AMATEURS
The Radio Amateurs of Burnham on Sea Moose Lodge 123 in the UK are celebrating a special Moose Anniversary this year. We are hosting a Special Event Station in recognition of the 90th Anniversary of the opening by James John Davis of the Mooseheart Radio Station - WJJD, affectionately known as ‘The Voice of the Loyal Order of Moose.’ The event will take place over the weekend of 21st and 22nd June 2014 and we will be transmitting on all the UK Amateur bands. The station call sign will be GB4JJD in honour of J. J. Davis and all contacts will receive a commemorative QSL card, pictured above, depicting the Women’s building (note the antenna mast in the background) where the original transmitters were housed. We will be particularly listening for any calls from Moose Amateurs in the States both on phone or CW but nevertheless we will be spreading the Moose message to the world. Please listen out for us.
During the years following the opening of Mooseheart in 1913, the children and others residents there became interested in the new media of Radio. The 5c and 10c store in Batavia was able to supply all the components required to build crystal sets and simple radio receivers. Following the enthusiasm created and the success of this venture, J. J. Davis, in his inimitable way, never failing to seize an opportunity, established a Radio Club at Mooseheart. By 1924 it was decided to test this new media and on 27th October, on Founder’s Day, the new Radio Station WJJD (so named in honour of Davis) took to the air. ‘Mechanical Apparatus’ had been installed in the Women’s Building and two 150ft towers erected, one either side of the building to support the antennas. Our picture shows the Women’s building and one of the towers.
What the Radio station lacked in professional talent was more than made up by the enthusiasm of the Mooseheart students who in the early days produced and hosted the programmes.
At first the station operated restricted hours in order to avoid interference with other stations. A daily assembly was broadcast during the week at four o’clock in the afternoon, followed later by mainly musical programmes presented by the Students. Church services were broadcast on Sundays. At other times during the week programmes of a more professional nature were broadcast and time sharing with other radio stations developed. The station reached out to listeners and members in the communities along the Fox River and could be heard in 35 of the surrounding States as well as in 4 Provinces in Canada.
WJJD was undoubtedly a great success and enjoyed a colourful history. With greater success came an increasing financial burden in order to keep up with the inevitable rising running costs and advances in technology. Due to these restraints, WJJD was eventually sold in 1933. It continued under a variety of guises including WJJD ‘The Voice of the Windy City’ until in 1997 it finally faded into history.
Today Radio Amateurs exchange what are called QSL cards to acknowledge contacts. Cards are colourful and informative and for many Radio Hams have become collectors’ items. Nothing changes. In the early days of WJJD Verification Stamps could be collected for stations heard on the air. WJJD was no different. The verification stamps were a powerful marketing tool and listeners were simply required to send the Radio Station proof of reception in exchange for one of these stamps. The idea was a popular one and many examples of these stamps can still be found on eBay.
Chris Harris G4TBO. Details on QRZ.com