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Lew McCoy, W1ICP, SK (updated)

from The ARRL Letter / ARRL on August 3, 2000
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Lew "Mac" McCoy, W1ICP, in a photo taken last May. [Neil Armann photo]

Amateur Radio legend and former ARRL Headquarters staff member Lew "Mac" McCoy, W1ICP, of Mesa, Arizona, died July 31. He was 84. His daughter, Marsha Ashurst, W1HAQ, said McCoy had not been feeling well for about seven weeks and was diagnosed as being seriously ill only three weeks before he died.

As a member of the ARRL Headquarters staff from 1949 until 1978, McCoy gained a national and international reputation primarily for his articles in QST and his early work to combat TV interference. "He became a hero of all the Novices and beginners because his stuff was so down to earth and easy to read," said retired ARRL Communications Manager George Hart, W1NJM, a good friend.

ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, described McCoy as "one of a kind" and "versatile." Sumner said McCoy "left his mark on future generations of amateurs as QST's 'Beginner and Novice' editor." When FM repeaters came along, Sumner said, McCoy made it his mission to educate his ARRL colleagues about their potential.
After authoring some 200 columns and articles, McCoy finally got a cover shot on QST for April 1963.

An ARRL Life Member, McCoy was first licensed as W9FHZ. He arrived at ARRL Headquarters in 1949, eventually landing in the Technical Department. There, he was able to take advantage of his ability to explain technical concepts in simple terms.

McCoy earned a reputation as a tireless traveler and goodwill ambassador for Amateur Radio. He first started hitting the road in the early 1950s after TVI had become troublesome for amateurs and soon became the League's TVI expert.

Ashurst recalls how the family toured with McCoy as he demonstrated TVI cures for hams and TV service personnel alike. "As children we also sat through many of his presentations and knew more about TVI than any other kids in the country," she said. "We were the first in town to have a TV set so that Dad could monitor interference. Having a TV also made us very popular with the other kids, especially when Ed Sullivan had Elvis Presley [on]."

ARRL Lab Supervisor Ed Hare, W1RFI, credited McCoy with providing the foundation for the ARRL's current RFI expertise in helping hams to deal with interference to consumer equipment and interference to hams from other sources. McCoy also was well-known for one of his projects, "The Ultimate Transmatch," an antenna tuner he described in a July 1970 QST article.


Tireless traveler: Even in his later years, McCoy made the rounds of conventions and hamfests. Here's McCoy (center) at the 1989 Dayton Hamvention chatting with CQ Publisher Dick Ross, K2MGA (left), and then-CQ Editor Alan Dorhoffer, K2EEK (SK). [CQ photo]

After leaving the ARRL Headquarters staff, McCoy continued as a QST contributing editor. He subsequently was a major contributor to other Amateur Radio publications, including CQ.

During his active years on the air, McCoy was an avid DXer. More recently, he was active in the Quarter Century Wireless Association, had served as QCWA president and a board member and had just been elected again to the QCWA's Board of Directors, something his daughters never got to tell him before he died. QCWA President Emeritus Leland Smith, W5KL, remembers McCoy as a proponent of a no-code license for beginners who also advocated the 5 WPM maximum code requirement subsequently adopted by the FCC.

McCoy's first wife (of 60 years), Martha, died in 1998. Survivors include his wife, Clara Gibbs McCoy, and his daughters, Marsha Ashurst, W1HAQ--licensed at age 8 and said at the time to be the youngest ham in the world--and Sharon Armann, ex-WN1GQR, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In accordance with McCoy's wishes, there will be no funeral. The family is planning a memorial service for McCoy in early December. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting memorial donations in Lew McCoy's name to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E Flower St, Phoenix, AZ 85014-5656. Condolences may be sent to the family care of Marsha Ashurst, PO Box 2260, Lakeside, AZ 85929.

Member Comments:
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by WA2FSO on August 3, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
I remember reading many article by lew, and i found easy ways to understand complicated terms, plain language i think the call it now.So Long
He Will Be Missed  
by W4MGY on August 4, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Lew McCoy was one of those rare individuals who made the technical end of our hobby interesting and understandable. His antenna articles are probably best remembered for the many transmatches he designed, and his famous "Real McCoy" dipole antenna. I never had the pleasure of metting him, but he will be missed. 73 Lew, your work in the amateur radio world will be remembered..
Lew Mc Coy  
by W6OM on August 4, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Very sad news, I am so happy I took the initiative to set with Lew at the DX convention banquet and tell him how as a small boy in 1957 I read his books and they inspired me to get a license.

Lew was one of those people who actually made a diference in
other peoples lives.

73 Lew, Rest well

Ron W6OM
by KN4LF on August 11, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
I'm saddened to the hear of Lew's passing. He was a real gentleman and a MAJOR contributor to our hobby. Everytime A giant in the hobby goes SK a piece of our hobby as it once was: technical, courteous, innovative, also dies.
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