Ride That Bike!

Best Hobby A Young Man In The 1950's Could Have!

We Did It Our Way!

Bicycle mobile is just that... Taking your radio and a big hulking car battery and putting them on bicycles and ride around talking to other hams.

No big thing you say! Not in 1959, these radios were boat anchors! A car battery would last about 2-3 hours before it died!  Some of the cars were now 12V jobs and our radios were still 6V.  What did we do? Ed Heyman, my ham buddy, would drive a nail into the battery and pick up half the battery voltyage. We in essence had two 6V batteries.

If you look carefully on the back rack, you will see about 15 feet of armored cable containing two #10 wires.  We needed the armor so the ground wold not scrape off the insulation of weld the bikes together in a rather horrific fireball.

Bicycle mobile
Today they are called "Beach Cruisers"

Edward Heyman

Paul (WA6CJC) and Dear Ed Heyman (WA6EOA peddled all around Cheviot Hills with this contraption.  We traded off so each of use cold use our callsigned with a /mobile when talking. 

My dear friend has since passed and I do miss him.  Ed was very smart and a kind caring individual.

No laughing; that's Paul (me) getting "ready to ride"

Gonset Communicators

The Gonset Communicator III is a VHF receiver - transmitter. It was produced in a 2 meter and 6 meter version. Operation is from 12 VDC or 115 VAC. Power output is 6 watts in AM mode. The transmit frequency may be selected via six plug-in crystals (not supplied). This radio features a 1/4 inch headphone jack, meter, squelch, and spot function plus a public address feature.

Ed had a Comminicator II called the "gooney bird" because of its green eye! which was a forerunner of the signal strength indicator.  The "eye" would move when you walk so yhou knew the amplitude was being modulated, i.e. you were speaking!

Complete with five crystal channels!

Initial founder Robert Roman Gonsett was born in 1891 in The Ukraine Russia and emigrated to Eastern Canada in 1907. The family moved to California in 1916 and established the Gonsett Company in Burbank. Robert's son Faust R. (Robert) Gonsett was born in 1916. Faust was an early ham operator with the callsign W6DIZ. Robert R. Gonsett also established the Gonsett's Waterproof Electric Company with his son and the company supplied electrical equipment to the United States Navy during World War II and to the United States government after the war. In the 1930s, Faust contributed articles about transmitter modifications to RADIO magazine. In 1942, he co-edited the Radio Handbook, for years the major competition to the handbook put out by the ARRL. Robert senior died June 25, 1951. In 1958 the Gonset Company was sold to Young Spring and Wire Corporation Faust Gonsett became president and majority owner of Minitron Incorporated for a brief period in 1960 In 1963 Faust Gonsett started the company Side Band Engineers. In 2006 Faust was among the inaugural group of 50 inductees into the "CQ" Hall of Fame. Faust's son Robert F. Gonsett born in 1947 became WA6QQQ. Robert live in Fallbrook California [as of 2006] and is the present holder of the famous "W6VR" callsign.

Bicycle Mobile Was Not An Easy Task But We Were Young

Paul was a Ham Radio Operator (licensed as WA6CJC). . . I can remember WA6EOA (Ed Heyman) and myself wanted to do something unique so we decided to take our radio mobile.... of course neither of us could drive so we did the next best thing!

Ed strapped his Gonset Communicator on the back of his bike, I found a 12 volt car battery and strapped it to the back of mine!  We used armored house cable between the two bikes to carry the power and voila'. . . bicycle mobile! 

Bicycle mobile is just that... Taking you radio and putting it on a bicycle and ride around talking ot people.  No big thing you say!  Not in 1959, these radios were boat anchors! A car battery would last about 2-3 hours before it died!

Bicycle Mobile
Checking out the settings before peddling away

Yup!  Paul in Ed Heyman's driveway checking out the old Gonset III before going bicycle mobile all over Cheviot Hills on a Saturday afternoon and evening! Remember this was in the last 1950's and the Gonset was 20+ pounds and the battery was about 30!. . . We needed two bikes! I'd sure like to hear from WA6FOS ("Moose" - Founder Of Stalingrad), WA6EOB (Bob Fairfield), and WA6DSD (Name escapes me!).... it's been 30 years guys!!

Flash!!! Bob Fairfield, Ed Heyman and I met in June at Hamilton High School... Bob retired as a Colonel in the US Army Infantry!  Now a lawyer in LA!

The Bike
Notice the armored cabled

Neat old bike huh???  Wished I had it now!  Notice the coiled up electrical cable we used between the bikes to allow the battery (Ed powered) to connect to the Gonset (Paul powered).  It was about 20 feet long and was armored!

We Rode Around Hamilton High School

Because that's what nerdy people do duh!

Hamilton High School
Alexander Hamilton High School

Cheviot Hills

Cheviot Hills is bordered on the west by Rancho Park, on the south by Interstate 10, on the north by Century City and Westwood, and on the east by Beverly Hills. The district's boundaries are, roughly, Manning Avenue on the west, the Santa Monica Freeway on the south, Pico Boulevard on the north, and Castle Heights Avenue on the east. Principal thoroughfares include Pico and National Boulevards and Manning and Motor Avenues.

Originally a part of the Spanish Rancho Rincon de los Bueyes land grant, Cheviot Hills remained a pastoral area well into the 20th century. In the early 1920s, the area was subdivided, but significant residential development did not occur until the late 1930s,

Today, Cheviot Hills consists of a neighborhood of approximately 1400 single family homes, which tend to be more upscale in the northern part of the neighborhood, and smaller in the southern part of the neighborhood. Most of the homes were built in the 1940s and early 1950s. There are also some apartment buildings in the southern part of the neighborhood. The homes in the area are largely traditional in style.

Gonset Gooney  Box

Gonset II However, the most famous, and prevalent, Gonset radios were and are the Communicator series of AM transceivers for 6 and 2 meters. Gonset sold a bazillion of these. They were standard issue for Civil Defense/RACES and disaster communication. Both came in the same square, ungainly, metal box, looking a lot like something you'd keep bread in, but with SO-239 coax jacks on top. (This made a good place to screw on a whip antenna, when working outdoors in the field.) Early versions had "magic eye" tubes. Gonset also made an external amplifier, in a matching box, with the inevitable little window to look in and see how the finals (826s?) were doing.

This little radio, known affectionately as the "Goony Box," was cheap to begin with, and even more so used. However, it could stand up to portable use, and it pretty much opened VHF to hams.

Gonset didn't survive the transition to solid state. Faust Gonset sold the company to one of his suppliers, then it was sold one more time in the 60s before vanishing without a trace.

We Needed Six Volts

Necessity is the mother of invention.. I remember Ed had a knack for being able to drive a nail into a battery at the correct location in order to get 6 volts... what the old Gonset needed!

Repeaters Were Mandatory

We used the 144-148 MHz "2 meter" band.  I remember we used the repeater on Mt. Lee.... I can't remember the call sign now but they were quite excited when we signed WA6EOA/M   (Bicycle Mobile).