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Friends Remembered Home | Friends Detail

Geoff West (VK2BT)

Dec 2001

It is with great regret that The Manly-Warringah Radio Society records the passing of Geoff West VK2BT. He was 76. Born at the time when shortwave broadcasting was just beginning, throughout his life Geoff maintained a constant interest in amateur radio. His workshop was an Aladdin's Cave, reflecting as it did the extraordinary era of radio development through which he had lived. In 1941, during World War II, he raised his age from 16 to 18 and joined the Merchant Navy. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour (Dec.7th, 1941) Geoff was on a ship that was sent from Australia to Pearl Harbour to assist the Americans in the immediate evacuation of women and children to the United States. Fires from the attack were still burning when his ship arrived and there were considerable anxieties by the fact that no one knew the whereabouts of the Japanese fleet. Geoff did a second trip from Pearl Harbour to the US and continued to serve in the Merchant Navy for a few years after the cessation of hostilities. In 1950 Geoff met his future wife Betty. She was then a bus conductress aboard the 190-bus route, a well-known trek to the people of the Barrenjoey Peninsula north of Sydney. In the space of three months Betty and Geoff were married, a marriage that during its 51 years brought them four boys and a girl and the blessing of grandchildren. In 1994 he gained his first call as VK2MOF which spurred him on to learn CW and get a full call. For anyone of his age that was no mean achievement but Geoff had a particularly strong characteristic - tenaciousness. In this case it paid off handsomely and he became the proud owner of the full call VK2ADW. Later, in 1998, he changed this to VK2BT thus becoming a member of the elite of call holders - those with two letters after the digit. Geoff sometimes said that his one and only regret was that he didn't become a ham earlier in life. In his mind he equated being a ham with holding a call but Geoff had always been a ham and a first class one at that. When he built something he built it properly. With the Merchant Service he worked in the engine room and it was within that environment that he developed his superb craftsmanship. Witnesses to this are the excellent QRP transceivers and hand keys that he built, two of those keys now in permanent use by the Society. Geoff spent his working life in the hardware trade, and acquired a formidable expertise in relation to plumbing and plumbing parts. Despite all the ups and downs of the economy he was never ever out of work and until his late sixties he enjoyed excellent health. He and Betty then retired to the Central Coast where he joined the Westlakes Amateur Radio Club. Then, in 1992, Geoff had a quadruple bypass after which he took things more quietly. In order to be close to a hospital and family, he and Betty moved back to Sydney and settled in Narrabeen which is when he joined the Manly-Warringah Amateur Radio Society. It was rare for him to miss a Society meeting and at 1630 every day he was a regular on Westlakes' 40-metre 'Footloose' net (7070 kHz). To Betty and family the Society offers its deepest sympathy. Geoff will be sadly missed.

Contributed by: Dominic Bragge (VK2JNA)

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