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Al Hix (W8AH)
June 25, 2003
Albert H. Hix, 85, died June 25, 2003, at home after a short illness.
He was retired from Union Carbide Technical Center in 1985.
Al Hix, W8AH, was known around the world by thousands of amateur radio operators and his pursuits in the DX or Distance aspect of the ham radio hobby are unsurpassed. Al's amateur radio station, operating from the hills of Charleston, WV, made contact with 390 countries around the world placing him at the top of the American Radio Relay League's Honor Roll for such amateur radio pursuits. Al was the number one operator in the entire world for making contact with the most countries on the 40-meter band, where he had confirmed contacts with 362 countries. Al was first licensed in high school, graduating from Charleston High school mid-year in 1936. He was a 1942 graduate of West Virginia University with an Electrical Engineering degree. While at WVU he was also in ROTC military officer's training program and upon graduation, he joined the military, commissioned as second lieutenant in the US Army's Signal Corps and served in World War II in the European Theatre in England, Belgium and France.
After the war, Al returned to Charleston and was hired by Union Carbide in 1947 and worked in their control and communication department for 28 years. During his career, he provided his expertise in electrical engineering and control systems to Union Carbide facilities around the world. Al got his Extra Class license in 1960 as W6BT and in 1977, took the W8AH call which belonged to a friend of his who had become a Silent Key. He was voted West Virginia Outstanding Amateur Radio Operator of the Year in 1986, served as president of the West Virginia State Radio Council for two years, and is past president of the West Virginia Quarter Century Wireless Association. Al was vice-president of the Instrument Society of America (ISA) and received the prestigious ISA Fellow Award.
Surviving are his wife, Constance G. Hix of Charleston; brother, James Hix of Parkersburg.
Service will be 11 a.m. Monday, June 30, at Wilson Funeral Home, Charleston, with Chaplain (Col.) Randall A. Kochersperger officiating. Entombment will be in Cunningham Memorial Park, St. Albans with military graveside rites.
A gathering will be Sunday, June 29, at the funeral home from 5 to 7 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to American Radio Relay League, Albert H. Hix Memorial Scholarship Fund, 225 Main St., Newington, CT 06111-1494.
Wilson Funeral Home, Charleston, WV is in charge of arrangements.
Contributed by: Jim Reisert (AD1C)
I was sad to see the passing of my old friend Al, W8AH. When I started in ham radio at age 14, my home was only about 30 miles from Al as the crow flies, and he was an early mentor on chasing DX. If there was ever a person who lived ham radio 24/7, it was Al. He loved chasing DX, and was good at it. From his mountaintop location overlooking Charleston, he was loud everywhere, on all bands, especially into Russia and deep Asia over the pole. I think his antenna height was optimized for his hilltop location. His antennas would be considered low by many big guns, but they played extremely well. For example, our friend Cal W8NR lived on an adjacent hilltop, with a 100'or 120' tower and 20M yagi, but Al always had a bigger signal and could hear better. Al's basement shack was superb. It had a thick copper plate for a floor. He was a talented engineer. You would have to see the wiring harnesses he built to link up all of his equipment, especially the HB 4-1000 amps for each band. Al had a shop second to none, with all kinds of equipment and stocked with every kind of radio part you could imagine. I usually left his shack with a handful of good stuff when visiting.
Al's aggressiveness in DX pileups was 180 degrees opposite from his demeanor in person. I would classify Al as downright meek and mild in person, very soft spoken and polite. He took no prisoners when chasing DX. After he worked everything on HF, Al started on VHF and satellites. Shortly after he retired, I helped him install a 144/432 mhz yagi array, with el az rotors and the whole bit, for the satellites. Al never did anything half way.
I still have an Alpha 76PA that Al used to own.
73 to W8AH, ex W8PQQ and W8BT plus numerous DX calls. As our Russian friends would say on CW, DSW
My email is wrong on eham-need to change it. It is firstname.lastname@example.org
Charlie (Chas) N8RR
Contributed by: N8RR (N8RR)
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