Tribute to Victor L. "Vic" Crawford
January 28, 1920 - November 8, 2014

 

I'm sorry to report that Vic Crawford - W1TYQ passed away on November 8, 2014 at age 94 in Michigan. Vic's friend for decades Ned - W1RAN provided me with some of the "high points" of Vic's long ham radio career. Vic was well known as HZ3TYQ in Saudi Arabia (1963 - 1976) and made two DXpeditions each into the Saudi Arabia / Iraqi Neutral Zone HZ3TYQ/8Z4, HZ3TYQ/8Z4, and Kuwait / Saudi Arabia Neutral Zones, HZ3TYQ/8Z5, 9K2TL/NZ. The operation from the Kuwait / Saudi Arabia Neutral Zone as 9K3TL/NZ was with Jack Laub - HB9TL, Roy Fleming - MP4BBD, L.M. "Rundy" Rundlett - W3ZA / K4ZA / OD5CT, and G3OFI in 1961. Vic retired to Torch Lake, Michigan as W1TYQ/8 with particular interest in 80 meters, where he proceeded to rack up almost 300 countries.

A personal observation or two. Vic also operated a good deal from HZ1AB, back in the "Hot Ziggety One American Boy" heyday. Vic was known world-wide for his impeccable CW and top notch operating. I will always remember June 29, 1962, when as a 16 year old with a "rag tag" station in Upper Michigan, I worked Vic from HZ1AB. I know I'm not alone in sharing lifelong respect for Vic, both as a top notch operator, and a world class guy. We have lost one more from America's Greatest Generation. You just can't replace guys like Vic.
73, Don Karvonen - K8MFO

The operators were Victor L. "Vic" Crawford (W1TYQ, HZ3TYQ), Shelby L. "Jim" Barksdale (K3PUS) and Clifford "Cliff" Swann, Jr. (W8GCN, 7Z3AA, later W5SMI). Vic and Cliff were employees of ARAMCO and lived at the ARAMCO compound about 5 miles from the airport. Jim was a contractor and lived at the air base. W5KNE

Vic was an aviator. He was a key man in the development of aviation at the Arabian American Oil Company. The California Standard men brought the first aircraft to Saudi for commercial use. There had been some military aviation in WW I (T.E. Lawrence, etc.). They also provided guidance to the Saudi government in establishing navigation and air to ground communications. HZ1HZ, Ahmad Zaidan, was to Post, Telephone and Telegraph supervisor in Eastern Saudi and worked on these efforts with Vic. I spoke with Vic on the telephone a few times but never had the pleasure of meeting him.
73 and SK
Bob WA8MOA

I remember visiting Vic in his house in Dhahran when I was a kid there, learning Morse code as part of my Boy Scout progress, along with Henry Folkerts / 7Z3AB and Don Homewood who wasn’t licensed in Arabia, he was the chief safety officer at Aramco. Vic’s shack in Dhahran was one of the corner closets in the house they had on the ‘hill’ in Dhahran. He was always gracious with his time and encouraged me to work on getting my ham ticket, which I did when I went away to boarding school in New Hampshire.
Regards, Terry / K9TRE


Vic standing by their modified Westinghouse amplifier, which they drove with a Collins KWS-1!! Now that's a real amp! In the clip it is said the amp could "melt the snow off the Alps" ...

This amp was a pull from the ARAMCO Marine HF comm system. We were told that that blower was very loud, so they cut a hole in the shack wall, put the control side in the shack and the back of the rack outside the room. Kept the shack cooler and quieter for sure.

They also had a BC-610 modified for linear amp service and driven by a 32S1 back in the day. The story on the BC-610 is great. Smitty, W8FZL, (a Battle Creek ham who told me the story) was career Air Force. In 1947-8 he was stationed at Dhahran. In those days they ran an Air Sea Rescue detachment with a modified B-17 and a Communications Detachment. Dhahran was the end point for bombers attacking Soviet Targets in the event WW-III broke loose. It was also an important layover point for aircraft heading to the Pacific from Europe. The shack was a Harvey-Wells TBS-50 160-6 meter TX and an SX-28 in an old shelter from the back of a 2 ton truck. One of the houses at the ARAMCO camp had one of these for a garden shed. I always wondered if that was the HZ1AB shelter’s final resting place. It was between the telephone exchange, building 810, and the old mail center. The CO of the commo detachment was a ham and a LT Col. Smitty came over to the shack and the Col. had a QSO on but had a phone call “Talk to Kurt in Germany while I take this call Smitty” OK Boss. Smitty grabs the mic. When the Col. Gets back to the rig, Smitty is transmitting “ Hey, Kurt, I was up at Rhine Main Air Base a few weeks ago TDY, I saw a whole warehouse full of new BC-610’s. Man, it would be nice to have one of those here” Outside the shack the Col. is frantically making the “cut” sign across his throat. He grabs the mike. “OK Kurt, 73, we have to get back to work”. “Christ Smitty, that was Gen. LeMay. Are you trying to get us court martialed?” Two weeks later Smitty gets a call from the cargo ramp. “Smith, get your ass over here NOW!” He gets over to the ramp to find a huge wooden crate. One the red property tag is a message. “73 de Kurt”. The BC-610 had arrived at HZ1AB and would be in use up in to the 1960’s.
Lloyd and Iris Colvin showed me an HZ1AB QSL from 1946 when they were stationed in Japan. I did not get a copy of it, but that is the earliest evidence of an operation from the station I ever found.
73 de Bob WA8MOA HZ1AB 80-86.

 


Photo of Vic W1TYQ, HZ3TYQ, early 1960's

 

QSL from the estate of W1EOA
Info courtesy of W5KNE, K8MFO, WA8MOA, K9TRE, W1RAN
Photos used with permission from K7JJ


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