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formerly W6FZC

ON4UN - John Devoldere - SK Nov 10, 2020

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(Update: Nov 14, 2020)

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It is with sadness, but also gratitude and pride, I have to let you know my father John ON4UN, has become silent key. Johnís health has steadily deteriorated throughout the year, but in the last few weeks he was home with us where he peacefully passed away yesterday November 9.

Ham Radio, and especially Low Band DXing, were my fatherís lifelong passion and always had a strong presence in our house. Sometimes literally, when many of you paid us a visit or a group of DXíers came over for a weekend of contesting. At other times in the background, when my dad was working on a project or experimenting with new equipment or antennas.

Though I donít have a call-sign, I very much feel part of the big radio family and always will. I am very proud of everything my father has accomplished together with you, and I am grateful to the many of you who have given him so much joy over the years. We will miss him dearly, but we take comfort looking back on the beautiful life he lived as a member of the wonderful Ham Radio community.

Marleen Devoldere

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How I met John ON4UN
Of course, it was on the "radio" . . . and he was very radio-friendly . . a characteristic of himself, radio or not! Meeting him was a result of bulding a "large" 20 mtr antenna and tuning it as it was used!

In the early days, computer-aided design software didn't exist so you had to tune it after it was built. So I constructed a five (5) element monoband yagi by reading available periodicals and "design-hand-books". The construction was made from old Hy-Gain antenna "parts" and the boom was basically 2 inch diameter . . at a length of 53 ft . . BION!!

I was tuned from a composite of dimensions to "emulate" a 5 el Telrex (Ercolino) yagi. The dimensions of each element were 'set' from an average of dimensions from various sources. Nobody knew about element-taper other than it was important!! It was put up and over the next year, it was tuned by moving elements around and changing their lengths at the same time! Talk about doing things the hard way, this was it.

After one year or so of this and using John as the 'calibrated' receiver, the yagi arrived at some pretty decent gain. I knew that it was improving b/c the operating bandwidth was restricted (ie, SWR going up at band edges), I knew it was close to my goals.

Note that it was DOUBLE-TRUSSED . . and the boom had a "bow" in it!! But, it survived the big tropical storm in the 80's!

Even John was impressed and he said that he was coming to San Diego to visit me! Of course, he and Frida wanted to come here to see check out the great climate and see how So Cal people live. I was over-joyed that he was coming here.

As we age, I regret not taking better care of my pictures . . . you think that you will be around forever so there's no problem! But the pictures are scarce and I had to scan them to get decent (not great!) pictures for this memorial to John.

Plank House Shindig
Hams and others were contacted about the upcoming "meet" and so we thought that it would be nice to have a dinner get-together with them. Many agreed so the Plank House Restaurant was chosen for the place. It featured great steaks and prime rib at reasonable prices! Sadly,it was sold and is now a hamburger joint! According to the records of W6YA, the dinner took place on Saturday July 16, 1977.

Before leaving for the restaurant, John and Frida came to my house and had a few "cocktails" . . . me on the left, Kathy my wife and the inimitable John! BTW, my wife wants you to know that she MADE that shirt for me!

Also shown is Dennis, N6BB and his wife Dorothy along with John. Can we say that John likes the ladies???
Here's some "scanned" pictures that remain of that delightful evening. We ALL had a blast!

Hard to remember what we had to eat (most likely steak and/or prime rib) but there were a few libations that were offered! The table pictures show the attendees along with their wifes/girlfriends. Some, unfortunately were not able to be identified . . see what time does to you?
Here's pic of the John and Frida with my wife and Dorothy, xyl of Dennis, N6BB - SK. The right is a closeup of Dennis and Dorothy. We were close to both of them and one year, we went to the DX Convention at Visilia. His famous saying . . 'are we having fun yet'?
We came back to my home and went into the 'radio shack' . . for some serious hamming! Under the watchful eye of George, W6ZZ, Dick W6BZE and yours truly, we watched as John dug into my station which consisted of a Signal One CX7B and an original Henry 2K linear (SN: 27) with two (2) 3-400 tubes. John is looking for DX. When John went on-the-air, the DX was looking for him!

Here's two (2) QSL cards that John sent out over the years. Wouldn't you like to have the real-estate for multiple towers?

I can say that this was one of the best times that I personally ever had. Meeting and spending time with John and Frida are one of my most cherished memories. I'll bet that others had the same feeling. I guess we don't know this until they are no longer with us!

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