Jane Cary and Fred Schempp were both part of a communications boom in Schenectady in 1967. Cary talked to local friends on the mobile telephone tucked under the dashboard of her Chevrolet Impala convertible. Schempp used a ham radio to reach folks all over the world. Cary could talk on her mobile phone without any worries about breaking the law in ’67. And texting was still decades away. Schempp and about 14 of his friends at Van Antwerp Junior High School in Niskayuna were in the ham radio brigade. The electronics fans had been assembled in February 1967 by Robert Brown, who taught industrial arts at the school.
Jane Cary sits inside her Chevrolet Impala convertible and talks to a friend on her car telephone. The futuristic service, provided by Schenectady Telephone Answering Service Exchange, was big business in 1967.
Schenectady City Manager Peter F. Roan, right, talks on one of Schenectady Telephone Answering Service Exchange’s “Princess” telephones in May 1967. Ronald Cookingham, general manager of the company, shows off some of the equipment that made quick communications possible.
Telephone operators for the company take calls and messages at their Union Street headquarters. The communications experts were working with car radio-telephones and radio pagers.
Young electronics fans at Van Antwerp build ham radio equipment from spare parts in May 1967. From left are Fred Schempp, George Abrahams, Grant Fullman, Edward Boucheron, Martin Chader and Frank Ayers.
Ham radio fans at Van Antwerp Junior High listen for signals in 1967. From left are John Breuer, Randy Cahall, Philip Weissman and Rob MacKenzie. The Van Antwerp radio gang’s call letters were “WB2ALD.”