Past ARRL Midwest Division Director Lew Gordon, K4VX, of Hannibal, Missouri, died on February 25. He was 87. Although he had been suffering from cancer, Gordon had remained active on the air until his death.
Licensed in 1947, Gordon was a veteran of the Korean Conflict. After separating from the service, he attended Purdue University, earning a bachelor’s degree in physics.
An ARRL Life Member, Gordon served on the ARRL Board’s Membership Services Committee, including 2 years as chairman, and on its Administration and Finance Committee. He stepped down from the Board in 2000 at the age of 70.
Cliff Ahrens, K0CA, later also served as Midwest Division Director. “Lew’s love for Amateur Radio touched so many, Ahrens said. “He was a strong advocate for Amateur Radio during his 6 years of service as the ARRL Midwest Division Director. And he served our country honorably in both the Air Force and the CIA. We will miss him greatly.”
Gordon’s first love was DX contesting, and during his active contest years as W9APY, W4ZCY, and K4VX his station made several hundred thousand QSOs. Over the years he also mentored many young contesters, including three-time WRTC co-champion Jeff Steinman, then KR0Y, now N5TJ. Among the other budding contesters that Steinman enticed into the circle of K4VX operators was Dave Patton, NN1N, now ARRL Field Services Manager.
“Jeff brought me into the group in 1985, after I returned from my active duty Navy stint,” Patton recounted, “and I am forever thankful to Lew and his wife Terry, NS0Z for opening their house and hearts to me.” The late Bill Fisher, W4AN, was another of Gordon’s contesting protégés.
Patton said Gordon had a reputation in the contesting world for his high ethical standards, insisting that operators at his station abide by them, especially with respect to not exceeding the maximum legal power output.
“His strength of character and contest skills led to his selection as Chief Judge at two World Radiosport Team Championship competitions,” Patton said. “I was proud to be a competitor when he was there, and we were sure that the scoring was the best it could be.”
He was on the DXCC Honor Roll with 366 all time for #1 DXCC Honor Roll. He also held Worked All Zones (WAZ) on both phone and CW. In 1996 he was tapped for membership in the CQ Contest Hall of Fame, an honor he always felt topped all the others. Gordon was a life member of QCWA, the Eastern Iowa DX Association, and the Mississippi Valley DX and Contest Club. He also belonged to the Potomac Valley Radio Club and the Society of Midwest Contesters.
Gordon has been published in QST, CQ, NCJ, and in several editions of The ARRL Antenna Compendium. He said recently that he’d rather be known for the antenna-design software he wrote — YagiMax — and for the various antennas he’s designed. YagiMax remains in use worldwide.
Patton said Gordon ventured beyond contesting and DXing, equipping a local school with ham gear and teaching classes. “He licensed over 100 kids, and they all had tours of a real radio station,” Patton said.
“Lew was one of our real true hams, and it goes without saying that he will be missed,” Patton said.