Wallace 'Radio Ranch' Still Talks to the World

Times Staff Writer

The Wallace Ranch on Highridge Road in Rancho Palos Verdes will continue to sprout its extraordinary crop--towering radio antennas with access to the entire world--even though the man who made the whole thing run is gone.

"This station will stay intact for at least a year," said William Wallace.

For 40 years, the hilltop "radio ranch" was a window on the world for Wallace's father, Don C. Wallace, who talked to hundreds of thousands of amateur radio buffs over the years from W6AM, his ham radio station. Wallace, who was 12 when he built his first radio, died a week ago at age 86 after suffering a stroke while playing cards at the Virginia Country Club in Long Beach, where he lived.

The legacy of W6AM will be carried on by Jan Perkins, a Cerritos aerospace engineer Wallace chose to take over the station before his death. "He will answer the letters that come in from all over the world and will keep talking to people," said William Wallace, himself a ham but, by his admission, less fervent than his father.

"There are 2 million ham operators in the world and dad knew a million of them," said Wallace, who runs the Santa Fe Springs electronics sales business his father founded in 1926. "He really was the great communicator."

The 25-acre ranch will continue to be a gathering place for hams who want to swap stories, talk about equipment and compete to see who can contact the largest number of hams around the world in a set amount of time.

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