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R: FW: GM4IHJ Silent Key

Hi All,

It is with great sadness that i have to read that John Branegan,GM4IHJ
died because i started to contact him early on OSCAR-6 and he was both
a great gentleman radio ham and a great engineer radio ham.

73" de i8CVS Domenico

----- Original Message -----
From: Jim Heck <jim@milnet.uk.net>
Sent: Monday, February 10, 2003 6:15 PM
Subject: [amsat-bb] FW: GM4IHJ Silent Key

> Dear All,
>   I received this ad new yesterday. Many of us will remember John's
> 73
> Jim
> Jim Heck G3WGM
> Hon Sec AMSAT-UK
> g3wgm@amsat.org
> visit www.uk.amsat.org
> -----Original Message-----
> From: David Anderson GM4JJJ [mailto:gm4jjj@amsat.org]
> Sent: 09 February 2003 11:36
> To: g3wgm@amsat.org
> Subject: GM4IHJ Silent Key
> It is with great sadness that I have to report that John GM4IHJ died this
> morning 9th Feb.
> After a two and a half year battle against skin cancer, John had a stroke
> last weekend and was admitted into hospital where he died peacefully this
> morning.
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Commander John Branegan R.N. GM4IHJ died 9 Feb 2003 aged 76 years.
> He never used the 'Commander' title once he took early retirement from the
> Navy.
> He had a fascinating and distinguished career in the Royal Navy on
> Carriers and Nuclear Submarines. An expert on radio communications, Radar,
> Guidance and Navigation systems. He was also in the Icelandic "Cod War" in
> charge of the difficult Arctic Radio Communications.
> A very fit man who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.
> He was latterly based in Rosyth Scotland and he used to cycle all the way
> and from work from Saline in Fife each day, a very steep road. John
> preferred cycling to driving his car and was riding up the <steep> hill to
> his friend Hamish every day until very recently.
> He considers it likely his skin cancer was caused by his service in the
> tropics, where he would have been exposed to the Sun's high UV radiation.
> I met John on the OSCAR 7 satellite when he was GM8OXQ (and I was GM8HEY)
> the late 70's and was delighted to find that he was a near neighbour,
> only a mile away over the hill from me.
> Over the next 25 years he taught me everything from how to work out an
> for an unknown satellite, how doppler shift worked, how to write a
> tracking program from very simple ones that used EQX up to complex
> elliptical orbits  with footprints shown on a graphical map. He was ahead
> his time in the use of home computers to track satellites and produced
> amazing programs for the ZX81 ,ZX Spectrum and Sinclair QL.
> Knowledgeable and strongly opinionated on almost any subject and extremely
> well read, with interests from ancient history and geology to Space and
> Mathematics.
> A very unselfish and generous person who supplied amateur radio equipment
> freely to others in countries who had no way of obtaining it so that they
> could operate on the new satellites. A lot of Russian satellite operators
> have benefited from John's generosity.
> A bachelor, surely no wife would allow a 6 foot dish in the livingroom for
> satellite experiments! His house was crammed full of radio gear and books.
> There were antennas in the loft, on the chimneys and in the back garden.
> Nothing very ambitious, because his small bungalow and garden would not
> allow them, but sufficient for him to study all the bands that interested
> him, from 15m up to 12GHz. He had a full size 3 ele 10m beam and 50MHz
> in the back garden. He worked some good DX on 6m and also had the first GM
> to Balearic Islands QSO on 144MHz via Sporadic E.
> John spent a huge amount of time monitoring the bands, with several radio
> and TV receivers running on many channels looking for signs of anything
> unusual and was always the first to know that the band was going to open
> on SpE, FAI or Aurora. He would use many novel radio sources for examining
> the Ionosphere, including 'pulse stealing' from the 153MHz Wick Auroral
> Radar and the Fylingdales BMEWS.  Many times he would kindly phone me to
> that Norwegian Telly has just gone Auroral or getting a bit of SpE on Band
> from the south east possibly Arabic!
> He has the most complete daily record of his observations from the time I
> met him until the present day, all the events, meteor showers and times
> he observed a satellite sub horizon or found a short opening to South
> are logged in his shorthand style. At various times he would become
> interested in studying some particular aspect of radio and would dedicate
> his time to watching every pass of that satellite or whatever so that he
> would know what was normal and what was abnormal. He was a true
> and discovered many new things about the ionosphere in both the
> Arctic/Antarctic and the Equatorial regions from his observations in a
> Scottish village.
> He always embraced the new technological tools that became available with
> the home computer. He used software such as AF9Ys FFTDSP to examine
> shift on HF satellite beacons at the antipodes. Weather satellite picture
> receiving software to look for signs of break up due to Es or Aurora.
> Usually at least 3 computers were running in his shack monitoring
> channels.
> Although he much preferred the original analog VHF satellites to the
> digisats, he was never the less keen to gain all the knowledge on how to
> a digital satellite station together. He built PSK and FSK modems and
> helpful booklets on how to get everything configured and working.
> From 1989 to 2001 John wrote a weekly Satgen bulletin a grand total of 682
> Satgens! This was distributed worldwide by packet radio and then also on
> Internet. There was always something in these Satgens that was topical and
> practical and they are a mine of information as well as historical value.
> Every one can be found online at
> http://www.amsat.org/amsat/articles/satgen/chron.html
> In the past year John had a heart pacemaker fitted and this curtailed his
> transmitting but that was didn't stop him from continuing the receiving
> experiments.
> Always keen to talk to the youngsters in the village who all loved to come
> round to his house to find out things about fossils or volcanoes or Mars
> the War or... He had many watercolours that the kids had produced for him
> stuck up on his livingroom/shack wall beside a couple of large black and
> white photos he had taken on one of his Aircraft Carriers showing some
> dramatic pilot errors.
> John loved to educate others and would travel to Scottish amateur radio
> meetings and conventions to give guest talks on subjects from Satellites
> how the Ionosphere works. He produced booklets on his own printer, bound
> them and supplied them to whoever requested them.
> He had a deep interest in space and astronomy and was delighted to have
> witnessed those magnificent comets Hyakutake and then Hale-Bopp.
> As well as publishing numerous papers in AMSAT-NA Journal, John authored
> Space Radio Handbook published by the RSGB. This book highlights John's
> experimental approach and is essential reading to anyone interested in
> and radio communications.
> We will miss him dearly.
> David Anderson GM4JJJ     gm4jjj@amsat.org
> ----
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Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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