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Jim Larsen (K7GE)
Feb 2, 2000
I first met Jim and Christina on "the road to Leningrad" in 1989. He
and I along with N2AA, K3EST and a couple of other US hams were
in the first group of Westerner's who were permitted to go to the
then USSR to attend the joint Finnish/Russian Hamfest.
As sometimes happens I developed an immediate friendship with
Jim and we began keeping in touch with each other. He was
responsible for nominating me to the FOC and I asked him to
join our Multi-Multi contest group which of course is now known
as the Voo Dudes. Jim was with us in Geneva (4U0ITU) Morocco
(CN5N), ZF, C56, 9G, TU, 5V, ZC and perhaps one or two more that
I don't recall. His quick wit and dry sense of humor always kept
us waiting for the next anecdote - but at the same time he did his
share for the cause by building stub filters, soldering coax connectors
and solving technical problems since he was a brilliant engineer.
Keep in mind that Jim was over 70 years old when I met him! Over
the years I visited Jim many times at his lovely home in the Portland
area where he was born and raised and he stayed at my home here
in Phoenix on one or two occasions. It was always fun to stay with
Jim and Chris - I had my own wing of the house along with a set of
keys for the house and the car! I felt like a son who was home for
I'll never forget, when we were returning to Finland from Leningrad,
we made our last stop in the USSR for lunch not far from the border.
After eating Jim and I were walking thru the city square with all
the locals observing like we were celebrities - we were possibly
the first Americans they had ever seen! For some reason I mentioned
to Jim that it was too bad we couldn't take some Rubles home for
souvenirs - he didn't know that and had a pocketfull of them! So,
he thought for a moment then began throwing them up into the
air as we walked like the Pied Piper from Vancouver! All the local
children came running and fighting for the money - it was a hoot!
Then there was the time in Rabat, Morocco when after finding his
rental car blocked in a parking spot Jim backed down the sidewalk
for about a block to get free! All the sidewalk vendors had to
scurry out of the way and Rod, NZ7E thought it was the end for
both of them! Jim figured a few $20 bills could always fix any
problem you might incur in a difficult situation!
When we did the bus trip from Abidjan in the Ivory Coast to Lome,
Togo for the first 5V7A operation Jim was there. At the Ghanaian
border Jim was shooting pictures of some goats when a border
guard came running up waving his arms and telling us that no
photography was allowed! In his usual calm manner Jim told the
guy that "the goats don't mind"!
I have enough stories to write a book and maybe I will someday
but for now I just want to say "73" ole pal - I'll miss you.
Contributed by: (N7BG)
Jim was my Elmer and my very first QSO back in 1955, just before my 14th birthday. He helped me build a 6AG7-6L6 transmitter and gave me a 40 meter crystal to get me started. Sometime later he showed up at my doorstep with an ARC-5 receiver and showed me how to convert it to 110 volts.
I can't tell you the number of times I sat on the floor of Jim's home watching the purple glow of 866 mercury vapor rectifiers or the cherry red glow of the plates in his 813s. He always delighted in showing off by working a string of DX stations, mainly for my benefit, I'm sure.
I worked for Jim (and Chris) throughout my high school days in his 2-way radio shop in Vancouver. By the time I was 16 years old I was as much at home with a Motorola 80-D as I was with a National NC-98. I spent countless hours standing on a step ladder watching a field strength meter, all the while hollering at Jim 50 yards away while he tweaked his famous antenna design.
Jim was not only an Elmer and employeer, he was a friend. I am going to miss him very much. I encourage everyone to pray for Jim's wife, Chris and his son, Mike, for their loss.
Contributed by: KD7S (KD7S)
I got to know Jim during the 1970s when I owned a ham radio store in Broken Arrow, Okla. The Larsen antennas were then used in commercial installations but few hams had discovered them. I became a dealer for the Larsen Antennas for the ham line and sold lots of them. Jim even wrote us up in his monthly dealer newsletter saying that it wasn't until we kept ordering them for ham use that he started a push to sell to hams.
Several times, I had the opportunity to talk to Jim on the possiblilty of a custom made antenna and he seemed to especially like the challenge. He came up with some really interesting models which never made it into the advertising brochures. They worked great, too.
I never did have an unpleasant encounter with Jim or his company in the decade + that I was one of his dealers. I have always had good memories about my business dealings with Jim. I know he will be missed.
Contributed by: Jim Pickett (K5LAD)
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