Former Radio Club advisor returns package of radio history
Retired professor and Radio Club advisor returns package of ham radio history
March 30, 2012
When Melvin Miller, ’57, opened the December issue of Loyola magazine, the retired chemistry professor was surprised to see a photograph of himself with some of his former students—and Radio Club members.
He sent Loyola magazine a shoebox full of the club’s QSL (Query Station Location) cards, postcards unique to each station that helped operators build connections with those they had spoken with by radio.
“Some of the cards were collected a little bit before I got there,” explained Miller, whose interest in radio started when he was a student at Mount St. Joseph High School in Baltimore. When he came to Loyola, he learned the Radio Club had been founded shortly before his arrival, and he joined.
When Miller returned to his alma mater in 1963 to teach chemistry, he also became advisor to the Radio Club. He had saved the QSL cards, which the club received from other ham radio operators around the world.
“You don’t get a card from them until you talk to them,” Miller said. “It is unfortunate that most of them do not make it clear that the club’s call sign was K3 IQG—I for India.”
Many of the cards are colorful and feature decades-old stamps and postmarks, in addition to a variety of designs. Some are from a country that no longer exists, the USSR. “I have a picture here of Tolstoy and Gorky that I got from Russia, and the one guy’s got a beard down to his navel. A card like that is a real treasure.”
The QSL cards will find a home in the Loyola University Maryland Archives, thanks to Miller, who lives in Bel Air, Md. The father of two and grandfather of five has kept his interest in ham radio.
“It’s been a good hobby,” he said. “It changes with the time of the year and the weather conditions, but I still occasionally work with Europeans, and I also have a portable transmitter that I work in my car. When I first got it, I was riding down Loch Raven Boulevard and I was talking to someone in South America. I took it out then because I thought, ‘I can’t drive and talk on the radio at the same time.’”