Norm Freidin VE3CZI’s Story
During my Teenage years, in Moose Jaw, Sask, I was an avid reader of Science Fiction Books borrowed from the Library. During one visit, I happened to pick up a book called SOS at Midnight written by a Ham. It was about 2 Teenage boys, who were Hams and knew High Speed Morse Code. They were kidnapped by a Drug Gang to help decipher a Morse Code message sent from their rivals as to the location of the next Drop .So on it goes
On the rear of the book, there was a note that if you were interested in Amateur Radio, contact the ARRL, who referred me to the Dept of Communications (now Industry Canada).
I initially started trying to learn about Electronics from an OLD ARRL Handbook, but found it, technically, too deep for a beginner, so I packed all my books away…until I went into Grade 10 when a Radio Club was started by the Math Teacher and I joined eventually getting my Amateur License in 1960 at 15 Years old.
My first Station, with call of VE5DF, went on the Air with a G5RV, Hallicrafters S-40A Receiver and Heathkit DX-100B Transmitter.
The DX-100B was built from a Kit…I initially wanted a cheaper CW Tx but my Dad asked if I would I not want to advance to using a Mic ..I said YES and he commented that maybe you should buy the bigger Tx NOW..preparing for the future…Oh my Dad was Sooo smart as that was what I was hoping to do! [I bought it with my own money too!] After finishing the Tx I used it very successfully on CW, but when I got my Advanced and went to use it on AM Phone, the first time I turned on the High Voltage I heard a terrible Arcing sound from inside! After taking the unit apart, I found that during construction I had left a large Blob of solder hanging down from one of lugs on the Plate Choke, which was “inches” above the chassis, but the Blob was only millimeters from the chassis..of course, it worked OK on intermittent CW, but with AM using a constant voltage it flashed over….a quick swipe with a hot soldering gun solved the problem…one of my many lessons learned via Amateur Radio.
A few years later I upgraded to a TH-3 Jr Beam, Tri-Band Vertical, G5RV Dipole, Hammuland HX-129X Rx , Johnson Matchbox Heathkit DX-100B Transmitter
And my first Workbench:
My first mobile: Homebrew Tx with 75M converter using the car radio as an IF..Don’t remember what the Antenna was! Was installed in my Mother’s Renault.
I was a good Ham by participating in ARES Activities
In 1966, after getting my Electronics Technology Diploma, I moved to Montreal to work with Bell Canada, Marconi & Canadair. I had the Call of VE2DDF later changed to VE2CA.
During my time in Montreal I was involved with the VE2RM Repeater Group, was Emergency Co-ordinator for Greater Montreal.
In 1969 I left Montreal and relocated to Guelph, Ont where I worked for ITT Canada in the Calibration Lab working on Test Equipment. I received the VE3CZI Call that I’ve used ever since. On my first day in Guelph I was invited to help install the VE3KSR Repeater at Baden, Ontario and eventually built the first CW Identifier for VE3KSR with the design help of the Engineers at ITT Canada.
While in Guelph I started a side business repairing Automotive Tune-up Equipment, helped set up the ARES Group in Kitchener and started the Guelph ARC Bulletin. It was in Guelph that I met my XYL Mary starting a family.
I left Guelph for Scarboro, Ont to become the National Service Manager of King Electronics who manufactured Automotive Tune-Up Equipment and I spent some time traveling from coast to coast twice, setting up Service Facilities for our products and meeting many Hams in various cities.
I was a member of the Scarboro ARC and ran the Swap Shop on the local Toronto VE3RPT Repeater for 3 years.
During my time in Scarboro, I changed jobs and started working for Motorola Communications Canada, who hired me based on my Electronics Background and Interest in Ham Radio
Radio Station VE3CZI in Scarboro [Antenna was initially a Mobile Whip off the 7th Floor Apartment balcony later I moved to top floor and was allowed to put a 3 element beam and 80M dipole on the roof…14 story bldg.
> National NCX-5 Transceiver, 2M Converted Marconi Base Station. Note the Homebrew Radio cabinet <
We eventually moved to Hamilton,ON , with Motorola and was involved with the Hamilton ARC as Bulletin Editor, other positions and eventually elected Club President. In 1981 I assisted in starting Com-Tech Radio in Burlington, which gave me reason to move from Hamilton Mountain [with a nice Beam on a Tower and the advantage of being on the Escarpement (300 Ft A.S.L ) allowing me to enjoy much DX] to my present address in Burlington where I use mainly Wire Antennas and Verticals.
Radio Station VE3CZI in Hamilton: [TA-33 Jr Beam, 80M Dipole, 2M Swiss Quad Beam and 2M Vertical on a 50Ft Delhi Tower.
> Heathkit Mohawk Rx, Maurader Tx, 2M was converted Motorola Mocom’70 The Custom Operating Bench was SO big it had to be built in sections to allow assembly <
During my many years in Burlington, I became involved in the local Burlington Amateur Radio Club wearing many hats in the Club Executive, providing support in areas where I felt my background was of value.
I have always enjoyed Amateur Radio and think it is one of the greatest hobbies around. However, due to Technology advancements I believe that there is more interest in using the Technology rather than knowing HOW things work. With this in mind, I started Techie Night, which has been running for the past number of years with appreciative support from regular attenders, but would like to see more new licensed Amateurs attending, giving me ideas as to what they would like to know more about. The topics of interest in Ham Radio are very diverse and I’ve probably played with many of them….not all…yet!