One of the least examined aspects of Peoples Temple’s history was its relationship with the Federal Commiunications Commission (FCC). The relationship was also an important one: Jonestown’s only medium of direct and immediate communication with the outside world was through its HAM amateur radio; the Concerned Relatives oppositional group knew of the Temple’s use of its HAM radio – and of its misuses as well, such as conducting Temple business on its bandwidths – and alerted the FCC of the violations; and HAM operators around the US started reporting their own experiences with communications from Jonestown. With all these considerations in mind, history student and HAM operator Josef Dieckman launched a website to document all aspects of Jonestown radio. The site was active for several years in the first decade of the 2000s before going offline. This website has restored as much of the site as has been possible to do, and has archived it below.
Some of the links within these articles are no longer operational and have been disabled.
| My name is Joey Dieckman, and I am currently undertaking a research project involving amateur radio. I am exploring the relationship between amateur radio and the Peoples Temple Agricultural Settlement in Guyana, also known as Jonestown. As part of the research effort, I am collecting materials from hams across the country that had some contact with this group in the late 1970's, presumably under the calls WB6MID/8R3 and WB6MNH/8R1.
What kind of materials am I looking for? I am seeking out (photo copies, scans or originals) QSL cards, post cards, hand written letters, log book entries for multiple contacts, etc. If it's on paper and related to Jonestown/Ham radio, I'm interested in it. Also, I am looking for more information on the effort undertaken by hams in the late 1970's to record communications between Jonestown and their stateside affiliates. This would include talking to the HAMS that made these recordings, obtaining copies of notes and log book entries related to the tapes. I have a few copies of such tapes now, and am busily transcribing them. I would like to match them up with their makers.
Where is all this going? Well, this is all really part of a larger research project on the Peoples Temple and Jonestown being conducted by Fielding McGehee. The ham-radio connection is my little niche. The immediate part I play in this is to gather as much available information as I can track down. After a period devoted to collection, I will dive into the processing portion of the work, which involves sorting, interpreting and evaluating value of sources/materials. After this is completed all materials and my work surrounding them will be forwarded to Fielding McGehee...for final processing. And in the end, the goal is to package the materials for consumption by the public through this website. Please feel free to visit the Alternative Consideration of Jonestown and Peoples Temple website, as it is a great example of how materials will be presented.
Rest assured, all donated materials will be properly credited to you, unless you wish to remain anonymous. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
444 Paulus Court
|Researching the use of Amateur (ham) radio by the Peoples Temple in Guyana, South America
|jonestown Jonestown wb6mid/8r3 ham radio amateur radio peoples temple
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The November 18th Living
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|This site last Updated 31 October 2007
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|CQ Magazine August 1979
Reprinted with permission from CQ Amateur Radio magazine, August 1979. Copyright CQ Communications, Inc.
|Links of related interest:
Alternative Considerations of Jonestown and Peoples Temple