THE ERIC I KNEW
by Chris Hurst G7MER
I first meet
Eric about 30 years ago, little knowing that he or I would form a close
friendship that would last 10 years until he died. That first meeting must have
made an impression on me, as it was him that I turned to for help after I passed
remember being taken to Eric’s house by my cousin G4BJB, there he was in his
shed at the bottom of his garden making an electronic organ. He made me so
welcome that I felt at home in his company straight away, that was so Eric.
Although I did not go there many times after that, we lost contact until I took
the test, got my license and became G7MER about 10 years ago. Needing some
technical help, I was asked if I knew Eric G3PGM in Hurst, “He will help
you” I was told.
remembered our first meeting so I did not feel too bad knocking on his door
without an invitation. I remember him coming to the door with Pat his wife, it
took only a few moments before he remembered who I was and when we had met
before, at this time I did not realise that he was recovering from his first
heart attack and stroke the year before. I myself was also recovering from
illness, so apart from talking radio we also talked about our recovery to that
then that I realised that Eric had a lot of support from his family and amateur
radio friends who had helped him to recover by setting up a transceiver from his
shack and down stairs, talking to him on 2MTRs on their way to work, whilst Pat
helped to get him walking again. I know he appreciated this a lot.
early visits to his home we would sit and chat about amateur radio and I leaned
a lot (a lot more than I could have learnt from a book). He passed on a lot of
technical information to me.
Eric was the
Chief Morse Examiner for Berkshire before he was ill. He reluctantly had to give
up this post but he still helped with the testing in this area and was proud of
the fact that he was responsible for helping many amateurs to get their A class
licence. He tried teaching me the Morse but I was unable to get up to standard.
He was pleased when the M3 licence started and he was able to put me through
this test. After I had taken the test he said I could have managed the 5 words a
minute, still I had achieved the M3 licence.
discovered that we had appointments at the same hospital department so with a
few phone calls we arranged our appointments together so that I could take him
by car. At least I could help him too. As he was getting better we ventured
further afield. Firstly we went to the Reading Club and later to local Radio
Rallies. Then we went to Pickett’s Lock, Bletchley Park and Milton Keynes,
where as member No.27 he would sign in at the Royal Signals A/R stand and have a
good chinwag with the other members. If I lost sight of him at a rally I would
always know where to find him. One year we had a pitch at Newbury rally and he
sold everything, which surprised him plus he had some cash to take home.
Reading Club made him a honorary member for his long service and help with the
club. He was very surprised but proud. He entered some competitions with RSARS
and won many certificates and plaques. He lined the walls of his shack with
time went on chats on 2 mtrs at 10 0’clock became a daily event. We called
each other with 2 tone bursts and then QSY to the usual channel. Each QSO we
said we would not stay long as we had other things to do but we usually chatted
about all sorts for about 2 hours. Occasionally someone else joined in but I am
sure a lot of others were just listening.
5 years ago another small stroke laid Eric low for a while but with everyone’s
help he recovered quite well. Well enough to drive again, although only short
local trips, it gave him back some independence. We planned more trips out and
projects with great gusto until about Christmas time I noticed he was not so
keen. He cancelled trips at the last minute as he was not feeling up to them. He
was having a few medical problems and was not feeling very well. I think he knew
he was quite ill, but he put on a brave face.
he died he left a big gap in his family and friends lives. He was a man who had
time for everyone and would impart his knowledge in a way you could understand
it. He loved his hobby and made others enjoy it too.
are a few of my memories of Eric, and there many more. I will sadly miss him,
Chris Hurst G7MER/M3CLH
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Tony Cox G8TEE
I have recently moved house and while rebuilding the shack I came across this old newspaper cutting from the Maidenhead Advertiser, 22 October 1971.
Click for a larger Picture
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I was very sorry to hear this sad news Min. I'd worked Eric many
times on 2, and
often used to listen to him. Heard him on only a few days ago when he sounded a
bit "down" :-(
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Eric G3PGM - my 'elmer'
By Steve Rawlings, GW4ALG
I grew up at Twyford, near Reading - about a mile from where Eric lived.
I often listened to Eric's transmissions as a young short wave listener during the late 1960s. At that time I would have been about 15 years old, and (with help from my dad) I had already built several valve receivers to the designs of F.G. Rayer that had appeared in Shortwave Magazine.
