1970's My Early Days in TDXS - George Wagner K5KG

In the mid-70’s, our family had been living in Anchorage for three years, where I worked for Exxon on construction of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS). In the fall of ’76, I got transferred to Houston to take on a new job with Exxon Chemical. In AK, I was active as a DX’er and contester as KL7IDH (aka Igloo Dog House). At the time we returned to Houston, a new vanity call program was under way. When applying for a vanity call, you had to specify a call sign. My first choice was K5DX, and my second choice was K5KG. I had been acquainted with Lloyd (W6KG) and Iris (W6QL) Colvin for several years, and that is why I wanted “KG” as the prefix if I was not to have “DX”. As luck would have it, Clarence Sharp was assigned the call, K5DX, and I was issued K5KG. My call was issued in October 1976, and I presume Sharp’s was issued at the same time. I joined TDXS in 1977 as #43. Sharp was TDXS #20.

I had previously been working for Exxon in Houston prior to going to Alaska to work on the TAPS project. I had been hired by Humble Oil and Refining Company, but soon after the name changed to Exxon. (Some referred to XOM as the Double Cross Oil Company). During those early years, I was not active on the bands, and did not know any local hams. However, upon returning to Houston in ’76, I paid a visit to Madison Electronics. There I met Don, K5AAD (SK), and he in turn introduced me to Tom, WA5LES (later K5RC). Tom wasted no time in introducing me to his operators at his contest station south of town. Well, this was ham radio as I had never seen it. I soon became one of the boys, thanks to Tom, and is crew. I no longer remember many of the call signs from back then, but Bill, K5GA and Dale, KG5U certainly come to mind. As time wen on, I was able to build a contest station at West End Lumber yard, owned by Bob, W5SJS. Over the next few years became a seven-tower QTH. Some of our ops have gone on to become outstanding contributors to our hobby, including K5ZD, K5GN, K7BV and N5KO. Other ops at the Lumber Yard station were W7SE, W5ASP, K5LES, KC5M, N5JJ, and K5TU. And many others whose names or calls escape me….sorry, guys.

In 1981, I volunteered to work on an Exxon project in Saudi Arabia. The assignment came through, and I worked there until 1986, after which I was transferred to Exxon Argentina and lived in Buenos Aries, and operated as LU8KG and K5kG/LU. In Saudi, I occasionally operated at HZ1AB. We never returned to Houston, other than an occasional drive-through to see where we had lived in Northampton in Spring and Lakewood Forest off FM 1960. As a family, we all have fond memories of our days in Houston.

I would be remis to not mention that Kim, K5TU was my stalwart QSL manager throughout my 12 years of living abroad and operating as K5KG/OH0/OJ0/VS6/LU/3B8…etc.

73, George K5KG
Retired on the beach in Sarasota, FL.


(used with permission 09-08-2020)