1937 Montgomery Ward Ham Station


Eighty years ago, the October  and November issues of Radio News carried a review of the model OR-5 transmitter for the 160 through 10 meter bands put out by an unlikely supplier for ham gear, namely Montgomery Ward & Company.

The reviewer, Everett Walker (whose call was, coincidentally, W2MW, whose 5 meter station we previously featured), posted an overall favorable review of the transmitter: “the small transmitter proved itself an excellent all-band unit on small power. On the higher frequencies it proved a good competitor for the 500 watt transmitter used at W2MW. On the lower-frequency bands it put out a signal that could compete with the normal QRM with more effectiveness than was expected. The transmitter also was tested on 160 meters, not at the writer’s station, but at a nearby station that was equipped with an adequate antenna. Here it put out a good signal and the operator who made the test reported local communication was excellent and more than six “out-of-the-district” stations were worked within a short time.”

He noted that the rig put out 60 watts CW on all bands but 10 meters, where it put out 40 watts.

The rig was geared mostly for the CW man, but the accompanying OR-7 modulator was also available for AM use. In the photo above, the transmitter is at the right, with the modulator in the middle. The accompanying receiver on the left, whose model number is not stated, is also from Montgomery Ward.

2 thoughts on “1937 Montgomery Ward Ham Station

  1. Kurt Zimmerman (W2MW)

    I get more excitement about learning what my Grandfather did in his prime in Amateur Radio. The first thing that jumped out at me with the picture of my Grandfathers station was the desk. I remember that desk when I use to sit on my Grandfathers lap as he “played radio”. Back in 1937 I do believe he was living in Bloomfield, NJ, on Mt. Avenue not Wilber Terr.

    The station I recall my Grandfather had was a Collins 75A-4 with a kit built transmitter, Knight t-150. His antenna was a 40 meter ZEPP where he ran the twin lead across the basement ceiling to a 66′ wire out through the house and to a pole behind his house.

    My Grandfather was not a big DX’r nor contester but use to ragchew on 40m CW especially with his good friend George Batterson W2GB from upstate NY.

    Thanks for sharing Rick!!

    Best 73;
    Kurt – W2MW


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *