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Tom, SP5GH

Henryk Kotowski (SM0JHF) on December 15, 2006
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A Contester Gentleman

His call sign can be found in many contest logs but is seldom highlighted in the contest result listings. He is over 70 years now but still active on the air in many Amateur Radio contests. Always submitting a log and always obeying the contest rules. His equipment is quite ancient; his antennas are simple and inconspicuous, yet he gets through the pile ups. His DXCC status is 334 confirmed on CW. Actually, he is of the CW-only kind.

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The yellowish log book and the QSL card are from 1956. Photographed in the summer of 2006

The reason I am writing about Tom, SP5GH now is that he recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of his first QSO. The year was 1956 and he lived on the coast of the Baltic Sea. Amateur Radio behind the Iron Curtain had been very restricted but that year certain political and social relaxation resulted in quite many new licences issued in Poland. Tom became SP2GH, a few later moved to a town called Radom and converted to SP7GH. I met him for the first time sometime in 1965 when he was about to move to Warszawa and eventually became SP5GH.

Tom got engaged in the PZK organization and served for some time as its Contest Manager. In the 70's he published a book about Amateur Radio contesting, the first publication of its kind in Polish. At that time many of present Polish Big Guns became interested in our hobby and I daresay they were influenced by this handbook.

I have known Tom for 40 years and he has always emphasized the importance of fair play in contesting. It is very easy to cheat but cheating spoils the fun, for yourself and others. I wish there were more of his kind among us.

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Tom, SP5GH at at his station photographed in 1992

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The station looks about the same in year 2006, except for the DXCC Honor Roll plaque

Next time you will be called by SP5GH in a contest, he will be less anonymous, I hope.

Henryk Kotowski, SM0JHF

December 2006

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