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Vy 73 to an old friend -- JY1

I am saddened by the report on the radio this morning and in the story
on CNN at http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/meast/9902/05/hussein.02/index.html

It appears that staunch AMSAT supporter and old friend, King Hussein
of Jordan (JY1) is about to say SK. After spending many months at the
Mayo Clinic, his cancer has finally claimed his body. He was flown back
to Amman yesterday so that he could spend his last minutes at home.

I'd like to mention a couple of personal recollections of JY1. Back in
my DXing days I recall the magic of the rare QSO with JY1. His presence
on HF would create a world-class pileup. 

In 1980, I was President of AMSAT when we lost the Phase-3A spacecraft.
It was a black day for us and we were fighting to keep an amateur
satellite program. I received a phone call late one night from "Blackie"
Blackburn (JY9BB/W4???) who served as a communications/technology
advisor to the King. Blackie told me that the King was concerned
about amateur radio's loss and asked a lot of questions about our
recovery plans and needs. Blackie ended the call with a comment to the 
effect "I'll be back with you in a couple of weeks, and I may have some
good news".

The next week the newspapers carried a small news note that the King was
in the US to buy some jet planes for Jordan. A couple of days later, the
phone range again and it was Blackie calling from Los Angeles. He asked
me to hold and this wondrous voice came on the line saying "Tom -- it
is a pleasure to talk to you at last. This is JY1. I wanted to tell you
how proud We are about AMSAT's efforts and how sad We are about the
loss of Phase-3A. I would like to offer some help, so I'm sending you
a contribution."

We exchanged a few minutes more of chit-chat, and Blackie came back on
the line and said "Tom, the King's contribution to AMSAT is a check for
$10,000. I have it in my hand. Where should I send it?" 

Not only did JY1's generous contribution provide needed financial support,
it was very important in helping the AMSAT folks to rebuild their morale.
AO-10 was the result of JY1's generous outreach. 

About 5 years later, AMSAT made its first venture into Manned Flight with
Owen Garriot's (W5LFL) flight. We arranged for a "private" JY1-W5LFL QSO
while the shuttle was flying over the Middle East. To hear the tapes of
that QSO was a fantastic experience.

Today's news reports indicate that the King is fading rapidly and that
he will probably say SK. While the band is still open, I'd like to sign off
saying "Sir -- speaking for AMSAT, it's been a pleasure to know you as a 
friend and strong supporter. You will be missed here on earth and we wish
you well in your next trip into the cosmos. VY 73. JY1 de W3IWI. SK"

  [ For the AMSAT folks -- I expect it will be very congested, but you
    want to glean the King's personal web site in Amman at URL: 
    and read his biography at http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/biography.html

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