Walter R. Creuz, 96, of Chatham passed away on January 31st after a short illness.
Born and raised in Newark, Walter had lived in Chatham since 1948. He had served in the U.S. Navy during WWII and studied Engineering at Newark College of Engineering. After a 36 year career in designing residential and industrial heating equipment, for which he was granted several patents, he retired in 1982. Aside from being an avid Yankee fan, Walter’s passion in life was Amateur Radio. He built his first receiver at the age of 16, became licensed, and was issued the call signal W2CIY, which still holds today.
Walter was the beloved husband of 69 years to Margaret. He was the loving father of Patricia Nevrincean and her husband George, and Robert Creuz and his wife Judith. He is also survived by his 5 cherished grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.
Walter Creuz W2CIY
On December 10, 2005 club member Walt Creuz W2CIY will celebrate his 90th birthday.
Walt was born and grew up in Newark NJ. His first involvement with radio was at age 12 (1928) when he decided to build a crystal receiver set that featured a wire-wound round oatmeal box (kits for such sets are still available see http://www.midnightscience.com/project.html).
When he was 15 (1931), Walt saw an ARRL magazine advertisement entitled “How to become a Radio Amateur”. Walt sent in his 10 cents and soon received a book on licensing and all the information he needed to build a working receiver and transmitter. He built the receiver first. Using a “bread board” (a rectangular piece of wood), screws, wire, and some parts he had to send away for, Walt built a regenerative detector and three 210A tubes with 2 stages of amplification. “It worked right away”, Walt said.
Tuning around, Walt heard other kids nearby who were transmitting. Very quickly he learned Morse code (CW) by studying and listening to the receiver. When he thought he was up to the 13 words per minute speed required for licensing, Walt took the “Hudson Tubes” over to the Federal Building in New York City (Pine, Nassau and Wall Streets) to take the licensing exam. He passed on his first try and was issued the call sign W2CIY, the call sign he still holds today!
With his license in hand, Walt then built a transmitter from the ARRL information. Early operation was the 80 meters CW band using the TNT oscillator coupled to a random length of wire run to a pole in the back yard. His first contacts were with hams around town. “DX” (long distance) became New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
Throughout high school and college, Walt continued to read up on new rigs in QST and in an ARRL handbook, which sold for just $1.00. He built a lot of gear including a receiver, transmitter, power supply and antennas. Later store-bought equipment was added, with each improvement adding to the enjoyment of ham radio. DX became a favorite mode of operating, both phone and CW.
When he was 17 (1933), Walt got involved with the Naval Volunteer Communication Reserve. He received an invitation to join from an “on-the-air” Naval Recruiter who had identified Walt as a promising operator. Walt’s unit met monthly in the Mountainside Hospital’s engine room, where they learned both about becoming a sailor and about Naval communication procedures. Walt remembers weekly CW drills on 3.590 MHz and active duty was available on summer cruises on a Naval ship to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which he did once.
Walt stayed active in the Reserve while he attended the Newark College of Engineering (now NJIT), earning a BS in Mechanical Engineering. While in college, he built several radio-related Heath kits. To earn money for these, Walt had a side-line business repairing neighbor’s radios and appliances and doing home wiring improvements.
After graduation, Walt worked for two years as an engineer for a heating products manufacturing company, but in 1940, with war clouds brewing and an emergency declared, he received his “Greetings!” letter from the US Navy saying that he needed to report to Norfolk, Virginia for active duty afloat.
When he reported, the Executive Officer assigned him to the flagship, the destroyer MacLeish, while his new-found radio buddy, Jack, was assigned to the destroyer Reuben James. In October 1941, the Reuben James became the first US ship sunk by a U-boat and Jack was lost, a twist of fate that still gives Walt pause. For the next three years, Walt served as a communications operator on destroyers escorting convoys in the Atlantic. He endured rough seas and witnessed several ships lost to U-boats.
In 1943, Walt was re-assigned to shore duty at the Naval Underwater Sound Laboratory in San Diego CA, “a good job”. He took that opportunity to finally marry his childhood sweetheart and now wife of 62 years, Margaret.
Walt in October 1944
In October 1945, Walt was released from active duty and he returned to his previous job. In 1947 he and Margaret bought a lot in Chatham Township. The following year, they and their two young children moved into a house they had had built (Walt did all of the heating and electrical work). Of course, he soon set up his radio station and operated whenever he could, although the obligations of family and extended offsite business assignments made that difficult.
Later a daily commute to north Jersey gave him the opportunity to work “DX” mobile using a Heath Kit 20 meter rig and a Hustler antenna in his car. His career log now shows over 250 countries worked. During this time, Walt also found time to volunteer as a RACES member in the Chathams, serve a term as club president for the NPARC, and be an active participant in the NJ chapter #77 of the QCWA, Quarter Century Wireless Association (Walt has now been a ham for nearly 75 years!).
After a distinguished career in the HVAC and energy recovery field where he held several patents, Walt retired in 1982. That gave him an opportunity to devote more time to amateur radio. At a hamfest, he saw an AMSAT demonstration of a satellite tracking program called InstaTrak, and Walt was soon “hooked” on satellite operating. In the “early” days of ham satellites, there were several high elliptical orbiting (HEO) satellites. The lengthy orbit time of these satellites permitted extended (one hour or more) QSOs (conversations) which Walt really enjoyed. He remembers being one of the first hams to hear AO-40 soon after it was launched in 2000 and sadly followed its loss a few days later. He also laments the gradual loss of most other satellites, since the remaining LEO (lower earth orbiting) are short pass satellites that permit only 3-10 minute QSOs. Nevertheless, Walt follows the satellite news and maintains a sophisticated satellite station. It includes a Yaesu FT-847 and a circularly polarized VHF and UHF Yagi antenna with azimuth and elevation control. Computer programs automatically point the antenna at the selected satellite and adjust the radio’s frequencies for Doppler effects. A cable Internet connection gives him weekly updates of the Keplerian satellite elements needed for those programs.
In fact, Walt has been using computers to assist his ham operations for many years. “I was into all the digital modes. In fact, I was one of the first guys around here to get into packet” using a Commodore PC. He said he had a lot of fun operating HF packet on 20 meters, working stations in Europe and acting as a DX digipeater station until HF digipeating was disallowed. An AEA PK-232 Multimode Controller allowed him to do not only HF 300 baud packet, but VHF 1200 baud packet, AMTOR, RTTY, and CW.
When the PSK31 digital mode appeared around 2000, Walt immediately got involved, buying a RigBlaster to make the required connection from his radio to his computer’s sound card.
Over the last few years, vision problems have made it a little more difficult for Walt to operate as easily as he would like. Nevertheless, he’s usually in front of the radio and computer for a few hours every day, listening for digital or satellite activity, following the latest advances in ham radio operations via the Internet, and staying young.
Happy 90thBirthday, Walt, from all your friends at the New Providence Amateur Radio Club! Our very best wishes to a true ham pioneer, unselfish patriot, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather – and good friend to many admiring hams.
Submitted by KC2RLM