Tad ex JA1KFN/J2KN

Recently, I don't know why but have often remembered an old timer, Tad, ex JA1KFN/J2KN.

I met him on the air in my newcomer days. He used to be a good friend of Ralph Multon WB6BFR. Ralph was a kind old timer and used to work with me quite often on 40m CW. Ralph was an elmer for me. When Ralph and his wife visited Japan in mid '60s, Tad has planned a reception party in Tokyo. I applied for that meeting.

Though I was not able to converse with Ralph so much or even the other japanese old timers there, he and the company used to welcome me there. It was a beer garden of Kanda Seiyouken at Ueno. A muggy summer evening, I believe. Tad was a kind guy aged around 50 years or so at that time. He was a not tall but thin guy. With a kind of high pitched voice and good sense of humor, he has played as the master of ceremonies there. It was not only a ham meeting I first attended but also the very first social activity among adult people for me, a teen age boy, studying mechanical engineering at a college or even before that. He treated me as a grown up at that time.

It had passed over ten years when I ran across with Tad again on the air. It was around 1980. I was very happy to have found him with the same old bug. He have retired by that time and was quite active on the air. We have conversed on CW with simple English. He won't operate SSB or CW in Japanese Morse Code. When 20m was dead for any DX late at night, we often had slow but enjoyable chats on CW. His unique bug keying is still very vivid in my memory. We have exchanged New Years' Greeting cards for several times. But no other means to contact with him. His slow and a bit deformed bug was the only way to communicate with me. Despite of the limit in conversing abilities on each side, he had the definite will to communicate with CW. It was a joy to talk to him. He must be already over 70 years of age at this time.

In  several years, I had a letter from his wife, telling me of his passing away. He used to be a pioneer ham as J2KN in Japan just before WWII and had been an active ham thereafter. I have known how he had lived from the correspondence with his wife for some time. I surely missed him and felt a great time of ham radio had gone for me.

I would ask myself if I had been so kind to the others, especially to the beginners, and fulfilled my life with the joy of ham radio for myself and for the others. The fruit of our lives become evident to ourselfves in the last days of our lives. I should be aware of this. Recalling Tad, I contemplate of my own life in the past in this way.  


  1. Shin San,

    I recall working Tad, JA1KFN. It is most interesting that he was actually operating before WWII on CW.
    I have all my fathers QSL cards and there are a few J1's and J2's in those cards, I will look to see if he ever worked him or got a card from him. I got many cards from Japan over the years, some of them in the 1950's as I enjoyed working them on 40 meters from Oregon as a teen ager. I also
    worked a number of ZL and VK stations on 40 Meters during that time period. Yet today I will
    go up to 7.110 to 7.120 KHz and work slow CW with beginner stations, I enjoy doing this too!
    So thanks for telling us about TAD from the early
    ham radio days for you!

    Bob Gates

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, both Bob and Atsu,

      The days when we could enjoy such a contact with Tad seem to have gone. It is of no help for us to complain of that. But I feel sad that those good operators have gone without being remembered by many people.

      The question would come toward me if I have been living like him or not.

      Bob, it is good for you to have taken over your father's call. You might meet his friends on the air. I have worked almost one million QSOs but no children would take over my call. Sorry for that. Your signal on 10m sounded like a big gun. See you soon again.