I would often listen to Eric's top band AM transmissions at weekends and during the evenings, and he soon became a familiar voice in our household - emanating from the various communication receivers that occupied the spare bedroom. He would talk for hours and hours from his homemade garden shack to his many friends in the area including Charles G3FUO; Brian G3TYG; and Tony G3WRF.
Eric was an entertaining and skilful communicator, who was able to talk intelligently across a wide range of operating and home construction topics. His breadth of knowledge and his special communication skills meant that he was able to present vivid 'illustrations' of projects and anecdotes on AM fone that were as clear and as distinct as anything that you'd see on TV.
But it wasn't until Wally G4BJB said that I should go and visit Eric that this shy schoolboy decided to cycle to Hurst and introduce myself to my radio idol. Of course, I received a very warm welcome from Eric. Following our initial meeting, I spent several hours with Eric in his shack, and I learned a great deal about home construction techniques. Eric always had much to say. So much so that, on one occasion, I was so late getting home in the small hours of one morning that my parents had already called the police to report my disappearance!
Of course, with Eric's help I later became G4ALG, and Eric and I had many a ragchew on top band.
I still treasure the time that Eric and I spent together, and the many chats that we had on AM, CW and, later, SSB. Even now, I am reminded of Eric several times a year. It may be when I think of his excellent CW skills (and his quip about PGM standing for 'Pretty Good Morse'); or the components that he so generously gave me all those years ago; or the encouragement and help that he gave so willingly.
Thank you, Eric.
Steve GW4ALG Home Page
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Hidden Talents and Tales - by Min Standen
I had not know Eric for the many years like so many others, but I always felt he treated all with respect. Eric was always good company on the drive into work each morning and would bring you into the group discussion or the topic of the day. I had very little knowledge of Eric and his past and local involvement in RADARC or his past in radio until one Saturday I got into a QSO with him and made mention of his past, but then stopped not saying any more.
Well my suspicious mind worked over time and Eric spoke to me a few days later and said "See you at the club as I want you to scan some pictures". These pictures turned out to be black and white photos from the days he spent on the Pirate radio station and Eric would not say a great detail about the pictures until later after I had scanned them.
My past interest of listening to the Pirate Radio Stations during the day and late at night when conditions allowed you to hear Radio North Sea and Radio Scotland (not bad as I lived in Hastings at the time). Eric let a few snippets of information go about his past so I asked him about doing some articles for the RADARC news letters and this got Eric opened up to the publication of his past and what he had done. See "Once upon a Field Day" There's also Eric's his story about an National Top Band Direction Finding hunt and it can be found here. "Ready or not, I’m Coming ..." (Click on the link for the article.)
After a few weeks of QSO's & chatting at the club I found out that it was difficult for Eric to discuss the PoP Pirate subject openly when at home so when I received his script typed on a BBC computer then transferred over for the PC it was sit down and put the pictures to the history and what unveiled was an opening to what I always thought was a glamorous life being a PoP Pirate on board Radio Caroline or Radio London Ships or the Forts which Eric found best. (He did his first job interview on Radio Caroline but the motion and tide was not for him). Eric became a DJ besides Engineer using the names Eric Peterson & Ed Laney for broadcasting. Eric told me on story that he had heard on the 20M Band US Hams saying that the singer Jim Reeves had died and as Eric ran a 1 hour radio slot of Jim Reeves music he announced the death before the BBC announced it which put their noses out wonder why he had got the news first!
After many hours of working on the pictures with Des G8FIF we got the article to print in the club newsletter in 1999 full colour. Eric although reluctant to speak about his article was pleased to see the interest that it drew and still does to the special interest groups who have found the article via the www. His story filled many gaps in what went on during that time onboard the ships and forts which I and many had dreamed of working on or just listened too.
Eric's 1999 PoP Pirate Article in PDF Format.
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Fond Memory of Eric G3PGM
by Roy Chapman G3XPC/AI4XN
I would just like to add this fond memory of Eric. He and his good friend Tony G3WRF contributed greatly to my learning of morse code in the late 60's with their very regular and steady 12 words/min. transmissions on top band, most nights of the week, purely to be helpful to local swl's in the area. Both had strong signals for me at Finchampstead from Hurst and Ryeish Green. When I eventually got my licence of course we met on top band phone and at rallies. However I listened so often and intently that it was almost impossible for me not to send their calls signs and not my own! We shared the interest in music but Eric's unselfish help to all young and sometimes not so young struggling amateurs will not be forgotten by me or many.
A fine example of the true amateur spirit and good will that exists in this hobby of ours.
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