Miss Helen E. Cooke, 19, daughter of Mrs. Blanche P. Cooke of 32 West Housatonic Street, enjoys the distinction of being the only licensed woman amateur radio operator in this city and one of the very few in the United States. She but recently passed her federal examinations for her license and is now privileged to talk through the air with the world at large or at least as far as she can with her sending apparatus. Miss Cooke is as enthusiastic an amateur as one would care to meet. She thinks nothing of sitting at her key until the early morning hours, carrying on two way conversations with stations in widely separated parts of the United States.

Her interest in radio communication dates back but two months. It was just before Christmas that a friend, Prentice Bailey, himself a well known amateur in this city, helped her build her station and taught her to use the continental code. Then followed a few weeks of intensive study and finally the examinations. She sends about 15 words a minute and receives about 12. This is unusually good, according to well versed amateurs, for one who has been at it for so short a time. Already Miss Cooke has “worked” seven of the nine radio districts of the United States and has talked with a Swedish ship, far out on the Atlantic.

Miss Cooke’s station is located in the family living room. Its call letters are W1AJJ. It is seven and one half watts in power and employs the Hartley circuit. A standard low wave receiver completes the outfit. Right on the wall before her are her license, proudly exhibited to all who come, and also two confirmation cards from other stations, the first she ever “worked.” The young lady is also a member of the local “ham” club, the Berkshire Brass Pounders, and under the careful tutelage of some of the club’s veteran operators, she is gradually increasing her sending and receiving speed. Some of the old timers in the club predict a bright future for her as an amateur for she exhibits unusual skill.

Miss Cooke is private secretary to L.K. Fyler at the Eaton, Crane & Pike plant. She is in many ways the envy of her friends who know of her work “on the air.” Incidentally, she is the only woman in western Massachusetts to hold an amateur license and only the third in the entire state.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989. She can be reached at jmaschino@berkshireeagle.com.