W4YCZ - March 28, 2009

Jack R. Main
Norfolk, VA
QCWA #21769

Jack Main, W4YCZ, SK March 28, 2009. We sometimes miss the opportunity to do things we would like to do simply because there is so much to do. Putting off important things never is a good thing to do and sometimes the ranking of important things is not what we might wish it to be had we better foresight. And so it is with this issue of the newsletter that we are coming a little bit late to something we wish we had done earlier. The Member Profile this week features Jack Main, W4YCZ, who became a silent key last week on March 28, 2009. We might have done better to celebrated Jack while he was here to accept our congratulations in person. As it is, Jack knows that we are honoring him in this way, and if you wish to express your appreciation of Jack then send a note to Sally, his wife, and let her know how much Jack meant to you, and to all of us: Ms. Sally Main, 172 Ocean Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23503

Enclosed are some biographical notes that came this way over the past few days. They tell a story of one side of this extraordinary individual. Enjoy what we know to share with you.

Wally Carter, K4OGT, shared the following note about Jack: "..... I can not come up with a time line but I do remember that Blair Blanton, W4CEU, now deceased, and I, stopped by and talked him in to running for president of SPARK as we were returning from the VA Beach Hamfest. He ran and was president for two years."

USS Chambers DE-391 USCG Earlier, around 1972, I had coffee with him and in our conversation I found out he was the weather bureau man on a Coast Guard ship, (not in the coast guard per say), somewhere in the North Sea in 1952. I was on a Troop ship headed for Europe and he was giving weather bulletins by radio. We had a transoceanic in the group and followed the news about the storm. The first mate told me they were in direct contact with the weather ship. This continues until we docked and then left Southampton, England. We ran into the edge of the storm and had to stand off of Bremerhaven for about 18 hours, on sea anchors. The storm was in 1952 and the only reason I can set a time is I remembered it was 20 years later when I first met him. He and Sally were great music lovers and they followed the Hampton Lions Jug band, all of the Williamsburg events, and another band I played with from 1972 until 2003, called the Lyrics. They would always bring Sally's parents to the Fort Monroe Officers club, when they were in country and we were playing there. He was one of our first operators to train and fill a weekly slot at the Virginia Air and Space Center radio station, until his doctor told him recently, to quit extra travel and outside activities. He had a small side key and would send "My Name is Jack" on our oscillator. He was surprised more than once to have someone walk up and say "Hello Jack." Last year, as you remember, I helped Sally to set up a party, at VASC, for his 80th birthday. I am so sorry I can not add more. I will miss him. 73, Wally Carter K4OGT.

The following came our way in a document titled "I Remember Jack Main" written by Jack A. Eckert. In this document there is a letter written to Armand Brunette, with additional comments by J. Eckert.

Ingham 14, Absecon 12, Chincoteague 12, Mendota 12, Taney 11, Duane 10, Owasco 7, Spencer 7, McCulloch 7, Half Moon 5. Bibb 5. Sebago 4, Rockaway 4, Campbell 4, Cook Inlet 4, Gresham 3, Barataria 3, Castle Rock 3, Androscoggin 3, Hamilton 2, Boutwell 2, Escanaba 2, Mackinac 2, Ponchartrain 2, Morganthau 2, Munro 1, Sherman 1, Gallatin 1, Yakutat 1, Humboldt 1, Chambers 1, Coos Bay 1, (and) Unimak 1.
That adds up to 150 trips aboard Coast Guard ships. Most of the trips were about five weeks long but one was two and one half months in the South Pacific. These ships represent the five classes of ships that stood weather patrol. This would be 255' or Lake Class Cutters; 311' or ex-AVP Navy Seaplane Tenders; 327' and 378' cutters were Secretary Classes and the Chambers was the one lone ex-Navy Destroyer Escort which was the worst riding ship the Coast Guard ever had. Jack (W4YCZ)

Everett comments: Jack Main was a Civilian Weatherman who was assigned to the various East Coast Cutters beginning in 1950. OSJ has not contacted him directly but it is assumed he left his Weather Ship duties about 1970. 150 patrols over 20 years is about 7-1/2 patrols per year. That is about 233 days at sea per year every year. How many of us "Old Salts" can make that claim. He should be nominated as "Lord HIGH BRINE Density." That is more than just being an "Old Salt" and we should stand at attention in his presence and salute him.

They were given the privileges of officers but in some respects that wasn't really a plus for them. Their sleeping quarters were the worst available that could still be considered in Officer's Country. They ate in the Ward Room which meant they paid for their meals directly. Every one of the larger ships in those days had an Ensign type Mess Treasurer trying to preserve as much as possible of his (there were no her's) monthly meal allowance of $47.88. On one ship a Junior Officer bragged that the mess bill for the entire patrol was $7.77. While the Weather Birds didn't have to pay much for their chow, they didn't eat very well either. There weren't very many fat weathermen. For the most part these fellow's were a decent lot. They didn't mix much with the Officers and men but were not aloof either. They are forgotten today to almost everybody but us "Old Salts."

Jack Main was an avid ham radio operator and was the first man to legally bring his gear aboard ship. In 1964 he had orders to the Castle Rock in Boston and knew he was going to Ireland after the trip. It was a long one and he "sweet talked" the Skipper into permission to bring his little HW-32 and a hustler antenna along. That worked out so well and so many patches were made including several emergency messages that the Coast Guard decided to let him bring his rig on any ship he wanted to. All he had to do was secure the Captains permission. Slowly all of the ships got their own gear and if they had a licensed ham on board would operate with Jack Main filling in when needed. Yes Jack Main, you are remembered!" (J. Everett)