W2AMJ - July 3, 2006|
Frank I. Lester|
Born: January 9, 1907
First Call: 2AMJ (1924)
Charter Member #13
Last Call: W4AMJ
from the 1953 QCWA Yearbook
Frank Lester is not only one of our Founding Fathers, but it was Frank who suggested our name; "Quarter Century Wireless Association"
Frank was an avid experminter all his life from the 1920's on, and is active to this day. Chapter 53 is privileged to have his company together with his XYL, Sally at the monthly luncheons. Frank always has lots of interesting tales to tell. He is also to this day active on the International QCWA Sunday net and other "on the air" activities as well.
Wes Randels, our Headquarters Historian, published an in depth article on Frank in the Summer of 1997 Issue of the QCWA Journal. It makes very interesting reading.
We were pleased to have our President Emertius(of Chapter 53), Frank Lester, W4AMJ, and his wife Sally, join us, Frank was one of he founding members of QCWA. He has been a ham for 75 years.
taken from the Summer 1999 QCWA Journal Chapter 53 Report
from the Spring 2002 QCWA Journal
From the minutes of Chapter 70's May 17, 2005 Meeting:
"Croft recently had the privilege of presenting to Frank, W4AMJ, who has membership number 13, and who is 97 years old, with his 80-year pin."
I just got off the phone with Ralph Hasslinger. Another charter member has become an SK, Frank Lester, W2AMJ, passed away this morning. Is there someone with background information on Frank that could provide text for an article in this next Journal? That leaves Ralph as the lone survivor of the Charter Members.
Chuck Walbridge, K1IGD
QCWA General Manager
It is with sincere sadness that I report to you the loss of QCWA Founding Member # 13, Frank Lester-W4AMJ. Sally just called me with the news that Frank passed away around 3 AM today, with her at his side, in the Venice hospital. Frank was born 09 January 1907 and earned his first Amateur Radio license in 1924. At the initial organizational meeting, it was Frank (then W2AMJ) who suggested the name, Quarter Century Wireless Association. Those of us who knew Frank in recent years know that his love and devotion to Amateur Radio and the QCWA remained unabated with time.
A memorial service will be held in the Fall, after many of Frank's friends will be back in this area for the Winter. We will inform you of the date and location as soon as that information is available. If you would like to express your condolences to Sally, her address is:
Mrs. Sally Lester
900 S Tamiami Trail, Apt 432
Venice, FL 34285-3626
Jack Sproat - W4JS
President, Suncoast Chapter 53
I'm saddened to learn of Frank's passing. He called me about baluns last October, shorly before Jean I left for Michigan for the Summer. Knowing of his age I had hoped to get over to see him again before we headed north. Even so, I had hoped to get over to see him shortly after returning to Florida on Nov 1. I'm sorry I didn't make it before we came north.
I knew Frank from seeing him every month during the years between 1969 and 1980 at the monthly meeting of the 3999ers at the Colts Neck Inn, Colts Neck, NJ. As most of you know, he was W2AMJ then. It's been so long since then that I've forgotten what Frank's career was, except it may have been as manufacturers' rep. I know he was solidly in the radio business. I'm sure Ralph can supply the important info on Frank. He's certainly going to be missed by a lot of his friends. My condolences to Sally.
I've also had the pleasure of knowing Ralph while I was a member of Chapter 5, the Delaware Valley Chapter, from 1968 until 1980, when I retired to Florida and joined Chapter 45, the Citrus Chapter in Orlando.
73 is black today,
Walt Maxwell, W2DU
I am wondering about his original call. I am not sure there were prefixes in 1924. My Father was licenced in 1922 and his call was 3QU (without a prefix). I am not sure when the prefixes came into play.
73 - Croft VE3CT
According to my memory, which is sometimes a bit hazy at 91, the prefix NU was used for a short time in the late 20's and the W and K prefixes were started in about 1927.
Harvey,W4TG (originally W9CLT 1931)
Frank Lester was first listed in "Amateur Radio Stations of the United States, June 30, 1925 Edition, printed by the Government Printing Office (GPO) in Washington, published by the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Navigation, Radio Service on page 58 as follows:
(looks like W4TG's memory is pretty good!)
Owner of station: Lester, Frank
Call Signal: 2AMJ"
Frank is not listed in the 1924 edition of the same title.
The 1927 book was the last to list "call signals" without a prefix. Commencing with the 1928 book we no longer see "call signals" without a prefix. The 1928 book lists the "W" as well as the "K" and "M" prefixes. At first glance it appears that all but "W" are apparently limited to Hawaii.
> Hi Jack,
> I just received an email from Chuck that contains a little Chapter 53 history.
> He found a copy of an award for: "President Emeritus, Chapter #53" for Frank Lester dated 4/3/1977.
The masthead for The Suncoaster, the monthly newsletter I prepare for Chapter 53, shows Frank-W4AMJ as President Emeritus. I had no idea that the title was given to him 33 years ago!!
Back in '77, I was W4LCL over in the Ft. Lauderdale area. I was still two years shy of 25 years as a ham, so it wasn't until a couple years later that I joined QCWA and attended the, now defunct, Everglades Chapter (I'm sure that was the correct name) lunches. Dave Talley, one of the QCWA originators I believe, was always in attendance over there.
I met Frank Lester around 1997. He and Sally had a nice house on a saltwater canal about 500' in from Lemon Bay here in Englewood, Fla. There was another saltwater canal behind the properties across the street from them, so he had an excellent saltwater location for chasing DX. I don't know how he knew where I was, or who I was, but one morning he was super kind to me. We were both calling a station in Sri Lanka. Frank's "saltwater antenna" at 40' was outdoing my beam at 80' (I'm about 1.5 miles inland from Lemon Bay and the Gulf). Frank worked the Sri Lankan, and then told him, "There's a local fellow calling you--would you listen for him?" He did, and I worked Sri Lanka for the first time from this QTH. I looked up Frank in the call book and then in the telephone book, and gave him a call to let him know that I appreciated his kindness. That was the beginning of our acquaintance.
Frank didn't make too many Chapter 53 lunches during his later years, and they sold that "DX" property and moved into an assisted living facility in Venice, Fla. He kept in touch, however. After he died, Sally donated his IC-746PRO to our Tamiami ARC, with the proviso that it be used and not sold off. Our property manager asked me to keep it for the club, and I started using it on 6 meters last year. I don't know what became of Sally, as the last time we sent her a Christmas card it was returned.
A little more about Frank Lester-W4AMJ. 73, Jack Sproat-W4JS
Image courtesy of the NL7XM Collection