A Phone of Our Own: The Deaf Insurrection Against Ma Bell|
Weitbrecht’s experience with his radioteletype station, one of the first on the air since amateur radio began, taught him the value of challenging government communications regulations. In January of 1951, he petitioned the FCC to permit radioteletype operation on a broader range of frequencies. After serious consideration, the FCC granted his request. The successful challenge opened more opportunities for RTTY communication among his amateur radio friends.
Weitbrecht left California in 1951 and moved to Yerkes Observatory at Williams Bay, Wisconsin, where he became known to other hams as “The Wisconsin Wizard.” At Yerkes he designed electronic instrumentation for use in astronomical research, earned a master's degree in astronomy from the University of Chicago, and aided in the development of the worldwide WWV-WWVH Radio Time Signal adopted by the National Bureau of Standards. He took many trips with radio users, lugging around huge pieces of equipment. During one trip in 1957 with his friend, Bruce Rowland, Weitbrecht drove 600 miles with a Model 15 TTY in his station wagon. Early one morning, he woke Bruce up to catch “Sputnik” speeding across the sky.
The Need for Portability