Medallion awarded to Ed Sax for his work as head of the Connecticut chapter of the Numerical Control Society
Portraits of Volunteers
The strength of our museum is our volunteers. They come from a variety of backgrounds and bring their experience and passion for explaining the history of communications. This page honors these volunteers.
Interview with Robert “Hi Fi" Bob Pienkowski, March, 2016:
VRCM: Tell me a little about your background and how you got interested in the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum.
BP: I am a radiological tech -- x-ray technician -- and I have had an interest in stereo equipment since the early 1970's. It was in 1999 when I met my friend Mike Urban, who has his own repair / restoration business that I began to restore and repair the stuff myself. I am 85% self taught, with help from Mike and various other people over the years. Now I buy, sell, and restore all kinds of equipment and have a nice collection of vintage vacuum tube pieces which I enjoy, along with early solid-state, turntables, CD players, speakers; you name it.
Also In 1999 I had heard of the Radio Museum – it was in E. Hartford then -- and decided to join. At first I was working on old radios for practice, such as Zenith tube Transoceanics. I loved the people and all the resources at the Museum, as I moved on to bigger and better projects with vintage hi-fi equipment. Read More..
Solar adaptive wall built by Ed Sax at the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum, Windsor, CT.
VRCM: Had you worked in the telephone industry?
GG: No. It was always a hobby of mine. My father was a mason contractor – always been in the building trades. When I was a little guy growing up, I would find a discarded old radio or telephone, take the thing apart and put it back together trying to figure out what made it work – and things like that (laughs). It was a sideline, kept me out of trouble (laughs). I had a couple of benches set up down in the basement. Mother would say, “What the heck are you doing? You take up more room than I do laying out the lawn chairs!” (Laughs) But I’d take things apart, save all the parts, put them all back together with nothing left over. But sometime I’d scratch my head and say why doesn’t this thing work?! And my father would yell, “Why do you think they tossed it out? It didn’t work and you’re trying to fix it!” (Laughs) Read More
... tell me a little about your schooling, your work experience, the things you’re proud of, how you got into ham radio and how you joined the museum.
DT: I grew up in southern Colorado, a place called Pueblo. From the time I was about four years old. We lived there until I moved to Connecticut just a few years ago. I graduated from South High school, went to SCSC: Southern Colorado State College at the time; was a speech major.
Got interested in broadcasting through the back door and ended up being journalism major. I was working at an electronics company basically sweeping floors and helping install aircraft radios and a few other oddball things we did, including putting out targets for satellites to look at for the military, which they had a contract for.Then a friend of mine called me out of the blue and said “How would you like to be on the radio?” He says it pays a buck twenty-five an hour. It was better than sweeping mass pieces of canvas out on the hot tarmac at an airport, and for the same money. So I decided O.K. and was working weekends at a little station called KFEL. It was owned by a gentleman named Max Cliffton. It was a religious station, but Max liked young people and he gave a lot of us start in the business;
The job entailed everything, so it was a trial by fire: you were on the air reading news off the old teletype; United Press International at the time. Read More..
Gene Gregory working on the museum's telephone diagnostic display.
GG: How I came about to become a… Well, my introduction was kind of by accident. Years ago I stopped at the triple AAA diner in East Hartford. And I was pulling in to find a place to park and in the window of the building next door was the back side of a Strowger telephone switch. Well, I knew what that was! So I went in for my cup of coffee and toast and I come back out and wandered over into the building and got greeting by John Ellsworth [museum director]… “Good morning! How are you?” And Paul was there too, remember Paul? [Paul Weigold] And he got to show me the museum and asked, “Do you want to become a member?” And I said Gee Whiz, why not? That’s how it all started.
Interview with Ed Sax, September 24, 2015 talking about his background & work experience:
VRCM: Ed, I’m going to ask you to “bare your soul” and just give me a quick biographical sketch of you, your profession, some of the things you’re proud of in your accomplishments…
ES: Well, tell you what. I’ll go back to college in which I majored in sociology under Talcott Parsons. And then on graduation went over to Europe to work with a group called the Winant Volunteers. That involved doing social work in London. After that I bicycled around Europe. Read More..
Bernie Michaels – Interview - February 19, 2016
Interview with Ed Sax on September 24, 2015 talking about the
Solar Adaptive Wall he built for the
Vintage Radio and Communications Museum
VRCM: What prompted you to create the solar adaptive wall? What were your expectations and your goals in making it?
ES: I’ve always been interested in solar technology. When we moved to West Hartford I put a couple of solar panels for hot water heating on the roof of our house. These panels, 4’ by 8’ in size, were made down in Stamford and shown in West Harford and I thought would fit our roof. Read More
Interview with Dan Thomas
Ed Sax - Retired engineer, museum docent, inventor and visionary.
Gene Gregory Interview – February 11, 2016
VRCM: I’m interested in a brief overview of your background, how you got interested in telephones and how you got involved with the radio museum.
Model of Ed Sax’s Omega Rail showing a cab and how the rails could be supported above ground by hoops anchored to concrete footings.
Interview with Ed Sax, September 24, 2015 talking about his Omega Rail concept
VRCM: Let’s talk about your monorail system. I keep calling it mono rail but you must have another name for it.
ES: Generally it is a form of monorail, but I call it Omega Rail because of its shape; it’s open at the bottom, just like that Greek letter. And it also has interesting allusions, like from Alpha to Omega and all of that.
VRCM: What was your motivation for coming up with the concept?
ES: Well, that’s interesting. It came to me a long time ago when I was thinking of some kind of universal building block. I used to work in laboratory equipment and framework for laboratory and industrial benches. While trying to think of a more universal type of framework, I came up with the idea of the Omega Rail and it’s profile. Read More..
Bernie at the radio museum display at a recent Open Cockpit event at the New England Air Museum
Solar Adaptive Wall (SAW)
VRCM: Tell me a little about your background, how you got into amateur radio and your involvement with the radio museum.
BM: Well, I guess I was born with a radio gene. I grew up in Rochester, New York. My dad had worked for the Stromberg-Carlson company before I was born. They started out making telephones but expanded to radios, and later into TV and sound equipment – hi fi amplifiers, school intercom systems and military audio stuff. He had boxes of radio parts in the basement and as a kid, I used to play with them… didn’t know what they did, but they were interesting!
When World War Two ended, I got hooked on building one-tube pocket radios. Military electronic parts were flooding the market for pennies, and I built several of these things to listen to local AM radio. The radio might fit into your pocket, but then there were the batteries, headphones, antenna, and on and on (laughs). Then one of my dad’s Popular Science magazines had an article on building a one tube receiver for 10 meters. Read More
John Bayusik Interview – 3-13-2016
VRCM: Briefly tell me about your background, what you did for a living and how you got involved with the radio museum.
JB: Well I started getting interested in radio when I was a kid because my grandparents lived with us and they had this huge Zenith console with the “green eye” and it was fascinating that you could listen to all these places all over the world. And radio was always kind of… I had other interests but radio was always in the background.
For a living, I had been working in chemistry for the last 49 years as a lab technician but electronics came in handy from time to time to get the equipment running again. Read More..