NOSTALGIA ATTACK! - Any Camp Albert-Butler "graduates" still around?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by N4MU, Nov 20, 2017.

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  1. N4MU

    N4MU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Did you attend one of the summer youth camp sessions sponsored by the Gilven-Roth YMCA in western NC? I was there, and passed the general exam (the FCC came to the camp to administer) in 1962. I had received my novice in November of 1961. I recall some great technical training (the Ameco book) and of course lots of CW practice with an [Ameco] CPO. Lots of usual summer camp activities too but the emphasis was on getting that general license. Any others out there who went to the camp? Good times...great camaraderie. That's what's missing now I guess.
    W5WN and AG1W like this.
  2. WB9JKF

    WB9JKF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I also attended Camp Albert-Butler. I think it was summer 1970. I was about 16 and my first time on an airplane (I lived in Chicago). Being from Illinois, I thought the whole world was flat as glass, so my first time in the NC mountains was incredible. I went with my buddy Tom (W9TR). Wonderful people running the camp. I still remember the song that we sang before breakfast/dinner in the mess hall . . . "Morning has come, the board is spread, thanks be to god, that gives us bread". Indicative of a different time, but what an inclusive and warm atmosphere.

    I came to camp with a novice license and about six months CW experience. At the end of the week when we went to town to the FCC offices for exams, I passed the General written but didn't quite make 13 wpm, so I received my Tech license. A couple months later I passed my 13 wpm requirement and passed the Advanced written. Couldn't ever get to 20 wpm to get my Extra, and now I kind of like the fact that I am an 'odd duck' with an Advanced license these days, although I haven't been active for a couple years since I sold my Drake TR-4.

    I was just reminiscing about my early days as a Ham and thought to Google Albert-Butler. I read that the camp is long gone but found your post. Glad to see someone else enjoyed that camp as much as I did.
  3. N4MU

    N4MU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Bill.
    I hope it's didn't say so I looked up your call on QRZ.
    Very nice to hear about your camp A-B experience! I was there during the summer of 62 I guess. I don't recall singing anything before meals but we may have. I can still remember one camper...Jo Hood Jr. (yes, that was his real name...LOL). He was from some place called Birmingham, Alabama...might just as well have been Birmingham, England to me back in my growing up near Buffalo days. Anyway, I googled Jo and came up with nothing. Oh well.
    I remember flying from Winston-Salem I guess it was. Not my first flight but may have been my first solo flight anywhere...that was to home BTW, my parents drove down there to drop me off now as I recall. No doubt my mother's idea...LOL
    I'm thinking of sending a note to QST to place one of those small "looking for" comments in the magazine...who knows, maybe we'll find others.
    Yes, A-B property was sold to someone/something, probably just after your visit. The YMCA folded or something. Can't recall the director's name right now but, and here's a goocher, turns out my [future...way in future] daughter-in-law grew up in Elkin. When I talked with her Dad one time (he died several years ago) he told me he knew the director very well (small town) and of course both of them knew about the camp.
    Another thing I recall is that they had a Globe King transmitter sitting in the main hall. That was such a great thing to look at. Made me drool!
    Anyway, thanks for the memories...that was cool.
    PM me so I have your email address please.
    I'll let you know if I place the "ad"...maybe we (others?) could have a reunion...LOL
    73, Bill
    PS. Director: Carl Peters...knew I'd think of it!

  4. W2AI

    W2AI QRZ Lifetime Member #240 Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

  5. KK4YWN

    KK4YWN Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is a neat thread. Two years ago my partner and I went to stone mountain to hike and I took an HT with me. I made a few 2m simplex contacts on the 'duck. I thought about putting together a packable 2m ssb rig with the intention of going back.

    I did a bit of google-mapping a few weeks later and found that there was a ridge behind stone mountain that might offer a better place to operate. During my googling I found that I wasn't the only person to think this: This is when I learned about Camp Albert-Butler. Neat.
  6. N4MU

    N4MU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for all the info. If anyone out there is, or knows of "kids" who went to the camp ham radio sessions I sure would like to be notified. I am seriously considering trying to organize a reunion if there is interest. I'm a bit surprised that considering all the years the camp had summer ham radio sessions I've only heard from a couple of actual campers. Thanks again!
  7. W9TR

    W9TR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Bill and Bill!
    I went to Camp Albert Butler for three years when I was in high school.

