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GM3VLB - Andre Saunders - Kelso - Scotland

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  • 4L5A
    I’m very sad to hear of Andre’s (GM3VLB) passing. He was highly passionate about Scottish islands and IOTA, and I am grateful for the many enjoyable moments he brought us all. I never met Andre in person but we corresponded several times and I truly enjoyed his direct style. My condolences to his family, he will be sorely missed.

    Cezar, VE3LYC

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  • 4L5A
    started a topic GM3VLB - Andre Saunders - Kelso - Scotland

    GM3VLB - Andre Saunders - Kelso - Scotland

    GM3VLB, Andre Saunders from Kelso, Scotland passed away.
    Andre was active IOTA chaser and was active from many Islands of Scotland.
    Information from his qrz page:
    Born 1938 RENTON, Scotland - Scots father/French mother, hence bilingual. Built first radio (a crystal set!) in 1949. After graduating (B.Sc.Glasgow, 1958), moved to HB9-land as a scientific translator. Ham licences were then not available to aliens. Became a member of the International Amateur Radio Club at ITU HQ Geneva, operating as 4U1ITU - well-known late` DX'er Ted F8RU became a friend and mentor. From 1960 to '64, maths/physics teacher at Léman College International School near Geneva. Son Niall (GM6GMZ/VP8NJS) and daughter Fiona born in '60 and '63. In 1964, moved to 5Z4-land. Maths/physics teacher at Kenya High School, Nairobi until 1970, then as Lecturer in the Electrical Engineering Department of the Kenya Polytechnic until 1973. No new ham licences were issued after Independence in 1963 (although former VQ4 licence holders continued to operate). Obtained (the second!) 5Z4 call when licensing finally resumed in May 1967. As 5Z4KL, was a very active DXer, reaching the ARRL Honor Roll in June 1973. Early member of the IOTA programme (first to gain the IOTA-AF Award) including first activation of AF-040 Lamu Island in August 1971 as 5Z5KL. Activated 5X5-land as 5Z4KL/A (August 1969) and at other times. Several times winner of the RSGB BERU (now "Commonwealth") CW Contest Low Power section. Very active on the LF bands and first 5Z4 with dispensation to operate on 160m. Most proud achievements are the 160m WAC certificate (1973) and several "firsts" including first Africa - Japan on 160m, and perhaps first Africa - South America (challenges welcome). Communications Manager (and 1967 competitor) for what was then the East African Safari Rally. Secretary, Awards Manager, Editor QTC, Past President & Honorary Life member of the former Radio Society of East Africa. Returned temporarily to Scotland in 1973, briefly reviving the present call GM3VLB, before taking a senior teaching post in G-land and operating as G3VLB. In 1978, finally moved back to Scotland after 20 years abroad, founded the Kelso High School amateur radio club, followed by the Kelso Amateur Radio Society in 1981. In 1982, launched the first of the highly successful annual "Anglo-Scottish Rally" here in Kelso's Tait Hall. In 1995, retired "early" after 35 years at the chalk-face.

    In recent years, André's main interest (Veronica calls it 'obsession'!) has been /M and /P operation, activating to date 318 islands world-wide, 291 of them within the “SCOTIA” SCOTtish Island Award programme, including all GM IOTA islands (other than 2005 "new one" Rockall!) and recently completing (and unlikely-to-be-challenged) all 200 islands qualifying for SCOTIA (any would-be challengers to submit evidence of a minimum of 100 QSOs per island). Following the acquisition (during the 2007 Nova Scotia trip) of TWO sorry-looking RCA Radiola IIIs, nostalgia has crept in and much spare time (what’s that?!) is taken up restoring (and building) a dozen or so crystal sets and some valve/tube sets all from the 1920s.

    To celebrate his 60th birthday in 1998, André crossed "the pond" for the first time with son Niall GM6GMZ (daughter Fiona was unable to travel) and XYL Veronica. Since then, his travels (always operating /P or /M) have taken him several times to British Columbia, twice round the world (once with Niall and once with Veronica), with a 3rd return trip in 2005 with Veronica to Fiji via the USA (crossing the date-line twice in the process). These travels have enabled him to visit (and in many cases, operate from) places such as the Yukon, the N.W. Territories, Alaska, Tuktoyaktuk on the Canadian Arctic ocean, Alberta and Ontario, Australia and Hawaii (both twice), Fiji (3 times as 3D2LB from Beachcomber Island OC-121), and S. Carolina and the Nevada and Mojave deserts. On the VE7 leg of his 2nd RTW trip in 2003, regular GM-island partner Alex GM0DHZ and Niall joined him in Vancouver to re-activate several IOTA islands in the NA group, as well as two "new ones" in the C.Is.A. island programme. In 2007, XYL Veronica and André, joined by S.Carolina-based brother and sis-in-law, toured Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia/Cape Breton islands. André took the opportunity to activate VY2 and VE1, putting 4 C.Is.A. islands on the air in the process. A particular highlight was operating /P from the Marconi memorial sites at Louisburg and Glace Bay. Using a more suitable frequency than Marconi, VE1/GM3VLB had no trouble making many Transatlantic QSOs with his trusty and relatively QRP TS50, feeding a magmounted fishing rod antenna on the roof of the rental car!! In 2014, André added the Marconi site at Poldhu in Cornwall to his tally of /P operations, again making a few more transatlantic contacts than Marconi managed!

    As a spin-off, GM3VLB has designed and developed /M and /P antennas , including multi-band "inverted-V" dipoles, "fishing pole" verticals and a very compact multi-band wire-loop antenna (the "GM3VLB Mini-Delta") based on a seemingly little used concept, that of the open half-wave loop, the loop being formed from a folded dipole. No matching is needed and bandwidth and performance are excellent (see RSGB "Radio Communication", September 2003, for a highly compact, multi-band design). The latest design is a “hybrid” ¼ wave vertical on 20m, leading via traps into a 40m/80m half inverted-V. Some of the designs are used with success by fellow island activators. Many details on the antennas can be found on, and freely down-loaded from, the SCOTIA web-site The very popular and highly successful 'Islander' vertical (used by GM3VLB on all portable operations) has just completed its 'nth upgrade (purely for contsructional simplicity)

    GM3VLB does not possess a linear amplifier and avoids ATUs like the plague! All operations have relied on the same Kenwood TS-50s which has proved to be a superb, reliable transceiver, having now given some 15 years of trouble-free service, not only as the main /M rig around Europe, but also /M or /P on 291 individual GM-island operations. As well as its use on some 26 other islands/locations in the Pacific and N.America, it was also used for several months over the Millennium by son Niall as VP8NJS at Patriot Hills Base, Antarctica. In 2004 it completed a 19-day/17-island operation in the O.Hebrides (including EU-059, StKilda) with regular co-activator Alex G(M)0DHZ, and in 2005 it paid its 3rd visit to StKilda together with Peter GM3OFT (also using a TS-50s), Bob N5ET and Eric G3KPU. The Kenwood TS-50s is undoubtedly one of the best and most reliable portable rigs ever made…

    GM3VLB Andre Saunders, Kelso, Scotland