The Radio Boys and a Handbook

My father-in-law was kind enough to send me a couple of books when he learned about my ARRL Handbook collection.

The first book was a 1956 ARRL Handbook in reasonably decent condition (for a 65 year old book) owned at one point by a Stephen Ray Bird/KN0LES from Nebraska. Tucked away in the pages of the handbook are several papers with handwritten schematics and notes.

One of the papers is an ARRL pamphlet, a reprint from a 1956 QST article titled “Your Novice Accent And What To Do About It” written by Keith Williams/W6DTY. This presumably was something ARRL sent to new hams.

There was also a meeting reminder postcard for the Otoe Chapter of the Order of DeMolay, which perhaps was being used as a bookmark.

Flipping through the book, I can’t help but wonder what KN0LES was doing with the schematics. Was he sketching out circuits to build? Was he using them to study for upgrading his license (I believe KN0LES would have been a Novice class call sign at the time)? I’m perhaps a little more intrigued by these little bits of paper than I am with the handbook itself.

A quick Google search brings up the obituary of a Stephen Ray Bird who died in 2013 in Arizona, was originally from Nebraska, and was also an amateur radio operator (KS7R). An AE7Q lookup also shows he held the call sign K0LES, which leads me to believe that I am now in possession of an ARRL Handbook he once owned. From his obituary, it seems like he was a nice guy.

The other book is “The Radio Boys’ First Wireless” from 1922. It’s not in the greatest condition, but for an almost 100 year old book that has obviously been read quite a bit, it’s in not too bad shape.

Inside the front cover is some handwriting that indicates the book belonged to someone named Rex Buzzett and that this book was a birthday gift in 1923. On the back cover he appears to have written his name, where he lived (Apalachicola, FL), and a date of October 16, 1925.

A Google search brought up a Rex Buzzett Street in Apalachicola as well as a couple of memorial entries for a Julian Rex Buzzett also from Apalachicola FL. Julian Rex Buzzett served in the US Army and was sadly killed during D-Day at Utah Beach. Considering the uniqueness of the name and where they’re both from, I’m guessing this might be the same Rex Buzzett who owned this book. If so, he would have been 9 years old when he was given this book. I wonder if young Rex Buzzett enjoyed reading this book. Did he own others in the series? Julian Rex Buzzett was a first lieutenant and a combat engineer in the US Army. If they’re the same person, did reading about the Radio Boys’ adventures have an influence on him? What did he do before joining the army?

I hadn’t heard of the Radio Boys series until my father-in-law asked us a few years ago to look out for them at hamfests. So far we haven’t found any, so I haven’t had the chance to read any of them until now. Wikipedia tells me that the author, Allen Chapman, was a pseudonym and that the books were written by ghost writers. Interestingly enough, the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series of books (which I have heard of and were some of my favourites growing up) was also published by the Stratemeyer Syndicate that published this Radio Boys series.

This seems like it will be an interesting and fun book to read. The book has seen quite a lot use and I’ll have to be careful reading it. I’m very grateful to my father-in-law for sending this and the Handbook to me.