Earl. my fathers name was Ralph Earl Kepler and he was born April 9, 1899 in Dayton , Ohio. he got his start in radio with crystal sets and became a telegraph operator in 1914 for the now defunct Postal Telegraph company. His father and grandfather worked on the weekends for the wright brothers of Dayton in their bicycle shop helping to craft their rudimentary first airplanes. My dad published a newspaper called the junior news when he was 12 years old in 1911. W80T was my dads second ham radio call letters though I don't know what his first set of call letters were. He operated a hallicrafters bc 348 transmitter and had a 40 foot pole in the backyard that we helped set up with guy wires. HE LOVED TO TALK TO OTHER HAMS ACROSS the globe throughout my childhood. He had many friends he met from this activity and traded calling cards with quite a few from all over the world. When he died in 1970 his call letters went to you and I'm happy to hear that you have maintained it since!
Sunday, February 27, 2005 10:15 PM The message below was received from Eugene Kepler, the son of the origial holder of my Call, Ralph Earl Kepler.Since Eugene isn't a Ham, he was unaware that the BC 348 was a very good receiver and that his dad probably had a good AM/CW transmitter to use along with it.
In 1977, I obatained my Call sign of W8OT. My original call sign was WA5FHR which I got in 1962 when I passed my Conditional test in Monticello, Arkansas.
When I came to Michigan in 1967, it was traded for WA8YAS which I kept till 1977 when Extra ckass operators were authorized to request 1x2 calls. I submitted the allowed three preferences, and got none of them. For some reason and to my delight, I was issued W8OT .
Found this old QSL card issued by R.E. Kepler back in 1954.
My name is Gary Cheek / Amateur call sign is KG8LB . I currently reside in Utica, MI .
Back in the late 1960s as a teen age kid I was working for a local radio store "Hershel Radio" . One late Saturday on a winter evening I was attempting to close the store and count out the money . The store manager had been taken ill so I was doing this alone and a bit shaky at that !
About half way through the ordeal a very old , grey haired main tapped on the window and asked that I open the store for him . I attempted to wave him off but he persisted, at last pulling a tube from his pocket to show what he was after . I immediately recognized the 6146 as it was the same as the final in my Eico 720 . At this point I could not refuse to help a ham radio operator . I let him in supplied the much needed tube and we wound up chatting a while . The chat got me an invite to visit his "shack" about 4 miles away . A few days later , I mounted my trusty bicycle and made my way to station "W8OT" . As I recall it was on Rome Street in Warren.
Once at the QTH I saw ham gear , the likes of which I had only read about . No , not Collins S lines or KW-1 transmitters , SPARK gear ! Of course he had a Ranger and an old BC348 , among other pieces . It was the spark gear that really caught my eye . He pulled out of a cabinet a wooden , sliding top box with a DeForest Audion tube . In the box was a hand written note from Lee DeForest himself stating that he had made the changes as Ralph suggested . Ralph proudly showed me his collection of QST , every issue from Vol I No 1 to present . BTW , The "Shack" was indeed a shack in the back yard .
The antenna system was guyed , wooden supports and open wire feeders with waxed wood spreaders . I bought a few pieces of military gear from Ralph and he presented me with an old Thompson Levering telegraph key that he had used when he was a telegraph operator in Ohio . As far as I know , Ralph was a pure CW op and he had little use for microphones .
I still have that key . Perhaps it should go to you , since you have the call .