The "Zero-Five" Informational Thread Mar 28, 2016 13:06:49 GMT -5 spitfire441, cbrown, and 2 more like this
Post by Sandbagger on Mar 28, 2016 13:06:49 GMT -5
I've decided to create this thread due to popular demand from a few of the newer locals who participate in or listen to Classic Radio Roundup, and hear our frequent references to "Ol' Zero-Five", AKA "Firestarter" and his exploits with respect to building (and frying) amplifiers, his various radio experiments, and the on-air battles that he engaged in with some of the locals on Channel 21 back in the 2006-2012 timeframe. Essentially, I'll try to explain the "inside joke" by giving some background, and some links to still existing videos and audio recordings of "Ol' Zero-Five" in action....... Others, who were around during that time, are free to add their own perspectives and additional links as appropriate. Due to the controversial nature of the subject, I want to keep this as informational only, and not devolve it into a rock throwing contest. Although a few anecdotal chuckles are perfectly fine........ So here goes something.........
Gene was his name, Firestarter was his handle, and "Ol' Zero-Five" was his skip talking numbers. Gene was a local in the greater Pottstown (Pa.) area. Originally from the Cleveland (Parma) Ohio area, and more recently Miami Florida, Gene moved into our area in 2005, and it didn't take long for him to set up a CB station. The local channel at the time was 21, and he soon settled in there. But his radio had a nasty habit of squealing on a D104, and the other people on the channel got tired of hearing it, and would bust his stones about it. Eventually, Gene got tired of the criticism and he started getting a bit snarky with his responses and attitude. He was able to make friends with some of the group (Like Pete, myself, and a few other guys), but he also alienated a big portion of the group. And so began about 6 years worth of inter channel feuding. It was one side vs. the other, and Gene often lived up to his handle of Firestarter, as he seemed to thrive on the conflict. Some people felt that respect on a typical CB channel depended on how potent your signal was, and Gene was always looking to put out as many watts as he could get his hands on. Gene liked to portray the image that he was a financially well off individual, but instead of simply going out and buying the top shelf stuff, he'd go for the basket cases he could get for cheap on E-Bay, which he would invariably overdrive and cook. He finally decided that he needed to build his own amp, so he gathered up the parts and built one using a surplus dual plate Russian tube, which he complained gave him headaches when he transmitted with it. Then he converted the amp to use a 3-500z tube. But the used Ebay tube pull was gassy and he took a video of it, while he deliberately blew it out.
He liked to play with his homebrewed amps, but by far, his most reliable amp was a Collins 30L-1. He had 4 572b tubes in it, and it took the beating that Gene gave it for nearly 4 years before finally crying "Uncle" in 2012. At the pinnacle of his reign, Gene's CB station consisted of an Icom 756 Pro, which he had a $1000 Neuman microphone and mixer board attached to. On top, he originally ran an Imax-2000. In his quest for every last db of signal, he opted for a Maco 3 element beam (which he eventually traded to me, and I'm still running). When his wife made him take down the beam, he opted for a Maco V5/8th wave GP. He was also a ham (W8ETS) and he had a 2 meter all-mode radio and a Ringo on top.
Among his many hobbies and interests, Gene also liked to make videos. He made a couple of videos lampooning his radio adversaries, using kid's dolls as the "action figures". Some of the videos had some funny parts, like the firecrackers blowing up Bluebird's trunk full of documents (at 9:15 on the video), which BB claimed proved all sorts of strange government conspiracies, and was a source of periodic ridicule.
As if these sideline projects were not enough, Gene also decided that he wanted to run a pirate FM broadcast station. Once again, E-Bay was the source of all of his parts. But he did manage to put together a radio "station" which could be heard nearly 10 miles away, when he ran it at full power. I'm not sure why he wanted to do this, as most pirate operators do so to share their unique personalities and eclectic music tastes with an audience fed up with cookie-cutter commercial radio stations. But Gene didn't want to go through the trouble to put together a unique show, and was happy just rebroadcasting his satellite radio, occasionally interrupting to identify (WCRZY). At one point, he wanted to make his operation legal, so he tried applying for a LPFM license, but he got turned down.
This video was taken after Gene got wind that the FCC had been made aware of his pirate station and he decided to dial it way back.
Gene was also an avid boater, and he and his wife had a nice 34' Sea Ray, which he kept first at the Chesapeake Bay, then he had the boat shipped to Florida. Then when trips there became problematic, he moved the boat to a house that he bought at the New Jersey Shore. He also had a project boat that he kept at his house. Originally a twin engine Sonic, the engines had been wasted in a hurricane, and he tried to convert it over to a single engine. But he kludged together a parts-built engine that never ran quite right.
Gene also tried his hand at running a small business. He was a very good machinist, and started off making high performance antenna puck mounts for CB'ers. He also custom machined parts for automotive and firearm guys. Eventually he branched out and started making underwater LED lights for boats. He got in trouble with the local township for running a business out of his home, which happened because one of his radio enemies dropped the dime to the township.
To be continued............