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Ham Radio
Shep's passion from childhood

Young Shep the Ham
courtesy: Randall Shepherd

From early childhood Shep was intrigued with Radio and he began as a ham radio operator when he was about 13 years old according to his stories.

[ Courtesy: Steve Glazer / 06-18-2017 ]
According to the October 22, 1999 ARRL Letter, Vol 18, No 42. he was issued call sign W9QWN in 1938. This is confirmed by the callsign's first appearance in the Summer 1938 Amateur Radio Callbook, which would have made Shep 16 and not 13. The last listing for W9QWN was in the Summer 1947 Callbook. From 1947 to 1955 as he moved around Kentucky, Ohio, and PA he was issued several other call signs as was the practice at the time when moving to another radio district. In 1955 he received his fifth call sign, K2ORS, which is the one listeners became familiar with in his stories. Accordig to the Amateur Radio Callbook for Fall 1955, the first listing for K2ORS, he was living in New Milford, NJ. He continued to use ham all through his career and was still active on the air until he died in 1999 and K2ORS* became silent. *When the K2ORS call sign became available Shep fan Warren Ziegler quickly picked it up to insure that the call sign would continue it's connection to Shep. Also thanks to: Pete "The Greek," NL7XM, Radio Amateur Callsign Historian
Shep's Call Sign History
Getting Started

According to Shep's WOR radio broadcast of January 24, 1963,* he received his ham-radio license -- W9QWN -- on February 6 (which would have been in 1938, his first listing in the Radio Amateur's Callbook). Not long after, on a cold winter's night, he made his first -- albeit brief -- contact from his own ham station, using low-power Morse code on the 40-meter amateur band with fellow ham "W2KMX," said by Shep to be located in Brooklyn. In fact, research reveals that in 1938 Edward Phillip Tober, who indeed lived in Brooklyn at 5501 14th Avenue, held the ham call W2KMX, which he had obtained in 1937. Shep repeatedly tried to get Tober to send him a QSL card confirming his first ham-radio contact; however, Shep said he never received one.

According to the 1940 federal census for Brooklyn (4600 9th Avenue), Tober was then working as a "radio apparatus engineer." He was about the same age as Shep, having been born in New York City on December 16, 1921. During WWII, Tober was employed overseas by the U.S. Office of War Information (OWI) as a radio technician setting up radio facilities throughout the Middle East. After the war, he obtained the ham-radio call K2AJ, and worked as a production and publications manager at the American Institute of Physics in Manhattan, only a short walk from where Shep then worked at WOR. Tober passed away on September 14, 1994, and is buried in Cutchogue, Long Island, where his tombstone is inscribed with his ham-radio call sign.

Edward Tober

Edward's Obituary

Thanks to Steve Glazer

* On his May 1, 1968 show, Shep claims May 1st was his anniversary and he was 13 years old. Both facts are false which is further evidence that Shep tended to skew the facts quite often to accomodate a story.

Hammond Hams
Here is a list of known Hams in the Hammond area around 1938 when Shep was living there.

An interesting article about how many of the above contributed their services as ham operators to various govenrment agencies.

Thanks to Steve Glazer
Ham Radio Conventions
The American Radio Relay League
ARRL - Surfin'
Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, the Contributing Editor for Surfin', which is a weekly on-line column that appears on the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Web page, has dedicated this weeks column to his own memories of the man who inspired so many of us.
ARRL - "Oscar and the Ham" Video

In 1975 Shep hosted a 30 minute video for the ARRL
about Oscar - the Amateur Radio Satellite

More on Oscar: http://www.astronautix.com/craft/oscar.htm

Thanks to Bill Pasternak and Mark Wilson of AARL for providing the video
and for giving permission to post the photos.

ARRL - Morse Code Training Tape ARRL  Newsletter

In 1976 Shep did the introduction to the ARRL Morse Code Training Tape.
Thanks to Lowell Thelin for sending a copy from his collection

The National Association for Amateur Radio Newsletter had this article about Shep's passing away

The ARRL Letter Online Volume 18, Number 42

LinkARRL Website

CQ Magazine
QST Magazine

april 67

April 1967

In the October 1974 issue of QST Magazine, Shep wrote this short article.

In the January 1982 issue of QST Magazine, Shep was 'profiled' by Carol Colvin regarding his views on Ham radio.

In the December 1999 issue of QST Magazine, Shep's passing was announced.

Dayton Hamvention©
Shep appeared at the annual  Dayton Hamvention three times as guest speaker.
Thanks to Bill Pasternak WA6ITF of the Amateur Radio Newsline, I have received the following two audios of Jean Shepherd K2ORS speaking at the Day Hamvention.

LinkDayton Hamvention Website

1980 Dayton Hamvention©
 (2nd Appearance)
1985 Dayton Hamvention©
(3rd Appearance)
April 27,1985

Shep tells the story of the Little Orphan Annie
secret decoder ring.

(Note: This was recorded using a microphone on a table near the dais. There is quite a bit of echo.)

Shep tells the story about how, as a kid, he got into ham radio and then about how he goes out on a blind date with Schwartz and soon realizes that HE is the blind date.
(Note: This was recorded directly off the P.A. system and the sound quality is excellent)
Audio files copyright © Dayton Amateur Radio Association
NOTE: These tapes were provided courtesy of the Dayton Amateur Radio Association for Shep fans to hear and enjoy. They remain the property of the Dayton Amateur Radio Association and may not be reproduced for the purpose of sale, rental or any other fee based purpose without the express written consent of the Association.
QSL Cards - Links
Shep's 1938 QSL card
From May 1, 1938, in the days before he was K2ORS and was almost 17 years old.
courtesy: Tony Ricicki (W2VRK)
Steve Glazer's QSL Card
This is my QSL card autographed by Shep with his ham radio call. I had him do it in the late 1960's at Rutgers University when he performed there.