[SCCC] A triumph and tragedy (NOT about COVID-19)

Wayne Overbeck overbeck6 at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 31 19:27:51 EDT 2020

I want to share news of a triumph and then a tragedy that followed the January, 2020 VHF Contest.

First, the good news.  Shortly after the results of the SEPTEMBER, 2019 VHF Contest were published online and in QST. the preliminary highlights page for JANUARY, 2020 went online on ARRL.org.  Thanks to the author, James Duffey, KK6MC, for putting this together so quickly after log-checking was completed.

The Southern California Contest Club won the medium club gavel in January, 2020 with an aggregate score of almost 388K from 18 logs.  This is the 15th gavel SCCC has won in a VHF contest since 2009.  As far as I can tell, no west coast club had ever won a gavel in a VHF contest until then.

A bit shamelessly, I'm going to say January, 2020 was a milestone for me personally.  My score was over 290K, the highest score posted by anyone in any category of the contest.  Altogether, 942 people and groups submitted logs, the highest number in any January VHF contest in this century. Now I've won at least an ARRL division leader certificate in a VHF contest in seven decades:  the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and now the 2020s, with at least one #1 score nationally in six of those decades.

There were other highlights in the January, 2020 VHF Contest as well.  John, K6MI, won the unlimited rover category nationally with 150K.  (Unlimited rovers are not eligible for the club competition.)  Pat, W6YEP, won the very popular single operator low power category with 74K.  Winning SOLP from the west coast is almost unheard of, but Pat did it at the W6TV mountaintop station near Fresno.  A key to all of this was having equipment that worked well on all bands from 50 MHz to 24 GHz.  We worked W6TV from six different grid squares on 10 bands and from five on 24 GHz.  Meanwhile, KG6IYN near San Diego was setting a record in the FM-only category with 11K.

So that was the happy part of this message.  Here's the tragic part.  Erik Scott, NI6G, has roved with us several times and he was in the top four nationally in the 2020 January VHF Contest, but he never got to celebrate.  In February he had a sudden, massive heart attack--at age 52.  When it happened, he was talking on his cellphone to a lifelong family friend.  The line suddenly fell silent.  Assuming it was a dropped call, the friend dialed Erik's landline, but there was no answer.  The friend then called 911 and first responders got to Erik's home quickly.  They went in and found Erik unresponsive.

This was astonishing to all of us.

-Wayne, N6NB

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