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Jay Gooch (W9YR (EX-W9YRV))
July 7, 2003
Jay Gooch passed away two weeks ago. He was 80 years old. His health had been failing for several years.
Jay worked most of his life with the Coordinated Science Lab of the University of Illinois in antenna/ionospheric research. He participated in several rocket launches from Wallops Island, Virginina for the purpose of ionospheric research. He built the multimegawatt pulsed transmitter used by the U of I for upper atmosphere studies which still stands today northeast of Urbana, IL.
Jay wrote several articles for QST in the 60's and invented the "hairpin match" popular on VHF Yagi antennas. He also developed a method of paralleling TV sweep tubes for high-power broadband transmitters.
Jay was active in the Twin City Amateur Radio Club of Champaign-Urbana and was the trustee of the Synton ARC, W9YH, club station of the U of I. Many students consider him an Elmer. He was always at club meetings and always at Field Day up to the last few years when his health began to fail.
Jay will be missed.
Contributed by: Zack Widup (W9SZ)
I met Jay some 15 yrs ago at W9YH. An older guy, polite, quiet, and very knowledgeable about ham radio. For some time he was bringing chilli to club on Fridays, making those Fridays crowded. When the antenna connector in my Ic-24AT became loose, he took me to his buddies in a UIUC lab, who applied Loctite, fixing the connector permanently. One could visit with him about ham radio (and not only) forever. He was the real good old timer.
Contributed by: Ignacy Misztal (NO9E)
I have just learned about the loss of Jay. I enjoy many fond memories of our time together. I was a young man full of fire and simple goals that seemed so important at the time (before I learned about marriage, kids and the stuff that really matters). Jay listened patiently and asked probing questions about my dreams, my stories of travel and my fights to preserve the Synton Amateur Radio Club. He shared with me his recollections of Peru and aronomy research. We looked at maps and talked about all sorts of things from microelectronics to politics to California culture. Jay liked to talk about almost everything. He new how to make radios out of hamfest cast offs and was always ready to share his wonderful knowledge of electronics – not to mention his beloved cache of great components.
We used his acoustic modem, complete with cut tennis balls, to access UI modems and packet radio. He let me use his shack when I stayed at his house while looking for a job. I was delighted to meet his son Sherwin and talk to daughter Carol and I was proud to introduce my wife to him and Bede.
We shared a couple of chapters. First when I was president of Synton, then later when I got back from my rambling year long trip to Europe and Asia, then again after my job in Venezuela and during my time at CERL. I was 28 when I left CERL to work for Ingersoll-Rand in Pennsylvania. After that I was only able to visit very sporadically although I was a regular on the Illini Net until about 1992 when I got married.
Jay was able to explain electronics better than anyone I know. He had an uncanny ability to understand the sophistication of the inquirer and gently bring him up from that level. A unique skill which I can only aspire. I remember his wife, Bede, saying that she wished Jay had gotten into teaching earlier because it seemed to fit him so well. His engineering/teaching transition was part of the mix in my deciding to leave engineering practice and also become a teacher. In that way he was a profound mentor….. When someone emulates how you live rather than abide by what you say, it is a deep compliment.
In many ways Jay was a father figure to me. He loved his family and was self-sacrificing. He used his talents to provide a good home to his family rather than to satiate his own ego. He thought broadly but acted for his family, friends and students. He never was judgmental with me but supportive and interested in the aspirations of a weakly talented engineer and poet. Although I was never a student of his at UI, we worked closely together when I was the president of Synton and we were scrambling to find a new station. Jay was passionate about ham radio and preserving something that was obviously important to him at UI. I hope my starting the ham radio club at Penn College will perpetuate his determination to keep a band of technical, experimental guys together in one club where they can share life dreams along with antenna designs.
Jay’s wide range of friends reflected his pleasant and dynamic character. I am proud to have been considered part of that group and will carry and share my fond memories. Death is so painful in many ways. Talking stops and praying begins. I suppose that praying shouldn’t follow death but be part of our life with our friends. A silent key, a missing voice and a friend who waits now in heaven.
Contributed by: Thomas Ask (AC9L)
I remember hearing W9YRV for the first time on an Illini net shortly before I was to ship out to school at U of I in Urbana. He was way down there in the weeds on groundpath to the Chicago area. We did manage to exchange phone numbers and I got a friend for life. I called him on the landline and began friendship that lasted my entire time at U of I and sporadically thereafter during a few visits back to school in the years following graduation.
He always held a special place in my heart as a mentor. He had a special gift of teaching the basics to me, - a liberal arts major who knew next to nothing about electronics. He was kind, personable and unassuming. I remember thinking what a great Dad he would have been.
He also was the bond linking the Synton club members of the time. I remember Tom Ask and Matt Van Cleave, and Gary Melvin and Brian Mork and Joe Sluz and others of my generation of Syntonians. We all have something in common, - Synton and Jay Gooch!!
God bless you Jay.
Tom Besore (W9LT)
ex KA9TLE and KD9VS
Contributed by: (W9LT)
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