Author Topic: Gardi Winchester, KA1BTK, SK  (Read 963 times)

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Offline W1RC

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Gardi Winchester, KA1BTK, SK
« on: November 24, 2020, 01:22:26 AM »
Comments made by W1RC on November 23rd 2020 at the memorial service

?So what can I tell you about our good friend Gardner H Winchester II, KA1BTK, that you don?t already know? 

I first met him at a Cape Ann Amateur Radio Association meeting about seven years ago.  It was the night I became a member.  He marched right up to me, introduced himself and welcomed me to ?the Club?.  I instantly knew here was a true radioamateur in every sense of the word.  It was plain to see that Gardi loved this ham radio hobby and his fellow amateurs.  I remember how hard he studied to earn his Amateur Extra Class license.   The exam is so difficult that this top license is held by less than 10% of the radio amateurs in the United States. 

Gardi wanted to share this wonderful hobby and he did this by becoming the club?s Director of Education and, after he passed the Extra Class exam, he was accorded the certification of Volunteer Examiner by the Federal Communications Commission and authorized to administer licensing examinations on behalf of the United States Government.

When he found out that I was involved with running the New England Amateur Radio Festival at Deerfield NH, aka NEAR-Fest, which is the largest semi-annual radio hobby event in the northeastern US and eastern Canada, he enthusiastically offered me his services and talents.  Gardi quickly became, without a doubt, my most hard-working and versatile volunteer.

Gardi was always one of the first ones in the fairgrounds and the last to leave.  He was tireless. My favourite memories are visions of Gardi tooling around the fairgrounds, his golf cart set at full speed ahead on his way to complete some mission or put out some fire.

It will take three good people to fill the vacancy that Gardi?s passing has created in our organization.   I am pleased to announce that his daughter Crystal will be stepping into his oversize shoes and will be carrying on his legacy along with other members of his family.  Since there is no one or two word title can accurately describe what KA1BTK did at Deerfield I am this day, as Benevolent Dictator, hereby creating a new management title for this important position - so that henceforth the person responsible for this myriad of critical tasks will be known as ?The Gardi.?

When we resume the hamfest after this horrible pandemic has subsided, hopefully in the spring of 2021, I am inviting Crystal to bring along a small vial of his ashes up to our beloved Deerfield.  They will be interred in a special place on the fairgrounds along with the ashes of some of our other departed team members who loved these grounds and whose presence will remain here with us for as long as there is a NEAR-Fest.

In the coming days I will be helping Crystal to petition the F.C.C. to obtain his beloved callsign for her own so that KA1BTK will still grace the airwaves identifying a member of his family.

Before I conclude let me briefly recount my favourite Gardi KA1BTK story.  It was setup day,  early Thursday afternoon, at a spring NEAR-Fest, the first time he joined us.  No one knew who he was; just a new guy here to help out.   We have a small utility trailer that is stored at the fairgrounds where we keep all the things we need to run the hamfest; our signs, tools, prize draw drum, cash box, papers, etc.  One of the fellows retrieved it from its storage place but it was locked and no one knew who had the key.  While they were trying to figure it out up steps the ?new guy?, tool in hand and in less time than it takes to describe, Gardi had that lock picked open with such skill and aplomb that I am sure they all were wondering where on earth did Mister Mike find this one?   

We probably won?t be seeing the likes of a Gardner H Winchester II in our midst again for a very long time.  He will be sadly missed for as long as there is a NEAR-Fest. Fortunately KA1BTK will live on both at the ?Fester? and on the air.

May you rest in peace, my friend, KA1BTK and may the Allmighty keep you for all eternity in the comfortable safe harbor of heaven.?