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W3AZD - Donald Search - Davie - Florida - USA

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    W3AZD - Donald Search - Davie - Florida - USA

    Don Donald B. Search, W3AZD from Davie, Florida, USA passed away 26 March 2020.
    He was member of QCWA 14049.

    W3AZD Donald Search, Davie, Florida, USA
    73 Al 4L5A

    Silent Key – in Memoriam – W3AZD, Donald B. Search
    By KE3Q, Rich Boyd
    __________________________________________________ ____________________

    Many, many emails have been coming in, commenting on the passing of good ole Don, Donald B. Search, W3AZD, of Davie, Broward County, Florida, a friend to so many of us, a DXCC card checker, and longtime ARRL DXCC staffer, signer of our DXCC certificates for many years. His name and signature grace the walls of, no doubt, thousands of hamshacks.

    Don is survived by his faithful longtime partner of more than 55 years, Hope Smith, WB3ANE, who continues to reside in Florida. As I recall hearing it (subject to correction, refinement, clarification), Hope and Don met at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, a close-in northern suburb of Washington, D.C. They were among the original members of the NCDXA, National Capitol DX Association and, even after moving to Florida quite a few years ago now, they continued to drive or fly to the D.C. area for the bi-monthly NCDXA meetings, never missing a one until April, 2018, with age and challenging health issues. Amazing. Don was “ham’s ham,” and a true blue DXer, and Hope and Don were a notable example of two people loving and depending on each other. They were hardly ever apart.

    I was able to say hello to them in person at the annual W3LPL June open house. The last time I saw Don I teased him about still wearing, always wearing, that beat-up orange callsign hat, “festooned” with pins and badges. W3UR reminds me Don wore a relatively matching orange T-shirt, survivor of thousands of washings. When I mentioned his hat, Don had his signature wry smile and said “It’s not my only one.” My observation is that ham radio and Hope were the centerpieces of Don’s life.

    According to Don’s nephew, Fred Reed, Don passed in hospice care between 2 and 3 AM March 26. He was in the Wilton Manors Rehab Center. His health issues apparently accelerated when he fell in a restaurant, hitting his head on a table, December 17, 2019.

    Before taking the job at ARRL, Don worked as an electronic technician for Burrows Communications in Maryland. He administered the DXCC award for 15 years.

    Don enjoyed reading about astronomy. He was a member of various radio clubs including the Potomac Valley Radio Club, the aforementioned NCDXA, the Gold Coast Amateur Radio Association, and the South Florida DX Association. He went to many hamfests, often spending some time checking DXCC card submissions.

    Funeral/memorial arrangements are pending. KJ4VCT, Melanie Fernandez, President of the Gold Coast [Florida] Amateur Radio Association, suggests prayers for Hope, who will certainly miss Don even more than any of the rest of us will. Melanie suggests dropping Hope a card or letter, through Melanie at the following mailing address, who will see they get to her (as Hope’s plans are uncertain at this point):

    Hope Smith
    c/o Melanie Fernandez
    4860 NW 3 ST, Apt D
    Delray Beach, FL 33445

    K9BO, Bill Oberdorfer, living in Weeki Wachee, Florida, notes the fine job Don did at DXCC in Newington. Bill recalls showing up unannounced at W1AW one day in 1980 with 275 cards to check, a first-time submission. He and Don sat together going through the cards one by one and Don, never complaining, “couldn’t have been nicer.” Bill adds, “The worst thing about having been licensed since 1958 is so many old friends and acquaintances are now passing on with more and more frequency.”

    W2CQ, Bill, says Don “was always available, on the repeater, for help, for meetings and for anyone who asked for help with something. For a tower party, Don was there, most of the time with Hope. Years ago, in the eighties and nineties, Don would be there for us to pick someone up at the airport for the Miami Hamfest, to run an errand or pick up some materials. If we needed someone at the table, Don was the one who always volunteered. He was there for setting up the [club’s] booth and then he was there when we needed someone to man it. He checked cards for hours. He held the club banner for safekeeping, ready to bring it anywhere, to hamfests, flea markets and field day. We used his DXCC cards for the display at our booth, always, because he had the largest collection. Don was always one of the last ones standing at the Dayton DX dinner, the ‘sit down roll call’ of highest total number of countries confirmed. He knew everyone and everyone knew Don.”

    K3ZO, Fred Laun, President of NCDXA, notes Don’s 60-plus years as an amateur radio licensee and his contesting and DXing contributions. Fred reminds us that for some years Don was an operator at one of the biggest multi-multi contest stations of the era, W3MSK/W3AU (Ed Bissell), a station whose antennas were clearly visible above the trees from George Washington’s historic Mount Vernon, just across the Potomac River. “Beat ‘MSK” was an iconic “saying,” due to the station’s contest dominance. W3AU, too, retired to Florida, as so many do.

    In Florida in retirement, Don was the QSL bureau sorter for the A suffix for the US third call area and L and V suffixes for the two-letter prefix fourth call area. At Dayton, Don checked cards for DXCC in the ARRL booth. In Florida he participated in hurricane nets.
    73 Al 4L5A