W9ZN – Silent Key

I saw a note yesterday that Mr. Bill Crane, W9ZN had died. Always a powerful CW signal from his home in Chicago, Illinois he might be best known outside the MidWest for his CW warm-up sessions using ‘Ben’s Best Bent Wire’ routine. I’ve listened to him pound brass many nights on 40 meters where his signal and unique fist attracted a crowd.

Dave, AA7EE used to listen to Bill from the West coast and wrote about it a decade ago.

Before Channel 9, Mr. Crane was a popular DJ in Chicago in the ‘60s and ‘70s He also served in the United States Navy.  He still wore that uniform to work every year on Veterans Day.


2 thoughts on “W9ZN – Silent Key

  • Dave AA7EE

    Thank you for this Jeff. I used to listen to Bill do his Ben’s Best Bent Wire routine on 40M in the evenings, and wonder who he was. I found that there had been a popular DJ in Chicago of the same name. I suspected they were one and the same, but was never sure. The video you linked to above confirms it. A piece of the puzzle solved. It was wonderful to learn a little about Bill. I called him a few times, but he never heard my 5W sigs from the West coast. Now, I wish I’d tried a bit harder, or even gotten over myself and ran higher power!

    His presence on the bands will be missed. They’re not making any new CW ops like him.


Comments are closed.

Related Posts