It is with sadness that I report today the passing of Gerard (Jerry)
Scarano - W1ZM formerly of Gales Ferry, CT. Jerry was one of the original
of YCCC having joined at our 1977 formation meeting and contributed
MILLIONS of points to the club kitty in the late 1970's and early 1980's.
He had a great station near Groton, CT with 5 towers at its high point -
with stacks on 20/15/10 and two 40M yagis - a 3el wire beam for 80 and a vee
for 160m. Inside were 5 complete monoband stations for 80 - 15 and the 10m
station doubled on 160m during the night time hours.
We ran a number of multi-multis from there in the early days with quite
good success. I recall the first one I was at - it was CQWW SSB in 1973 and
came in 5th after W7RM/W3AU/W2PV and W4BVV - in that order I think it was.
I operated 80M and some 10M, we had W1FV on 20M, WA1LNQ and W1ARR on 15
and Paul Budries on 40m as I recall. We only worked a handful on 160M that
first time out.
Many other multi's followed and about 7 years of single op/all band efforts
which resulted in 2 CQWW SSB single-op all-band USA championships and 3
ARRL DX SSB single-op all band USA championships - the last in 1984.
In those days, SO2R was not yet in its heyday - but changing bands at W1ZM
just meant you had to change your operating chair to a new position - neat!
Of course there were no computers - all logging and dupe checking was
paper-based and you sent ALL your own CW - as memory keyers did not come
vogue until about 1977. You had to be REALLY EFFICIENT to hand write a qso
both the log and dupe sheet and somehow manage to send the exchange and your
next CQ - almost at the same time for every QSO. (I think this part of
contesting was one of the things that separated the men from the boys in
days.......as it was not easy to do this for 48 hours straignt.)
Many YCCC members got to experience the joy of operating from Jerry's
station including these - (I apologize if I am leaving anyone out - as I am
getting a bit long in the tooth myself these days):
N3OC (Vice Admiral -retired)
I first met Jerry at a Murphy's Marauders club meeting held at Roger Kaul's
(W1FLM) house in Glastonbury CT. I recall driving down Roger's street and
as I neared his home - the cars lining the driveway were most of the TOP 10
single op finishers in the 1972 ARRL DX CW Test - eg: K1VTM, K1THQ, W1FBY,
W1BGD/2, K1ZZ, WB2OEU (K2TR), WA1PID, WA1KID etc - what a talented group of
contesters - all in the same club and in the same room!
While there Charlie Carroll (K1XX) was shepherding Jerry W1ZM around and he
came over to introduce me to Jerry - and after a short chat they asked me
to come up for CQWW SSB the next month - which is how it all started for me.
I went, had a great time and never looked back...
A life long friendship on many levels ensued with Jerry from that moment -
and we spent many hours together over the years playing golf, going to the
local TUCKERBUNG club to eat lobster at the annual clambake (the last was in
2006) - as well as sharing visits with family, when time permitted.
Last August, K0EJ brought Jerry to VY2ZM and it was a great joy for Jerry
to see how things had developed here in the Maritimes. He was especially
pleased to learn that some of the old W1ZM tower sections from 1978 had
their way into the 80M vertical array here next to the ocean - as well as
into the 40M tower with 3/3 on it for 40M. We spent a delightful week here
the island - and Jerry remarked "Jeff - I finally made it up here....." -
and it was great that he did. We were talking about a return visit this
coming summer - and since now that will never happen, it makes last year's
all the more poignant.....I was grateful to Mark and Judy for bringing him
here - that's for sure.
Jerry's background included degrees in multiple engineering disciplines -
electrical, mechanical and structural as I recall and he was also a
phenomenal machinist. He could make ANYTHING in his shop behind the shack -
including stainless steel U BOLTS and many other parts for our 2el full
yagi. I remember him making parts for a Ham M rotor one time when we needed
emergency repairs just before a contest.
Also, I was simply amazed at whom Jerry knew well - including Rush Drake
W7RM (SK) and Admiral Elmo Zumwalt (SK) - the Chief of Naval Operations in
late 1970's. One day when we were doing station work, the phone rang and
it was Elmo Zumwalt calling to confirm lunch with Jerry in Washington - the
Jerry was working on fire control designs for weaponry for the Naval fleet
at the time and needed to finalize some things with Admiral Zumwalt -
amazing! We used to make our beverages from torpedo guidance wire -
we picked up at a Naval surveying operation in RI one weekend....and so it
I'll close by noting that Jerry was a very fine contester himself - holding
down top 5 slots in both CQWW CW and ARRL DX CW as a SOAB contester from a
very modest station atop a town house in Washington DC in the mid 50's -
finishing right up there with the very best of the era including K1NOL,
and W1BPW - all of whom were SOAB champions for several years.
As I recall, Jerry also hosted a few other well known calls from his
Washington DC station both in DX contests and the ARRL SS including K3EST, W3ZZ
(K1ANV), K3ZO, and I think K8MFO and W8CQN. Not totally sure about the last
two.....most of these guys also cut their teeth in contesting at Jerry's
place and surely learned from the experience.
I'll miss Jerry and his friendship - and he will always be remembered
almost as a second father to both me and to Mark Speck, K0EJ. Much that I
learned about big time contesting came from my time spent with Jerry at
the early days.
Again, the end of an era....
73 JEFF K1ZM/VY2ZM
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