Armstrong Papers Open for Research…


The Edwin H. Armstrong Papers are now open to the public. Here is the online finding aid:

Working on Armstrong’s papers for the past year has been a tremendously rewarding experience for me. Not only did I learn a great deal about one of the greatest American inventors of the 20th century, but I had the great pleasure of collaborating with many engineers, most of whom are Columbia Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty. In addition, many radio hams came to my rescue, offering explanations and descriptions of apparatus and technical terminology. I  wish to extend a sincere thanks to all the engineers and radio hams (many of whom are also engineers) who exhibited a tremendous amount of patience in assisting me in understanding all the technical terms and ideas permeating this collection.

For hams, students and those interested in Columbia University history:

Alan Crosswell was kind enough to take me up to the attic in Mudd this past Friday (10th December). It had come to my attention via a Columbia University EE alum that an old piece of Armstrong equipment was living up there. Sure enough, Alan pulled it out of a cabinet.

Armstrong Apparatus: Paper recorder used to record electrical impulses on paper



Armstrong Tag: at one point was attached to box housing device














Armstrong Paper Recorder with carrying case





Armstrong Paper Recorder




The attic in Mudd serves to house W2AEE, Columbia University’s Amateur Radio Club. An abundance of apparatus can be found up there, including a Kenwood HF rig that past Columbia University President William J. McGill bought for the Club after he obtained his Novice Class License in 1977.

Kenwood HF rig, donated by William J. McGill in the 1970s



W2AEE Apparatus












W2AEE Apparatus



The Club history is spotty but a recent article (link: found by a radio ham in Lithuania indicates that Columbia’s Amateur Wireless Club was the earliest college amateur station in the United States. It was founded in 1908, predating Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Radio Society, W1MX (formerly 1XM) (, in 1909. W1MX should not to be confused with the MIT UHF Repeater Association, W1XM. (

QSL Cards hanging on the wall


W2AEE Station logbook from the 1970s



While on my visit, Alan explained that ham radio can only be legally used for person-to-person contact, broadcasting is illegal. So, in the late 1960s when Columbia University student activists used the Club to broadcast their dissenting sentiments, the FCC cited the Club for illegal transmissions.

W2AEE Banner: created by Alan Crosswell



I have included some pictures here which were taken Friday during my visit to W2AEE. Please see the W2AEE website for further history and information:

WKCR (Columbia University Radio Club) History: