— JOHN E. “JON” HAMLET-W4ZW;SK —
At our 14 December meeting, President Stew Haag-W4MO advised all present of the sudden and untimely passing of TARC stalwart Jon Hamlet-W4ZW. None of those who knew Jon can fully understand this loss.
Around 1990 Jon learned the Russian language and went over to Moscow to start up a Radio Shack facility that became more like a current Best Buy store. He witnessed the fall of communism in the Soviet Union and the birth of capitalism in Russia. If you were fortunate, you attended our meeting when Jon gave an in-depth overview of his experience over there.
Jon was truly an entrepreneur, and your editor recalls going with Dick Dean (SK) for lunch with Jon and some local QCWA members at a restaurant in North Venice around 1999. There was a beautiful Ferrari roadster in the parking lot. When comment was offered, Jon responded that it was his, but it was a copy of a Ferrari and built on a Corvette chassis. He had a plant over near Orlando where they made these cars for use in the TV series “Miami Vice.” Couldn’t have “Sonny Crocket” taking chances with real Ferraris! Excessive environmental regulations led to closure of that plant.
Jon was originally from Kentucky and was first licensed at age 15. Jon operated 99.9% CW; in fact, he dropped the “h” from his name to speed up his CW sending. And he was great, at home in that mode. Operating CW during our 2010 Special Event Station K4S venture, he rattled off CW QSOs at a rate faster than two per minute.
John’s shack on Casey Key was set up with a multitude of radios, amplifiers and beams on top of his roof. He also had a smaller setup out in Breckenridge, Colorado, up some 10,000’ ASL. With over 14,000 “hits” on this QRZ.com page, you know that he was an active ham.
Jon loved to keep on the cutting edge of electronic technology, and would often arrive at a TARC meeting with his latest miniaturized computer. After he had studied Windows 7 to his content, he gave a PP presentation of the features of this new Microsoft OS.
Jon became devoted to establishing a ham radio club at Pine View School a couple years ago. Jon developed a training program to assist interested students in getting their Technician licenses. He and some other TARC members devoted countless hours to setting up equipment and getting antennas up on the roof.
In a similar manner, Jon and George Becht-N2SQ, Director of the Sarasota Military Academy ham radio club station W4SMA worked together to train a number of students for their Technician licenses. Jon an George developed a close relationship that has endured.
Jon was extremely proud of his SMA-W4SMA golf shirt, and he was wearing it when we last saw him at the Tampa Bay Hamfest on 03 December.