From Ken Beals K6MR (ex-WB6VFJ):
I grew up in Southern California, and met Ted originally in the late 1960s. I was involved with some other DXers in the area who had introduced me. I was just finishing high school at the time, and was spending most of my time playing with antennas and towers. I did quite a bit of tower/pole climbing for various stations.
When Ted had the accident, as you say he knew he would not be climbing any more. But, he also knew he needed to keep his business going. He called me, I think originally not knowing if I was capable of doing the things he used to do. I remember my original "job" for him was to go up his personal tower and get the rotator working again. I guess I must have convinced him I could do it. For the next 3 years or so I was the climbing part of the team. I learned so much from working with him, and enjoyed every minute of it. As you noted, he often never received the credit he deserved for things he did. His love was the job itself (whatever it happened to be at the time), and if someone else took the credit it really didn't matter.
You might have heard this story, but I find it sums up Ted's outlook on life: Some time in the 1960s, Ted had a customer move into a neighborhood that discouraged (might have even prohibited) antennas and towers. Ted designed a remote control, telescoping tubular mast that was mounted in the center of a flat roofed garage. When retracted, the yagi laid on the roof and was completely out of sight. At night, the ham could remotely raise the mast and operate. When Ted finished building the mast, Frank Clement W6KPC (the then owner of Tri-Ex Towers) came over to see it. As Ted told the story, "Frank came over and took some pictures, and shortly after that Tri-Ex introduced the Sky Needle tower." Not even a hint of animosity or anger at a "borrowed" idea. He knew it was his idea, and that was enough.
(Note: Frank Clement is still with us. I see him every year at Visalia. The sky needle story is probably true, although none of Frank's sky needles (or his "little giant") could disappear within a garage!...Harvey)
I got married in the early 1970s, and moved on to another line of work. I was away from ham radio during the 80s and 90s, and when I got active again was saddened to know that he had passed on. He was a great guy, and truly a "Genius in the Shadows".
Ted was not really that active before his accident. At that time he had a 60 foot tower and a TH-6 tribander, and you have the picture of the 75A-3 receiver and CE 100V transmitter that he had when I first worked for him. He really got into getting the station upgraded over the next few years, and Leigh (Smith, who took Kenís place) did very well from the station during the 1970s.
I do have one lasting memento from my days at Ted's: I managed to grab the plate cap of one of the amplifier tubes with the supplies turned on; I (obviously) survived it, and still the scars on my fingers and arm.
I'm sorry to hear about the woman problems he had. I do remember that Ted was very dependent on Opal for day to day maintenance. He was really from the "old school" when it came to family matters.
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