(begin W6UM letter - courtesy K3ZO)

04 Nov, 1993

I thought I would send you a few of my memories of Len and Vic that
some of the more recent members might find of interest. One occasion
that really
stands out was an Armed Forces Day operation from within the Pentagon.
Maj. Al Cole, then W4IYR and regrettably now one of our Silent Key members,
was head of Air Force MARS and had recruited some of the PVRC
mercenaries to operate AIR. Because of his long Air Force association, Len was
there, and sometime about mid-morning Vic arrived. Vic was working for
the Coast
Guard and had originally gone to the Navy site for Armed Forces Day,
but after a
short stint he left because they had no jellied doughnuts as they had promised.

There was already an existing operating schedule for the complete
duration of the
event at AIR that included some world class operators. I remember K4VX
and K3EST
in particular. However, given the windfall of Vic's appearance we
somehow managed to find a time slot for him. The operating position
was in a glassed-in booth in the concourse area, and when Vic and Len
were operating the rest of us just stood outside and watched. I felt
like an amateur paint slosher watching a Rembrandt and a Van
Dyck apply master strokes on a canvas. And somehow, when it came my turn to
operate from the same chair using the same call, the contacts didn't
go into the
log quite as fast as when Len and Vic were there.

Another incident of that day displays another side of Len's character.
A blind ham came in who was scheduled to operate AIR on SSB. Len took
direct personal charge, escorted him to the operating position, saw
that he was seated and knew where all the controls were
located. It turned out that he always logged on a typewriter, but the typewriter
in place was different from the one he was used to by having every number
displaced one space (!). Len's response was typical: "You go ahead and do it as
though it was the keyboard you are familiar with and don't worry. We will make
the necessary changes afterward ourselves". This was another example
of what Len's sometimes gruff exterior could not really hide.

When I joined PVRC in 1956 Len's station was in its developmental stage.
I spent many weekend days out at his place helping with antennas. Dick
now W6MVW, was also there frequently. It is worth noting that Len was charting
new territory in many respects of station and antenna design that many
of us now
take for granted, especially 40 meter beams and long-boom Yagis. So many of us
now have 40 meter beams, but at that time there were probably fewer
than a dozen
in the entire world. Len's philosophy about antennas in general was that you
build your own, if they don't work to your satisfaction you change them, and if
something goes wrong you rebuild them so they won't fail the next time. There
could have been no better training ground for antenna work than was supplied by
W3GRF and later supplemented for me personally by W3MSK.

My first experience operating a super station was with W3GRF in one
WAE contest.
The event started early on Friday afternoon, and as a then graduate
student I was
one of the few persons in the US who could be there at the start, so as a
competition there was no serious challenge. Shooting such heavy RF
artillery was
thoroughly satisfying, but I had one experience I was completely
unprepared for.
I didn't take my own bug to Len's place and when I tried to use his (it was the
identical model as mine) I found I couldn't send effectively. No one who ever
heard Len's fist will forget the rhythm, and it certainly had much to
do with the
settings on his bug. I was a bit afraid when I asked him if I could adjust the
key, because most cw operators will let you use their toothbrush
before they allow
you to mess with the bug adjustments. But true to form, Len just said
to go ahead
and change anything I needed to.

I reset all the screws and merrily started in the
contest, noting with some misplaced satisfaction that
my sending sounded like me. However something strange began to happen.
The longer
I operated, the more the sending began to sound like Lennie himself. It was as
though I was being taken over by some force stronger than I was, over
which I had
no control. Maybe his call was just supposed to sound that way. By the
end of the
contest, despite the altered settings on the bug, my fist was indistinguishable
from Len's. As a proof, W9I0P called me to ask how I was doing in the contest,
and I had some difficulty convincing him that I was a guest operator,
and not the
principal himself. I consider myself most fortunate to have been in the PVRC
area at just the right time to have amassed a collection of indelible memories
involving Len, Vic, and so many of the others. The atmosphere of
fellowship and helping
one another was like no other I have ever encountered, and I attribute the
greatest part of it to Lennie's leadership.