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Bob McGraw (W2LYH)
Bob was undoubtedly the quintessence of the homebrew era, running an elaborate state-of-the art home made station at all times. Moreover, he was a great CW op. He was also a gentleman and a scholar.
I'll always remember the red carpet tour he gave to W2FWA, Bill, K2JX, Jack, and me when Bob was Chief Engineer at the RCA Global Transmitting Station at Rocky Point, Long Island, NY. I actually have a photo of Bob working CW with a Heathkit HW-8 hitched to one of the Global Station's many rhombic antennas. What a contrast, seeing the "new" HW-8 alongside 1920-1930 monster commercial water-cooled tube rigs!
Contributed by: Alex Mendelsohn (AI2Q)
Damn...I hate discoveringt that old friends have passed away this way. Bob was, indeed, an inspiration to those who practiced the art of homebrewing. I first read of one of his projects in an early 60s QST--his TX/RX box. His idea of using a relay to switch the RX in/out, while keeping the TX connected at all times, seemed so elegantly simple & brilliant that I immediately built something like it & became a QSK-fan. It was a treat to work him on 160CW when I was living in NY. We talked about all this & his homemade station & I receiveed an invitation to come out & visit. Bob was a fixture for years on SKN, too. I was pleased to see a note in Electric Radio that his station would be described in an up-coming issue. I watched for that. Never seeing it, I looked up his call this very weekend & feared the worst when I noticed it had been "cancelled." Alas, now this note....
Contributed by: Don Daso (K4ZA)
Bob was a true gentleman and an amateur of vast experience who always made his knowledge available to all. I and many others will sincerely miss him.
Contributed by: Michael Mattes (W2LO)
I have many wonderful memories of Bob, W2LYH, the funniest one to me was one of the first QSO's I had with him. It was in 1981 when I had just been on the USA merchant ship "WILLIAMSBURGH" for a year going around Cape Horn, then to Europe and back to the USA. I unpacked my sea bags, and got on 40 meters, and I received a call from W2LYH - a call unfamiliar to me - and he asked, "Are you David Ring?" - which stunned me because most of the hams don't know your last name unless they know you very well! I apologized saying that I didn't remember him, could he refresh my memory. Well, he even confused me more, he said "I talked to you but it wasn't on the ham bands." Then he went on to tell me that he was the operator I worked many times at ITT Amagansett Radio / WSL on Long Island, NY passing traffic with my ship, WGOA. He had recognized me by my fist! We had many QSOs through out the years, and exchanged letters and post cards from all over the world as I traveled as N1EA/MM.
Bob was a major contributor to my "CW Recordings" project, having contributed about 20 tapes of ships and coastal radio stations.
In May 2002, around 7 PM, I called CQ on 40 meters, and W2LYH answered me and said "I've been looking for you" - Bob had a huge signal - and he was at the tip of Long Island, so the signals were always strong to me in Massachusetts. We talked from 7 PM until around 30 minutes past midnight - straight. We sent on our bugs and we sent on our hand keys, and we did a recap of all the interesting stories that we had between us. I wish I had a tape recording of this. We even sent a bit in American Morse Code - but Bob was much more fluent in this that I was. During this FIVE HOUR CW QSO Bob told me "You have a good fist" - and coming from Bob, that was like being knighted. Bob was a first class individual who wrote letters, did CW, built his own gear, and it did it all beautifully.
One fellow who worked in the commercial radio business told me: "Bob was one of those fellows who could do everything top notch, his home brew equipment was better looking and working than the best commercial stuff, his fist was perfect, his skills at being a technician and operator were excellent - he had no equal. He was someone that you'd be tempted to dislike because he was SO good at things - but you couldn't dislike him because he was so unassuming and generous in his personality. He was one of the people that if you had a willingness to learn who would sit down and help you. Bob was a prince of a fellow."
It was a joy to know him. I miss him and his beautiful joy that he communicated with his musical fist.
David J. Ring, Jr., N1EA
Contributed by: David J. Ring, Jr. (N1EA)
I first met Bob just after being licensed in 1971, on 80 M CW. He was one of my on-the-air "Elmers" and I still remember his excellent explanation of grid-block keying, which I had questions about. He was helpful and a gentleman, and his all home-brew equipment was quite impressive. Sad that he's no longer around. I wonder what happened to all of his gear?
Contributed by: Alan, W2MV (W2MV)
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