Jim Stafford, W4QO became a Silent Key yesterday. That news wasn’t unexpected, I had been closely following the North Georgia QRP mailing list these last few weeks dreading the announcement that arrived yesterday morning.

I had known Jim for more than 20 years. We first met in the late 90’s during a Four Days in May event back when the conference took place at the old hotel south of Dayton. I think we hit it off because we both were native Hoosiers, but his infectious enthusiasm for the hobby made everyone want to be around him.

He became my guide into the world of low-power radio and over the following years we regularly renewed our friendship on the air, via email, and in person almost every year during FDIM at Dayton.

When I built my K2 (#524) in 1999 W4QO became my first contact using it. A few years later when I acquired an Argonaut VI Jim was again the first worked with it. And just a few years ago when I added a KX3 to the shack, “Quaker Oats” was the first station logged with it. None of these were planned, I guess Jim just liked to spend time hovering around popular QRP watering holes.

He was a past President of QRP-ARCI as well as a member of the QRP Hall of Fame. Jim was also named Ham of the Year at the 2010 Dayton Hamvention. He achieved 5BDXCC at QRP. He was licensed over 60 years, starting out on the family farm in Shelbyville Indiana, before moving on to Purdue University where he earned a graduate EE degree, eventually ending his career as a Sr. Manager for Bell South before retiring in 1994.

I could fill pages about Jim and probably will one of these days.

Suffice it for now to simply say he was a good family man, a good ham radio operator, and a good friend to many. This world would be a much better place if there were a lot more Jim Stafford’s in it.

Rest in Peace my friend. 73 CUL SK. dit-dit