W3CRA Frank Lucas "Mr. DX"
June 25, 1909 - October 23, 1982

| W8SU Tribute | NG6W Tribute | K8MFO Photos |
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W3CRA calling CQ DX, May 1975 by K3RU |
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A good W3CRA evaluation by W4ZV | Antenna Height Analysis by K3RU |

 

W8CRA 1929, a rare card. Frank was a DXer back in 1929 with 23 countries and 5 continents!


Shack remains
Pics taken in 1991 by W8SU

Just as Frank Lucas W3CRA left them at his hilltop location in Canonsburg PA. His trusty paddle modified for a keyer system and the ole trusty HT32.

 

Frank's rotator indicator.

 

The W3CRA Tri Leg tower and beam ready to go with a bit of repair. Almost a clear path looking at the whole world.

 

Grown over with brush. Almost engulfed with years of growth.

 

When Frank started out, he used an end fed Hertz, it worked just fine at that QTH. He nailed all kinds of DX in Canonsburg with the wire running up the hill. Your looking at the roof top insulators, long ago bypassed for the beam.

 

Plenty of forced air on the finals! The amplifier was stripped out but the squirrel cages were left behind.

 

The driver deck stripped out, the HT32 on the right. Small but once a world competition station.

 

The W3CRA tower close up. It was in great shape, no rust and climbing ladder in good shape. Obviously the beam received damage with only half of it remaining. It took a good deal of effort to go through thistles to reach the point where the photo was taken. Two N connectors were found from coax that was left on the ground leading up the hill to the tower. Frank used two pieces of coax to feed the tower, balun style. He got a better match that way since the tower was a good distance away.

 

W8MTC looking at us, Mike is in his 90's and unfortunately in a rest home. He reminds me frequently of our trip to Mecca! Frank Lucas' son operates a small repair operation at the old QTH and the disintegrating shack is behind the garage halfway up the hill.

 

The W3CRA paddle. They were smart, pulling the pendilum out of the bug and a quick rewire would give you the feel of your own paddle. It was left on the desk as found. Ready for action!

 

 

Frank was in a QST Magazine ad for Eimac Tubes September 1940

 

Entrance to the W3CRA shack, time has a way of changing things! Frank Lucas had a stream of visitors to "Mecca" They WOW'ed over the rare QSL collection and Frank's QTH in the hills of Southwestern Pa.

The shack had deteriorated so much that the doors and roof had rotted off. Some say Frank could hear em when no one else could! Holder of DXCC Number One prewar - Frank was revered by many. I get a kick what Gus said about Frank, that out in the rarest spots of the world, W3CRA was always there stronger than anyone else.

This Frank Lucas station begs to be restored. But somehow the last CQ was spent and the last choice piece of DX was worked and now someone else carries the torch! Frank became a silent key on October 23, 1982.

Who can add to this important part of our DX heritage???

 

See the W3CRA Tribute by W8SU

Click here to see 1936 Photos and tribute by NG6W

All Info and Photos above by Bob Ballantine W8SU
Audio file of W3CRA calling CQ by K3RU
QSL from K8CX Collection


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