Harvey Chase - W4TG
Silent Key - The term given to a deceased amateur radio operator.
The amateur radio hobby besides being science based enjoys something few other hobbies can boast... Meeting people from all over the world, even if it's seldom face to face. In the United States, there are just over 700K ham radio operators, twice that many in Japan. Every time I turn on my ham radio, I never know where or who I may talk to next.
Besides the ability to communicate world wide, getting to know some of my fellow operators via the airwaves is much of the hobbies appeal to me. I think my speech is poor enough that frankly not a lot of people want visit with me... except when I'm talking though my amateur radio's "bug" or straight key. Normal speech for me is impossible, but using Morse code I'm pretty good, and that has allowed me the opportunity to get to know some of my fellow operators around the world.
One such operator I was fortunate enough to work (communicate with) twice in the last year was Harvey - W4TG. Harvey died this week at the age of 96 in the heart of Georgia. Since I never actually spoke to Harvey, I expect he had a southern drawl... I mentally put one with the Morse code he sent.
Harvey was a WWII vet. In fact, he was there where the war started for the USA on December 7, 1941. Harvey told me he couldn't believe the things he saw at Pearl Harbor that day... from the pictures and movie film I've seen of the attack, I can see why.
Harvey was a primarily Morse code ham radio operator for 80 years... a true pioneer of the hobby, and the longest licensed operator I have communicated with. He had a kind manner on the airwaves and our limited time together getting to know one another had me looking forward to more time "pounding brass" with him.
Few ham operators I recall so vividly from our Morse code conversations as those I had with Harvey. He will be missed by the hobby, and I'm sorry for his family. Personally, I'll always remember the day I first learned I was personally speaking to a Pearl Harbor survivor.
So long Harvey, 73 and God Bless.
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