I have had many telephone conversations with Gene over the years. I would
pick up the phone thinking it was a customer only to have it turn out to be
Gene Zimmerman with a query for his QST VHF column. There were never any
short phone calls. They typically ran about an hour and a half with almost
all of the talking done by Gene. I always marveled at how listenable his
stories were. So much information , so many anecdotes. Gene was always a
contester. I loved to hear his stories about lugging KW modulators up to
large hilltops in the early 1960s for VHF contests. I remember hearing and
working one of those early efforts, that of W1GB (W1 Good Boy) in
Connecticut. Gene was a mover in that group. He achieved great status on HF
as a contester as well. Gene was very active in all facets of ham radio.
I always got a kick out of his VHF columns. There was much to read
between the printed lines. At times the printed lines were a hoot as well.
My favorite was his column with descriptions of each VHF conference in the
USA. For each one, he had a list of where the good restaurants were! That is
Gene was a student of propagation, and always tilted towards propagation
in his columns. His phone calls always included some propagation tidbits as
well. He always swore that Ray, W1REZ, had worked Portugal on 144 MHz in the
early 50's from his place in Fairfield CT. That subject was the topic of one
of our hour and a half phone conversations. He was very interested in tropo
communications across the Atlantic and we discussed that subject at length
I will miss Gene's voice terribly. We have lost a great ham and a real
personality. Gene used to visit Joel Knobloch at his shop in Gaithersburg,
MD. Joel always used to tell me about Gene's visits. Poor Joel was so close
to Gene' QTH, that he did not get phone calls like I did. Gene would just
show up and hold court for hours, telling stories and destroying Joel's
bottom line for the day. Joel loved it, and affectionately nicknamed Gene "
Doctor Doom". Gosh, I am going to miss him. VHF and ham radio just became a
bit poorer with Gene's passing.
Dave Olean K1WHS
From: Dave Zeph
Sent: Sunday, June 03, 2012 4:46 PM
To: 'VHF Contesting' ; email@example.com
Subject: [VHFcontesting] Gene Zimmerman, W3ZZ
I'm saddened to hear of the passing of Gene Zimmerman, W3ZZ. Gene was
devoted to Contesting. He spent many years on the CQ Contest Committee and
a long stint writing the "The World Above 50 MHz" Column for QST.
On a personal note - years ago as a young buck starting to make business
trips to DC, Gene took me under his wing and took me to a number of the
area's Contesters - W3AU, W4BVV and others. I never forgot this kindness.
I'll also miss long the conversations with Gene. To say that Gene was an
ardent conversationalist would still be an understatement. When asked for
help or an opinion, Gene never held back.
In this age of bland personalities, the loss of such a unique person as Gene
is truly a tragedy. Rest easy now, Gene.
73 --> Dave, W9ZRX
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