Don Wallace and W6AM
Don Wallace, a ham radio pioneer who worked as an amateur radio operator since 1913, operated W6AM as a ham radio operation from his land atop the Palos Verdes Peninsula at the junction of Armaga Springs road and Highridge road. His antennae farm included a huge installation of rhombics antennaes each perched upon telephone poles, some over 150 feet tall. The site was originally acquired in the 1930's by Press-Wireless, owned by a group of newspapers to receive news dispatches from around the world. During WW II, the War Department used the facilities to communicate with battle operations in the Pacific, relayed to Pearl Harbor. In 1945, Don Wallace bought the land from Kelvin Vanderlip who, in order to control deed restrictions, had bought the land from Press-Wireless.
Wallace Ranch Antennae Farm
The station in 1945 had 120 acres of land with 16 rhombics, the longest being 1500 feet (end to end). This 1500 foot rhombic is widely believed to have been the largest beam antenna ever in amateur service. He had 61 telephone poles, each at 80 feet and another 90 feed line poles (25 feet high each). These antennas were fed by 52 MILES of feed lines.
In 1942, William Arthur Schuler, 23, who lived in Palos Verdes Estates and worked for Press-Wireless, was arrested by the FBI for spying.l He had offered to transmit messages to foreign agents using the Press-Wireless transmitters. He got six years in the federal penitentiary.
In 1962, Don had to sell 95 of the acres (to pay the property taxes) and he collected the grand sum of $100K for the 95 acres. Don then consolidated his antennas. He installed ten 140 foot poles on the perimeter of his remaining 25 acres with rhombics layered every 6 feet in various directions with rhombics beginning at the 90 foot level and going in layers of 6 feet up to 140 feet high.. Height of the rhombics varied from 100 to 140 ft. In the late 60's or so. Don operated his array up until he died in 1985.
Don Wallace also operated his ham radio from his car.
The land which Mr. Wallace owned is today several condominium and luxury home developments including The Wallace Ranch.
Late 1960's view of Intersection of Crest Road and Highridge road with Wallace Antennae Farm on left. The home development on the right was constructed in the mid and latte 1960's when plans for Palos Verdes State College were abandoned in favor of the current location of California State University at DominquezFor more interesting things about the Palos Verdes Peninsula and it's history see Palos Verdes Secrets & Little Known Facts
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