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Fred Fish (W5FF)
How does one thank the guy who gave you State #50? No, not on 6m - on 220 Mhz!
Fred and his wife Lee, K5FF, were chasing WAS #1 on 220 Mhz and taking every advantage of
anyone's interest to drum up 220 EME business. Lee was producing a
newsletter on the subject, and phone calls from Edgewood, NM were a common
thing around my place in northern Ontario back in 1980. I had "made the
mistake" of telling one of Lee's "220 EME'ers" that I had some equipment for
the band, and had run some unsuccessful 220 EME skeds with Louis Anciaux, WB6NMT,
back in 1973. Next thing I know Lee is telephoning me with Fred in the
background pleading with me for the 1st New Mexico to Canada 220 Mhz
contact. She got that contact in October '81, followed shortly after by
Fred.. Lee always went 1st! Fred was a gentleman.
Over the next 3 years I chased WAS along with the dozen or so EME'ers at the
time. With many thanks to Marc Thorsen, WB0TEM, Ed Gray, W0SD, and Barry
(sorry - Barry forgot your call) and their crazy wintertime EME expeditions
we all approached the state #50 mark. #1 went to Terry, W0VB, thanks to his
Hawaii expedtion, and Mark, Ed, Lee and Fred and Al Ward, all got their
WAS's. I needed three more states, two of which I found pretty quickly on
meteors or tropo, but Florida eluded me for the third year in a row after a
near miss with a northern Florida station.
Lee was really disappointed I missed Florida yet again in the '84 Perseids
so she went to work on Fred. Next thing I know, she calls me to tell me
Fred is packing up the Subaru and driving to Florida with 4 220 yagis and
and their 8877 amp! They found a host station in Paul, WA4LYS, who was
active on 2m EME at the time. Fred drove all the way, by himself - he had
to be about 70 at the time - and with Paul's help set up the yagis in the
backyard. It took almost two hours to beat the Faraday rotation fading, but Florida finally
went into my log and ARRL plaque WAS #7 was mine. Fred worked a few more
stations then packed it all up and drove back to New Mexico.
I finally met Lee at Dayton in the early 90's when she received her DXCC #1
for 6 meters. Fred got #2 but had to stay back in NM to keep watch on the
house. Lee was learning a new "hobby" - driving 18 wheelers! At 68 years
old! She always wanted to drive a big truck. Fred just shrugged and
encouraged her to go for it. I am sure he knew there was no way to stop Lee
once her mind was set.
I last spoke with Fred about 7 or 8 years ago. It was on 6 meters and he
told me he was having a lot of trouble remembering names. It sounded like
Alzheimer's was starting it's miserable business. I don't think I ever
heard him again after that.
Fred - you will be missed, and my heartfelt sympathy goes out to Lee. The
"FF's" were a force to be reckoned with and it will be a long time before a
couple like this shows upon the VHF's again.
Contributed by: Peter Shilton (VE3AX)
I remember Fred very well. The first time we worked was in 1962. Fred had just moved to Albuquerque as K5TQP and I was in Boulder as W0IUF -- a path ~300 miles. I had a single 4X150 and fred had a of 4X250's at (as I recall) ~500 watts. We both ran 417A converters with 3-4 dB NF and had modest yagis.
In addition to our relatively primitive (by today's standards), what was so tough about the path was that we had numerous 14000 foot mountains between us, and both of us were nestled next to the local foothills. My takeoff angle to the south was about 30 degrees. Tropo was out.
We lack the resources for knife-edge refraction, so we tried meteors. But on a path this short, all we could hear was occasional short pings. The QSO dragged on for hours. I remember phoning Fred saying "I just got your K, send some fives !!".
Years later Fred (and Lee, of course) met thru CSVHFS and I remember well recounting the futility of our first 2M CO-NM QSO.
73 Fred -- you will be missed as an old friend.
Contributed by: Tom Clark (K3IO)
How sad I am now that I have found out by this post that my dearest friend Fred Fish W5FF has passed, Fred was a Family friend way back before I was even thought of even before my Dad came along. Fred had been like a uncle to me and it was Fred that got me interested in Ham radios but I took the cheaper route first yep when 11-meter "CB" first started and then back in the 80s went amateur. So with a little indulgence here I want to say (So Long Uncle Fred I just might be seeing you in 5 or 10 years I love You and thanks for giving me ham radio to have and play) Fred would always stop by our home on his way to help with the 220 stuff for other hams and when he would go to school at the FAA in Oklahoma City. There was Non-finer that W5FF-Fred Fish
I never met Lee but from all I have heard from Fred and others that did know her I feel she is just as good as Fred as a Person and a Fine Woman she had to be for Fred to Marry her.
Contributed by: Allan Councill (KB5DOH)
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