November 30, 2022. Written by Tom Owens, K7RI
Indeed, Rod’s passing shortly after his 88th birthday was a very sad day.
Amen to all the nice things being said about him and his accomplishments in Ham Radio. For sure he will be greatly missed by all who knew him in the hobby, and those outside the hobby as well.
Rod was real gentleman. Never heard him say a disparaging word about anyone. Received his first license in 1949 when he was 15 – W7KIM. First station was a set of ARC-5 aircraft radios and wires in trees. Years later he became W7YBX and then, in 1977, W7OM.
Career Path Rod entered the US Air Force aviation cadet program after high school, having already received his pilot’s license. He opted to attend airborne radio/radar school. His first assign-ment was an air base in Japan. Many years later, in 1979, an Air Force posting took him to his first stop at the Pentagon. After a distinguished 41 year career he retired from the Air Force in late 1994, having attained the rank of Major General. In 1961 he was hired by Boeing on their aerospace program, which required a lot of traveling in the mid-1970s and beyond – both nationally and internationally. Many trips to Washington DC area for work there where, in his spare time, he made new lifelong amateur friends. Rod retired from Boeing in 1993.
Background During his first week at the University of Washington in 1958 Rod met Donna, his Scottish lass, who survives him. They were married in 1960 and in 1963 bought their home in West Seattle. A year later there was a 60-foot tower and a tribander in the back yard. Over the years the antenna farm varied and grew to its present state: three slopers on 80 and 160 and a SteppIRDB-18E at 60 feet. Good coverage for 40 through 6 meters – all on a 50 x 128 foot city lot. Oh, did I forget? Rod received an Electrical Engineering degree from the UW in 1961. Most of his contesting and DX chasing from the West Seattle QTH was low power out of respect for his neighbors.
Ham Radio Articles For around 5 years, during the 1970s,
Rod was an Assistant DX Editor for CQ Magazine. And over the years he authored several articles that were published in different amateur radio magazines on topics that were of interest to fellow amateurs around the world.
Major Contest Awards Rod’s numbers are right at the top of the standings in all categories. And the shack is adorned with several plaques for 1st place low power entries in QSO parties and other operating events. In addition, several Air Force plaques and awards which commemorate his service to our country.
|ARRL DXCC Honor Roll||Mixed 373; Phone 370; CW 350|
|CQ DX Honor Roll||CW 339; SSB 340|
|ARRL 5 Band WAS Nr. #32||Awarded December 16, 1970|
|ARRL 5 Band DXCC Nr. #672||Awarded July 21, 1978|
|CQ 5 Band WAZ (all 40 per band)||Awarded December 31, 1990|
In Closing Rod was an excellent enabler. His drive and enthusiasm were responsible for many positive results. Besides being a effective mentor and willing to share his wisdom and time with others, he was the driving force that made many things successful. Mentioning two will have to suffice:
- The Western Washington DX Club (WWDXC) – the early years.
In the early 1950s Rod became the Club President and served as such for many terms. Under his guidance membership grew from 31 members to several hundred. Three major factors facilitated the growth: (1) a chain of buffet restaurants with free meeting rooms; (2) dinner meetings raffles, which financed the club for many years without the need for dues; and (3) excellent programs on topics of interest at each meeting, which was a magnet for attendance. Interest in DX and contesting thrived and the club became known world-wide for its Totem Tabloid publication, The Washington Totem Award (sought after by amateurs world-wide all these years) and the club’s excellent contest scores for many years. On the national scene, the club hosted the 1980 ARRL National Convention. And the effort did not lose money. It actually made a profit, which was shared with the clubs that helped fund the initial effort.
- Monthly Lunch Meetings.
With the demise of the buffet restaurants it is no longer possible to find venues that accommodate over 100 people or more people for free dinner meetings. Membership fell considerably, as has dinner meeting attendance. Accordingly, Rod was instrumental in establishing monthly lunch meetings which still continue today.
November 23, 1934 – November 20, 2022
Take a moment and check your CWT and major contest logs. Chances are W7OM is there.