    I managed to dog my parents into sending me. It was my first time flying, ever, and by myself to boot.

    The first year I was in the boy’s cabin next to the rec hall. Our counselor was a guy named Jim. He was an accomplished guitar and mandolin player. Lots of fun. Not a ham, but a great guy. One night I remember waking up to a loud plop sound - there was a big (8ft.) black snake that dropped out of the rafters onto the floor. Scared the hell out of everybody. Jim just went over and picked it up and threw it outside. I managed to get my technician license that year- missed the 13 wpm code test by quite a bit. My first call was WB9IDS.

    The second year I convinced a couple of buddies to go - Bill, WB9JKF and Terry WB9GLQ. The counselor that year was Dan Blackburn, K5ZCO. I turned my technician ticket into an Advanced by passing the 13 wpm code test and advanced theory.

    Subsequent to that, I went on an explorer scout high adventure backpacking trip to the Weminuche Wilderness with Dan K5ZCO and John McCord, who was also at camp that year. That started a lifelong love of backpacking and the outdoors.

    My last year I was a counselor there for one of the boy’s cabins. I remember that Carl Peters, K4DNJ, the camp director, bought a new Drake 4 line and had it set up in a corner of the mess hall. Very cool! That guy had eyes in the back of his head - he knew everything that went on at that camp day and night. Ask me how I know. :)

    The teachers were great - some were EE professors from Georgia Tech and UNC. Some were retired. I remember Fred Harriman most - he personally spent a lot of time with me to help me break the 15 wpm barrier and get to 25 wpm solid.

    Right after I got my Extra the 1x2 calls went on a lottery and I managed to get W9TR.

    There was even a Camp Albert Butler weekly net on 40 meters that I checked into.

    After the camp closed Carl Peters ran the Glass Valley Amateur Radio school for several years.

    I may have more info about the Camp Albert Butler stashed away in our Colorado home - I’ll See what I can find.
    Tom, W9TR
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  8. W4ZD

    W4ZD Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Great stuff. History is fascinating, is it not? So many old stories that contribute to our remembrance of past days. :)
  9. W9TR

    W9TR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, a lot of stuff is coming out of deep memory about the camp and the time I spent there.
    Fred Harriman’d call came to me W4NMU. Most certainly an SK now.

    I remember a story that Carl Peters, K4DNJ, the camp director told us. Carl arranged to have an FCC examiner come to the Greensboro Armory to give everyone code and written tests. This is waaay before VE’s and the only way you get your license was to go to an FCC Field Office to take the tests.

    So you can imagine the tension was pretty high on test day. One of the campers took the 13 wpm CW test and handed it in. The examiner failed him. The kid said he was sure he copied everything perfectly for the required 1 minute. Turns out he copied off his paper right into the desktop. Carl got the FCC examiner to take a look. The examiner matched up the paper with what was on the desk top and the kid passed and got his general ticket!
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  10. K3AHP

    K3AHP Ham Member QRZ Page

    I attended Camp Albert Butler in the summer of 1961 under the direction of C L Peters K4DNJ. I was twelve years old at the time and I hoped to get my General ticket. Mom and Dad drove me down from Wheaton, Illinois in the Pontiac Catalina and dropped me off. I purchased a Greyhound Bus ticket from Winston-Salem to Chicago and came home by myself. I remember hiking, swimming, eating, and hot chocolate every night, in addition to code practice morning and afternoons, and theory classes, out of the Ameco Book, with a Georgia Tech college professor. Learned how to smoke that summer, Marlboro's, and got my first glances at Playboy Magazine in that secret spot under the bunk house. Passed the code test, but it took two more tries with the theory at the FCC field office in Chicago to get my General license. Great memories. Made a pilgrimage up there about ten years ago to see if I could find the place, but everything was gone and overgrown with weeds.

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