W6XM - November 29, 2005

Edmund H. 'Ed' Marriner
San Luis Obispo, CA
Born 1915

Edmund Hayes "Ed" Marriner, W6BLZ/W6XM, an ARRL member, was the author of dozens of construction project articles in CQ, QST, Ham Radio and 73, from the 1950s until the 1990s.

He passed away on 29 November 2005 at age 90 after being inducted into the CQ Amateur Radio magazine Hall of Fame on 22 May 2005.

Born in Lincoln, NB in 1915, Ed moved to Laguna Beach, CA in 1924. Here, in 1933 he was co-finder of the 17,000 year old Laguna Beach Woman skull, one of the oldest skulls ever found in the USA.

He lived in La Jolla from 1946 until he retired as Electronics Engineer with the U.S. Naval Electronics laboratory (NELC) after 34 years of civil service including jobs with the F.B.I, Civil Aeronautics Administration, and the Scripps Oceanography Research unit of the University of California's division of War Research Department.

He was an amateur radio pioneer, and was elected to the CQ Magazine Hall of Fame in 2005 in recognition of hundreds of articles he wrote about ham radio construction. In 1998 Ed and his wife moved to San Luis Obispo. They celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on July 7th 2005. Marriner edited the "Ham Notebook" column in Ham Radio for several years. He also wrote about linear amplifiers and the advent of SSB.

My Wireless Life
          Ed. Marriner W6XM ex-W6BLZ
          55 Broad st, Apt 251
          San Luis Obispo, Ca. 93405

I have a good memory back starting when I was several years old. I was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, August 15, 1915. I had three brothers, one of which had a Spark Gap transmitter. He belonged to the Lincoln Radio Club prior to 1917. When World War One started in April he had to take his antenna down. I can very well remember he had to climb out on the roof and unhook the antenna which went to the barn. He let me play with the old hard rubber insulators. The old Leyden Jars he powered his set with lay on the attic floor for several years.

In 1922 when I was seven years old the fad was to build crystal set receivers. My father took be to the Woolworth Department store where they sold crystal set part. You wound a big coil on an oatmeal box and attached sliders to find the station frequency. Then yo tickled the crystal wire until you heard a station.

During 1924 we moved to Long Beach, California. Here I met a neighbor boy who showed me how to make a telegraph sounder by winding wire on two nails which when energized would pull a T shaped pieced of tin down and make a sound. This way I learned the symbols of the CW code sending on a wire between our houses. One of my other buddies Bob Burns was a little more advanced and obtained his ham ticket. Later on in years he spent 30 years on an oil tanker between Long Beach and the Northwest. I can remember mostly about Bob at the time was his full set of the Rover Boys Books, Tom Swift Books and the Motor Boys books which he used to loan me.

By 1927 we had moved to Laguna Beach, where I met a real amateur Spark operator 6SK (W6BXQ), Lynn Aufdenkamp. His station was in a Log Cabin and the Spark was buried in the ground. He had been one of the few to contact the test in 1923 of a ship going to Hawaii Another Old Timer here was Al Phelps W6AKC (6LR?) By now I was hooked on the adventure of CW. By listening on a home made regenerative receiver I learned to read the code quite fast. I would pick up the shore stations KFS, KOK, KTK as they made their VVVVV de KFS and recognized that. I used to listen to the station on Catalina Island talking to the mainland. I was an avid SW buff by now with what seemed adventure listening to Indo China and other long away stations. With the help of W6BXQ I was ready to take the Amateur License having memorized the ARRL pamphlet "How to Become a Radio Amateur." My technical ability increased when in High School I put a piece of crystal across the old Brandes Earphones in the Physics Class and clipped them on to the water faucet so that I could hear a local BC station.

June 1931, and school was out. My brother drove me to Los Angeles and left me at the YMCA on Sunday so that on Monday morning I could take the Radio Exam. The Radio Inspector was a kindly man who smoked a cigarette from a long holder. He was a kindly man and told me that I passed my test. It took three months for my License to arrive as W6BLZ. I was ready with the help of W6BXQ. We had receiver on a board, and a UV201 tube, copper tank coil, a grid coil wound on a broom stick all ready to go on 80 meters. To get a wire outside we broke a three cornered file and dipped it in kerosene and with a twist drill made a hole in the glass window to get the wire out side. Several pals helped me drag two Eucalyptus trees down from the hills three miles away on a wagon we cut in two parts. Using coffee can we dug holes to erect the poles, then up went the off center Hertz antenna. The feeder clipped on to the tank coil through a .001 mfd capacitor and we were on air. There was not much activity on 80 meters in the day time but I did manage to contact a station in Lancaster, Calif. My activity drove my friend W6BXQ to 40 meters as we blocked each others receiver.