WØELA - January 25, 1992

Clyde F. Norton
Minnetonka, MN
Born April 17, 1913

QCWA # 584
Charter 8
First President of Chapter 8  

Clyde is the only Minnesota Ham listed in the 1953 QCWA Yearbook (pg43)

I'd be glad to tell you what I know about Clyde Norton WØELA! He was my backyard neighbor for many many years when I also lived in Ivanhoe Woods, which straddles the border between extreme northeastern Minnetonka and southeastern Plymouth MN.

My first impressions of Clyde came as the young 13-year-old Novice WNØPEV being confronted with a grumpy Old Timer who was angry that the key clicks from my Knight-Kit T-60 were intruding into his previously pristine reception on the bands! After obtaining my telephone number, he repeatedly called to grouch and complain, even to my mother! He never really offered much positive advice to me other then "Stop calling so many CQ's and LISTEN more!" He became the "Anti-Elmer" to me; a Darth Vader of ham radio!

So Clyde / WØELA was not a member of the NAQRO group before he became a Silent-Key. But in a rather ironically twisted way we eventually adopted him as a symbolic character. One of those antagonists who while annoying at the time, now nostalgically add color and spice to the whole experience! Eventually I snatched his call sign for special event purposes, and I will admit, for a sort of poetic revenge!

Don't get me wrong. As time has passed I have also come to have great respect for the WØELA radio operating style and DX accomplishments. He was reportedly on or near the top of the ARRL DXCC Honor Roll for a long long time. Allegedly, Mr. Norton worked for Northwest Orient Airlines and made many a ham radio oriented acquaintance traveling the world. Usually I would hear the WØELA call only when he was trying to break a DX pileup for a brief contact. On the rare occasion I would hear him rag-chewing it was with some far away station that my little station had little chance in hearing, and it was obvious from the conversation that they had had an eyeball QSO.

Clyde was a master CW operator and had a deep melodious growl of a voice. His trademark phonetic was "Dubya Zero ENGLAND LONDON AMERICA." I believe that in the 1960's he was using a Collins 75A and a Central Electronics xmtr (100W?). His QTH was nestled well into the woods and it was hard to see the 20m monobander on top of a wooden utility pole as it stuck out just above the treetops. Later he put up a small tower between the trees with a 15m monobander, but I rarely heard him on any band other then 20 meters. (Unless it was a harmonic!)

Clyde Norton was a long time member of the Twin Cities DX Association (TCDXA) which was a very formal and elite organization, but I hear that lately they may have changed and loosened their neckties a bit. I am sure there are some members that can expound further on Clyde and the WØELA accomplishments. Start with Mark Franklin KØKX who is my closest contact into the TCDXA. He could probably steer you to others whom knew Clyde as well.

My real 'Elmer' was Russ Hughes, WØIFS, who lived a few miles up the road. He is a really great guy who gave me the Novice test, helped diagnose problems with my transmitter, and balance Clyde's more negative approaches, ha ha. Perhaps he is also on the QCWA list? I have lost touch with Mr. Hughes now. I believe he worked for Onan and was mostly involved with homebrew experimenting and DX on VHF, 2m AM in those days.

John, WØPV
Trustee WØELA