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JOSEPH J. NOVAK (W0PGI)
JAN. 20 2002
I may have only met Joe on the air a handful of times, and he never knew me well, but I will always have the memories of hearing Joe's voice chatting away with friends on the local DX'ers simplex freq. In years past, I'd often drive past his house for a little ham radio recharge, as it was hard to look at his impressive array of antennas without feeling the ham radio yeast rise again. I ran across Joe's obit accidentally in the local paper today and I can't help but feel saddened at the fact that I never got to know him better, or see him in action behind the key. Joe had many DXing friends, and will be sorely missed. Joe's obit states that he was the first Radio Shack store manager in Saint Louis . He and his family were fixtures at the Northland store for years, which coincidentally is the first Radio Shack store I can remember visiting at the age of 8. During WWII he operated radio controlled target airplanes for the Army Air Corps.
Contributed by: John R. Foulks (AB0TA)
I have fond memories of Joe, W0PGI, dating back to prewar days at Walter Ashe radio in St. Louis, my old home town.
Farewell, Joe, and good DXing from your new QTH.
73 de George/W0AV (since '68; W9UXQ pre WW2)
Contributed by: George F. Franklin (W0AV)
Of course I knew Joe in the Walter Ashe days, but really got to know him better after he retired and started going to the "lunch bunch", a group of DXer's who got together frequently for meals at Steak'N Shake. Joe was a keen tuner, and owing to our 2 meter "intercom" frequency of 147.600, a.k.a. the DX Tippoff Net, he could share a lot of his discoveries with the rest of us( this was pre-intenet/packet etc.-1970's). On two occasions, I remember callouts that were particularly significant. One was the embassy in Iran when they were being overrun, were calling for help on the 20 meter ham band. The other was when a ship at sea, called the Rhinocerous was floundering, and the only radio they had was an Atlas 210X. They put out a distress call on 20M SSB and was received by Joe and others, who contacted the Coast Guard. I'll never forget the way the Coast Guard comondeered the ham frequncy with their giant signal, an Joe and I helped out by moving traffic off of adjacent channels. The rescue effort went on for hours, being joined by the rescue aircraft, which was trying to drop inflatable rafts to the crewmen. The ship did not have any lifeboats, and it was chilling to hear the operator telling us that crew menmbers were trying to fashion a flotation device out of empty steel drums. All this in a raging sea as the boat was sinking! The rescue plane dropped it's liferaft, but it was blown away by the storm, and we heard every word of this impending disaster unfold. On the second pass, as the boat finally went under, and the crew was in the water, the plane dropped it's last lifeboat, which was on target this time. Thankfully the crew was saved.
As one of the top DXer's in the world, Joe had at least 375 countries confirmed. Along with being a CW "natural" he was also an avid RTTY'er. Once, long ago when he had "topped out" and there were no new countries for him to work, I asked Joe, "why do you continue tuning so much, when there can be nothing new for you?". His response touched me, as he replied " Nothing for me maybe, but I enjoy helping those who don't have them all worked yet".
That's the way Joe was.
Contributed by: K0FF (K0FF)
A little late, but better late than never as they say.....
Good bye Joe........it's times like these when one wishes they'd stayed in touch over the years......always when it's too late.
Joe was my boss at Walter Ashe Radio....I was 15 when I went to work there in the 50's. I got to work the stock room, the office mailing system and work the counter on Saturdays when things got busy.
I was in Radio Heaven!
Found memories for sure.
Joe was a very understanding man!
Contributed by: Tom Hagerman (N0DST)
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