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Paul Stockman (W8JAO)
Paul Stockman - W8JAO - SK ---
I was a young boy in the early 1960's when I met Paul Stockman and was first introduced to electronics and amateur radio. I was amazed by his rack-mounted King transmitter nearly as big as me. Up there on the operating desk it was as tall as Paul and he was a big man. "Tall Paul" operated almost exclusively on 75-meter AM phone. Sideband simply wasn't around, then, and Paul continued to operate AM for years after SSB began to take hold. I could listen in from my house up the street by tuning to an image on my five-tube, "AC-DC" radio. He appeared at around 1200 kHz (kilocycles back then) so it must have been from the second harmonic of the “high-side injection” local oscillator. Anyway, he kept in regular contact with his father, Otto (W8JAP). They were both pastors and occasionally moved to churches in new communities. Ham radio helped them remain close.
I visualize Paul at his desk working on one of many home-brew projects. I learned a good deal about basic electricity and electronics at his elbow: tubes (no transistors, then); transformers; components; schematic diagrams; how to strip wire; how to solder; ohms law. Morse code, too.
I recall that Paul's favorite home-brew projects were mobile 75-meter phone transmitters. It seemed like he always had a new one in some stage of construction. I don't remember any mobile receivers, though. He seemed happy enough with the shortwave converter connected in front of his car radio. He always built his transmitters on a chassis thin enough to slide under the drivers seat of his black, Volkswagen Beetle. The tubes fit horizontally on the inside. There was a long whip antenna mounted on the left-front fender close enough that Paul's long arms could reach through the window to the taps of the loading coil. He tuned up with help from a miniature incandescent lamp attached to a single loop of hookup wire around the coil. As he spoke, it brightened and dimmed with modulation. The power supply with its war surplus dynamotor was stashed under the back seat. I can still hear the sound and feel the vibration in my behind as it whirred up to speed during one of many trips to the Dayton Hamvention. I have the ticket stub from my first one: 1964 at the Biltmore Hotel. Paul's son Tim and I would scurry from room to room and floor to floor as we grabbed up literature about every conceivable radio and accessory of a boy's dreams. We'd pour over those sales sheets for weeks.
The Stockman's moved away when I was in high school, transferred to a church in Southern Ohio. Although we continued to attend Hamventions together each spring for years, we gradually grew apart. I'm not sure Paul ever realized how I appreciated his mentorship. While his son and I were about the same age and spent time together, it was really Paul's acquaintanceship I value most. I was shocked to hear of his illness and untimely passing about which I was unaware for weeks.
It is both awesome and a troubling that a serendipitous crossing of two lives can have such consequences. My life was alterred for the good, I am certain, upon meeting Paul Stockman. From that time, all I ever wanted to do or to become somehow involved radio. Through high school and college when I earned money as a "sock hop" disc jockey using "home-brewed" amplifiers, speakers and lighting equipment then thirty-plus years holding nearly every job description in commercial radio including more than twenty years managing broadcast stations from the front office, I've often wondered how my life would have been different had W8JAO not moved to my small town. Through that experience with Paul and others with hams like Dick Myers “WA8CUF” (also SK) whom I met though Paul, I built a pretty good life filled with things I enjoy. I could not be more grateful if the chance crossings of my life with others yield half the amount of rewards I gained because of one ham, W8JAO. Thank you, Paul!
Contributed by: Mark Jividen (K8QJ)
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