[amsat-bb] Re John Heath G7HIA, SK

Clive Wallis clive at g3cwv.co.uk
Mon Feb 18 01:30:19 PST 2013

I was very saddened to learn of John's passing.  We had exchanged many 
e-mails during the last few years. I didn't know John very well, 
although we had met at the ASAT-UK Colloquium on several occasions. 
Topics we discussed by e-mail included processing Delphi 3C telemetry, 
OSCAR-11 spin rate, automatic Doppler tracking and ARISSat-1 decay.

John was very active in using our satellites and promoting their use to 
others.  For several years he was net controller of the Midlands two 
metre AMSAT net.  He also wrote the Space column for RSGB's RadCom 
magazine for a number of years. He contributed many articles to OSCAR 
News, recently in the September 2012 issue about ARISSat-1 orbital 
decay. His last contribution to OSCAR News was a short item in the 
December issue, congratulating AMSAT-UK on their 200th issue of the 
magazine. He included a photograph of himself, Astronaut Ron Parise 
WA4SIR and Geoff Perry, founder of the Kettering Group of satellite 
observers. It was taken at the 1998 Colloquium.

During the course of our discussions John mentioned that he was having 
some unpleasant hospital treatment. He also told me about his working 
career, which I  thought may be of interest.

As a teenager he was interested in organic chemistry and went to work in 
industry, eventually in the R&D department at Bakelite in Tyseley, 
Birmingham. In the 1960's/70's he worked on the phenolic resins used to 
make copper clad PCB material, and did the first industrial synthesis on 
nonyl phenol by ion exchange. There were massive world stocks of Nonene 
at knock down prices so they were looking for a way to use it to make 
phenol/formaldehyde resins used in PCB manufacture.

  His YL Pam at that time worked in a small hairdressing supplies 
business and he sometimes worked with her when they needed extra staff 
to cover late night opening. After his marriage to Pam, her firm decided 
to open a branch in Leicester and they were offered the opportunity to 
re-locate and run the new operation. Together they built up the 
business, diversifying into related activities with a skin care 
manufacturing  company (where his science background was invaluable), a 
beauty products wholesale business  and a  mail order operation. The 
business expanded from 6 people to a staff of nearly 200 on four sites.

John said that Amateur radio helped to keep him sane by giving him a 
totally different set of things to think about and emptied his head of 
business concerns for a few hours each week!

A few years ago Pam was diagnosed with a serious illness and confined to 
a wheel  chair. This caused them to  bring forward their retirement 
plans and they moved to Devon.

My condolences to Pam, family & friends.

RIP John, we will miss you.

Clive Wallis   G3CWV

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