The miracle of wireless communication has ceased to be a miracle and has become a matter-of-course; the tool of some and plaything of thousands.
But about the little radio station of ARTHUR COLLINS, local amateur, in the third story of his home, 514 Fairview Drive, there still clings the glamour of the unusual.
For it was only a few days ago that Collins won national note when he talked in code with the MacMillan scientific expedition in Arctic seas, conversing with that remote section of the world for the first time using a twenty meter and sixteen meter wave length.
To the tall, quite, modest youth of 15, there is nothing particularly remarkable about his achievements.
A chat with Chile or an exchange of patter with Australia is as casual a performance to him, as for you to gossip across the back yard fence with your neighbor.
And even when the National Geographic society wrote him a letter, thanking him for his aid in taking messages from the expedition it is sponsoring, he almost forgot to mention it to his eager interviewer.
A LETTER FROM TAHITI
Yet there is world romance convergent in the little attic room.
A letter came to him yesterday mailed from Tahiti in the South Sea Islands.
It had reference to a radio talk on July 4, and was written under that date, on board the yacht “Idalia.”
“When I connected with you this morning,” the letter said,
“I was 3,100 miles out of San Francisco, in the world’s longest yacht race, to Tahiti in the South Sea Islands.”
The letter goes on the explain that it has been “quite rough” and that as the yacht was only fifty feet long it had been hard to keep the wave steady.
It closed with a request that Collins mail a card to the writer’s home in California. It was signed “RAY NEWLEY.”
Again yesterday, the local boy received three cards from Australia, where his signals had been heard, one of them in a humorous vein by a writer who regarded prohibition as a joke, for he asked, “How does it feel to stay sober?”
He has talked with England, Scotland, India, Belgium, Porto Rico, Guam and Mexico. The other day an unknown friend in Chili asked to be pardoned from further conversation because a volcano was erupting and interfering with the talk.
“He referred to it as it was in his back yard,” said Arthur.
He has hundreds of cards from stations all over the world, many of which he has pasted on the walls.
But all this is but incidental to the day’s happenings for the high school boy, who has been a victim of the radio fever since he was 9 years old.
It was at that early age that he began to experiment, and he has been at it ever since, with the exception of the period during the war when amateur radio activities were handicapped.
He spends many hours a day in his little room, sometimes scarcely stopping to eat or sleep.