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Friends Remembered Home | Friends Detail

Charles Mellen (W1FH)


Jan 21 , 2006


To: OOTC Spark Gap Times, et al TRIBUTE TO CHARLES MELLEN, �W1FH�, Boston, MA. Born: June 8, 1914 Died Jan 21, 2006 Back in the 1940�s, �ham radio� operator Charles Mellon used his short wave radio to talk to amateur radio operators in essentially every country in the world. Charles was the very first recipient of the DXCC award after WW II. This was the coveted award for world-wide contacts, presented by the American Radio Relay League. W1FH was well known to many of the world�s short-wave operators starting in the pre-war days and continuing for almost 50 years. He was a polite and courteous operator and his operating habit was to spend his time listening for rare overseas signals, and his stateside contacts were mostly with acquaintances.. He rarely called CQ but it seemed he was always the very first to find weak signals and have a cordial chat with the rarest of overseas �DX� stations, -and it was always before a radio pile-up would start. In 1949 Charlie maintained constant radio contact with a British agent named Reginald Fox who was living in the closed country of Tibet. Fox used his �forbidden� wireless set to beam signals over the towering Himalayas -and Charlie was able to continually gather news and information about the Chinese communist invasion and annexation of Tibet, and especially news of the safe escape of the young Dalai Llama who had been deposed. The information from Charlie was continuously used by the CBS radio news commentator Lowell Thomas. Charlie had received thank-you letters from both Lowell Thomas Senior and Junior. Ironically, during the late forties , I was the studio engineer that handled the �live� nightly Lowell Thomas news program that was rebroadcast over short wave station WRUL ! Charles, as he preferred to be called, was of Greek decent and maintained weekly amateur radio schedules for over 20 years with his very close ham friend in London , Norman Jolly, G3FNJ, -and as is typical in ham radio -they had never met in person! When my wife Claire (G3YL) and I were in London, we had a very enjoyable visit with Norman Jolly, another distinguished gentleman, who was the chief British Intelligence Officer in Greece during World War II. When I was a young High School student after WW-II, it was fascinating to tune in on Charlie as he talked to countries that I never heard of ! I admired Charlie , and it was in the 70's when I visited Charlie�s DX station in the West Roxbury section of Boston. He had an ordinary set-up using 600 watts and a 3-element beam. and I always appreciated learning that what counted for his far reaching radio contacts was lots of patient listening -and far less talking ! Regretfully, Charlie�s major heart surgery had long kept him inactive on the short-wave radio , and he passed away in January 2006 at the ripe old age of 91. (submitted by Mort Bardfield , W1UQ. QCWA,. OOTC (N. E. Director }

Contributed by: Morton Bardfield (W1UQ)


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