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Griffith Gordon (K4VX)
February 25, 2017
Past ARRL Midwest Division Director Lew Gordon, K4VX, of Hannibal,
Missouri, died on February 25, 2017. He was 87. Although he had been
suffering from cancer, Gordon had remained active on the air until
Licensed in 1947, Gordon was a veteran of the Korean Conflict. After
separating from the service, he attended Purdue University, earning
a bachelor's degree in physics.
An ARRL Life Member, Gordon served on the ARRL Board's Membership
Services Committee, including 2 years as chairman, and on its
Administration and Finance Committee. He stepped down from the Board
in 2000 at the age of 70.
Cliff Ahrens, K0CA, later also served as Midwest Division Director.
"Lew's love for Amateur Radio touched so many, Ahrens said. "He was
a strong advocate for Amateur Radio during his 6 years of service as
the ARRL Midwest Division Director. And he served our country
honorably in both the Air Force and the CIA. We will miss him
Gordon's first love was DX contesting, and during his active contest
years as W9APY, W4ZCY, and K4VX his station made several hundred
thousand QSOs. Over the years he also mentored many young
contesters, including three-time WRTC co-champion Jeff Steinman,
then KR0Y, now N5TJ. Among the other budding contesters that
Steinman enticed into the circle of K4VX operators was Dave Patton,
NN1N, now ARRL Field Services Manager.
"Jeff brought me into the group in 1985, after I returned from my
active duty Navy stint," Patton recounted, "and I am forever
thankful to Lew and his wife Terry, NS0Z for opening their house and
hearts to me." The late Bill Fisher, W4AN, was another of Gordon's
Patton said Gordon had a reputation in the contesting world for his
high ethical standards, insisting that operators at his station
abide by them, especially with respect to not exceeding the maximum
legal power output.
"His strength of character and contest skills led to his selection
as Chief Judge at two World Radiosport Team Championship
competitions," Patton said. "I was proud to be a competitor when he
was there, and we were sure that the scoring was the best it could
He was on the DXCC Honor Roll with 366 all time for 1 DXCC Honor
Roll. He also held Worked All Zones (WAZ) on both phone and CW. In
1996 he was tapped for membership in the CQ Contest Hall of Fame, an
honor he always felt topped all the others. Gordon was a life member
of QCWA, the Eastern Iowa DX Association, and the Mississippi Valley
DX and Contest Club. He also belonged to the Potomac Valley Radio
Club and the Society of Midwest Contesters.
Gordon has been published in QST, CQ, NCJ, and in several editions
of The ARRL Antenna Compendium. He said recently that he'd rather be
known for the antenna-design software he wrote - YagiMax - and for
the various antennas he's designed. YagiMax remains in use
Patton said Gordon ventured beyond contesting and DXing, equipping a
local school with ham gear and teaching classes. "He licensed over
100 kids, and they all had tours of a real radio station," Patton
"Lew was one of our real true hams, and it goes without saying that
he will be missed," Patton said.
Contributed by: Chris Hays (W9BB)
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