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Friends Remembered Home | Friends Detail

Thomas C. Jednacz (W7QF)

Nov 17, 2008

While in the 9th grade of Merchantville (NJ) High School, as a teenager in 1954, I first met Tom Jednacz. Our desks were next to each other in algebra class. He noticed an SWL card that I had taped to my notebook and asked if I was a ham. Neither of us was at the time, but together we studied for our Novice license; and two months later, in November, we passed the test: Tom became KN2JXX and I was KN2JXW. We were "best buddies" throughout high school and were often referred to as "Mutt and Jeff" (from the comic strip) because Tom was 6 ft tall and I was a tad under 5 ft. We compared ourselves to the two characters in the monthly Popular Electronics magazine column that featured two teenage boys, Carl and Jerry, and their adventures in ham radio. In the autumn of 1958, Tom attended Drexel University and I went to the University of Pennsylvania, only a few blocks away in Philadelphia, PA. Tom pursued Electrical Engineering while I majored in biological science and English. Throughout our college days, we remained best friends, and even went on double dates in Tom’s ‘50 Chevy. We homebrewed rigs and put up antennas (always in a snowstorm, it seemed.) Many nights we slept over and got up at 3 AM to work European DX. Our homebrew rig ran 75 watts to Tom’s 40 M vertical made from sections of raingutter stacked on top of a soda bottle insulator. After graduation, he became a professional engineer and I was an English and science instructor in high school and college. We each married, had kids, moved apart, but for 54 years we remained friends and kept in touch by ham radio when Tom's job as President of Phillips Electronics took him around the world — Fiji, Japan, et al. I kept my 1954 call (dropping the "N" for Novice). When Tom lived on the west coast, he acquired W7QF. The "QF," he said, stood for Quality Fanatic — his primary goal at Phillips. Tom began suffering from Lupus, and retired to Dunnellon, FL, some years ago where he established the ham station of his dream — full power, 75 ft tower, top-of-the-line TenTec equipment, 7-element Steppir beam, assorted long-wire and Beverage antennas, all computer driven with auto-logging. He worked over 300 DXCC countries and was an avid contester with the Florida DX Group. In 2000, Tom and I founded the Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society, with three members. It now has over 1600. He was the first VP and assumed member #0002. Recently his health took a down-turn, and he began experimenting with massive injected doses of Vitamin C. His disease went into remission and, with the help of a Florida member of Congress, he took on the drug companies and spearheaded a drive to have the FDA sanction the mega-Vitamin C treatment. That legislation is still in limbo. After the Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society Convention in mid-October, I drove from Georgia to visit him in Dunnellon, FL. We hugged. He told me he thought this would be our last time together. I laughed and responded, "That's what you said the last time I saw you." Over the next three weeks we talked via landline and on 20 meters. (I use the Icom 756PRO that he gave me as a gift to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our friendship.) Tom died on Monday, November 17, at age 68. It is time to rest your oars, my friend. Your key is silent now. C U soon Jim, K2JXW . . . / — . — W7QF Silent Key

Contributed by: Jim Weidner (K2JXW)

A very touching obituary. My sincere condolences on your great loss.

Contributed by: Dick (N2UGB)

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