Friends Remembered Home | Friends Detail
Alex Magosci (W2OV)
October 23, 2000
Not being a very close friend of Alex's, knowing him only through our Amateur Radio hobby, it may be forward of me to write this remembrance.
However no one else has, and you often don't realize just how much you enjoyed knowing someone, no matter how close, until they are gone.
Alex Magosci held two calls that I know of; WB2MGB, and the more recent W2OV. I know Alex well enough to know that if he didn't really like his last call, he would never have requested it. He was a man of strong opinions and did little without forethought.
I first met Alex when I was a newly-minted 16 year-old Ham. As a General licensee in 1977, I was a little too young to be set loose on the bands without guidance, and a little too old to be told otherwise.
Except by Alex.
Alex called me one day as I broke off QSO on a local repeater. Alex politely asked if he could call me on the phone--what we would call going "off-line" today. On the phone, Alex explained some operating procedures I hadn't realized I'd been violating, set me correct, and then offered me membership in the Metroplex Amateur Communications Association, whose repeater I had just been on.
At 16, in public school, in urban NJ, it wasn't often you got your stick with a carrot. Most of the teachers I can recall were too burned out from the environment to do other than put you up against a wall. It took Amateur Radio, and Alex, to show me the proper way it was done.
I remain a member of Metroplex, and am proud of my association with it, but Alex was the dynamo that kept it energized. During those first three years, I was a very active member, and even held a position as a club officer, when the idea of a teen officer in a Ham Club must have been anathema to most Hams. Alex, however, encouraged me to put my name forward, and, I believe, did a lot of behind the scenes dickering to make it a reality. I was a rather lonely teen, and the camaraderie I felt in that club, with Alex at the helm, exceeded anything I had known before, or since.
In a short few years, I left for college, but always showed up on the repeater during any break that took me home. I always called Alex, and, more often than not, I always managed to catch him, and catch up, when I did. I had grown a bit, but Alex still struck me as a superior operator, and a tremendous person. Talking with him, you never failed to learn something new, and you never came away wondering if anything meaningful was said. It always was, and it was always apparent.
College led to a tour in the Marine Corps, and still I would call on the Metroplex Machine during any leave I took back to NJ. Again, I often caught Alex, and I was still impressed with the person he was.
My time in the Marine Corps behind me, I joined the State Department and have spent the last 16 years traveling the world. Lonely no more, my Wife, three Daughters and I have often taken trips to NJ to visit my family. As has been my tradition, I've always called for Alex whenever I got in range of the repeater. Usually, more often than not, Alex would respond, recognizing me instantly in spite of three changes in callsign.
I last talked to Alex during a trip to NJ sometime in the summer of 1999. I remember Alex answering and telling me he was with the group at a local Diner, and inviting me along. Still some miles out, with a tired family, I declined, but had a quick chat and kept the tradition going.
I never had a bite and a chat with Alex that day, to my everlasting regret. When I was informed that Alex had died, I was 6000 miles away, still traveling. I've thought of Alex quite a bit since that time, and would have to grant that Alex was an Elmer to me in many ways. I was already a Ham when we met, but I don't think that's really where the line should be drawn. I think we have many teachers in life, people whose guidance is given for no other reason than because they are good people. Alex was like that, and I benefitted greatly from it.
So, Alex, although I never will have that final QSO, I'm hoping that you'll see this, somehow, and realize how much you helped. Not just me, since I was only a small part of the group, but many hams, young and old, who recognized Sterling when they saw it.
Contributed by: Bob Harvey (K2PI)
I don't often get an opportunity to help paint the rest of a portrait, especially some 12 years later, but, like my friend "Harv" (who I knew as WB2PRU), Alex was a strong influence on me, too. Alex's influence steered me toward technical stuff. He was the architect of the most advanced communications system of its time, an experiment on amateur radio that would only become mainstream in communications technology decades later. The system also served as the premier social network in the New York City area in the late 70's, bringing together what would have been unlikely friends on the air and in person. Alex was also Hungarian and on occasion, we would speak in mutually bad Magyar (his grasp of the Hungarian language was far better than mine). At a time when I was taking things apart and breaking them more than I was fixing, Alex gave me little projects to work on that would ultimately become part of the system. His no-panic style always assured me that however I built it, it was recoverable and could be made to work. I most vividly remember the many times Alex would check his Redicomm portable radio - he'd announce "WB2MGB" pausing slighly after the 2 and placing his emphasis on the eMMMmmmmm. Then he flipped a switch and "BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA...." His "PL tone" was set too high and came through loud and distorted. That became a running joke and, of course, Alex played along. I learned that W2OV was Alex's dad's callsign. His dad, also Alex, lived in Fairview, NJ for many years. Alex took his dad's callsign. The last time I heard from Alex was around 1993. I was working in the two-way radio industry. I received a blind call in the shop from a man who wanted to program some radio PROMs on ham frequencies. It was an unusual request from someone with a very familiar voice. I was astounded to hear the voice of the man who steered me into this industry. I was even more astounded that he was still building and tinkering. His continuing goal had been to add additional receiver coverage to his system. We forgot about the PROMs and spent our time catching up on the last decade or so. Regrettably, we went in separate directions once again, but I can look back and see that the direction I went in was partly because of his push. Bob and I lived through a magic time in ham radio thanks to Alex and his creation. Double-u Bee Too (slight pause) eMMMmmmmm Gee Bee, 73 OM.
Contributed by: Steve Makky, Sr. (KA2AYR)
You must be a member of eHAM.net to post a story on the Friends Remembered page.
Becoming a member of eHAM.net is easy. All we need is a Callsign.
The sign-up process prevents others from posting a story as if the
story came from you. You can get more information about signing up and
our strict adherence to confidentiality
at the sign-up page.