John Harnsberger, W6ZZK was born July 15, 1925 and passed away on June 20, 1992 at age 66. John lived in Kneeland, CA with his wife Vaneta “Pete” Harnsberger. Together they had 3 sons, John “Les”, Dennis and Mike.
John worked as an Electrician for the Louisiana Pacific Corp Particleboard Plant on West End Road in Arcata. John liked to work on “boat anchor” Ham Radios and on World War 2 communication radios. John was a good radio tech and he understood radio circuits on tube radios real well.
John enlisted in the U.S. Navy and while aboard a destroyer in the Pacific and on duty on the deck one night he was looking up at the ships wire radio antenna emitting sparks during transmission from the ship radio room, John was copying code from the sparks when a ship’s Officer came by and asked John what he was doing and John said that he was copying code from the sparks. The officer said “come with me” and took John to the radio room and told the officer in charge “you now have a new CW operator on your crew”.
That was the story as John told it to me.
In 1945 after the War John was stationed at the Table Bluff Light House Coast Guard Station and met and married Vaneta who was his childhood sweetheart. Vaneta went by the Nickname of ‘Pete’ because her maiden name was Peterson and her school friends called her ‘Pete.’ Vaneta worked at the Kneeland Post Office for years.
John’s nickname was ‘Tiny’ going to high school because he was a big 6 feet 2 inches tall. They enjoyed life on the place on Kneeland and later on after John’s passing Vaneta moved to Eureka and later passed on November 22, 2003.
John was a founding member of the Humboldt Amateur Radio Club and regularly attended radio club meetings. On the Air John would sign W6 Zig Zag Kid. John encouraged me to study to upgrade my radio license to Advanced. I thanked John for that after passing the Exam in San Francisco.
John was a great Ham Radio man and good friend and I am glad that the Humboldt Amateur Radio Club honors him by using his call sign identification.
Now you know why HARC uses W6ZZK for our Club and repeater identification!
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