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In Memoriam PVRC Silent Keys W3AU, W3GRF and W4KFC



Supporting Tent NA#1


This tent is dedicated to the memory of PVRC silent keys W3AU, W3GRF and W4KFC by some of their many ham friends. During PVRC's early years these three contemporaries were integral to the club's successes. Their good works continue today through the many competitors whose lives they touched.

Ed Bissell, W3AU (SK) (ex-W3MSK),

first licensed in 1934, built PVRC's first multi-multi station shortly after CQWW established the category in 1959. For many years thereafter his station and team in Maryland did friendly battle for top honors with K2GL's in New York. Ed was inducted into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame in 1993. Among the many moving tributes to W3AU is one from Tim, K3LR, in 2003: "When young operators like NI3S, KL9A and K3GJ operate from my station now, I think about how much it meant to me to operate at W3AU. Thanks go to you Ed Bissell, W3AU.... I would not have been inspired to pursue my contesting dreams without the chance you gave this young kid in 1976."

Lenny Chertok, W3GRF (SK) (ex-W4KXN),

first licensed in 1936, was a founding member of PVRC and its first treasurer in 1947. He held every club office and still holds the record for the most years of service as club president. PVRC's club station "W3GRF" continues to be operated in his honor. Lenny was inducted into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame in 1991. His trials and tribulations building a world class contesting station were immortalized by W4KFC, his lifelong friend and sometimes competitor, in an article published in CQ Magazine in March, 1961. Vic captured the essence of Lenny's generosity that many experienced: "... few were the PVRC members who hadn't at one time been ably assisted by W3GRF in carrying out their own antenna construction projects!" Indeed Frank, W3LPL, will tell you that Lenny gave him his first tower and a lot of good advice.

Vic Clark, W4KFC (SK) (ex-W6KFC),

first licensed in 1933, was a founding member of PVRC, its first vice president in 1947, and subsequently served multiple terms as its president. Vic later was elected president of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). He was known as an extraordinary and enthusiastic operator whom everyone instantly liked. In 1937, the ARRL chose him at age 19 to receive the first Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award for being the ARRL member under age 21 who had made the greatest individual contribution to amateur radio. Vic already had won several competitions, and years later he won both CW and phone in multiple runnings of the highly competitive ARRL Sweepstakes domestic contest. He remains one of only two operators in history to have achieved the world high single operator score in CQWW CW from the mainland U.S. Vic was inducted into the CQ Contest Hall of Fame in 1993.

Some of the greatest DX contest battles of the 1950's and 60's were between W3GRF and his good friend across the Potomac River, W4KFC. In a memorable story Chas, W6UM, relates that one year during Armed Forces Day W3GRF and W4KFC were operating side-by-side. He and the other operators just stood and watched. "I felt like an amateur paint slosher watching a Rembrandt and a Van Dyck apply master strokes on a canvas. And somehow, when it came my turn to operate from the same chair using the same call, the contacts didn't go into the log quite as fast as when Len and Vic were there."



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