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Remembering Brett Garrett VE7GM - SK

One of the 20%

They often say that 20% of a given membership do 80% of the work... Brett was one of the 20%, no, more like 5%. An active member of both the Surrey Amateur Radio Club (SARC) and Surrey Emergency Program Amateur Radio (SEPAR), Brett freely shared his knowledge and led Surrey Amateurs to two very successful Field Days.
Brett VE7GM Silent Key
Brett first got his ham license around 1967, and enjoyed doing a little youthful operating before life got in the way.  

In 2012, John Brodie shared a memory of an early encounter with Brett:
"I was licensed in 1960 when I was in 10th grade at Prince of Wales High School.  After graduating in 1962 I put ham radio aside as I began my Engineering education.  My ham radio gear in those days consisted of mostly post WW2 vintage odds and ends of the “low budget” variety, scrounged, donated by ham friends or purchased with paper route earnings.  
Before retirement, my father worked at C Gardner Johnson, ships agents in Vancouver for the Swedish Johnson Line and Japanese Mitsui OSK.  One of his colleagues was a man which we children only knew as “Mr. Garrett”.   Since I knew that there would be no ham radio in my life for a few years, I disposed of all my gear.  The receiver, a military version RCA ACR-3 behemoth weighing about 100 lb, went to an aspiring ham in the neighbourhood named Bill Coltart who, through research on the RAC registry, I find is VE7BMM.  The remainder went to my father’s colleague, “Mr. Garrett” whose son, I was told, was interested in ham radio. 

At the time I never met the son, and wondered if he had gone on to get licensed and involved in the hobby.  Now I know.  He is our Brett Garrett VE7GM, a relatively new member of SARC and now a Director, who, like me, came back to the hobby after several decades away and was featured in last month’s “RadioActive”.  Garrett is an enthusiastic participant in club activities, including the CW subgroup of the “Operator Skills Training” and contesting program started last Fall. The photo shows Brett returning the “junk”, including a Harvey Wells TBS-50 transmitter to its former owner."

Brett first became intrigued with ham radio as a sixth grader.  His interest in electronics began when his father bought him a radio kit.   A school administrator discovered his intense interest in electronics, and suggested to his mother that perhaps he should consider getting a ham license.  Brett soon began attending ham classes run by the Vancouver Club in a member's basement, and succeeded in getting his license.  

'Back in the day' when VE7GM got licensed, Morse code was a requirement for a Basic license, and operators had to show proficiency at 10 w.p.m.   After assembling some equipment, Brett began operating HF on 80 and 40 meters using code.

Move forward several decades and Brett refreshed his Basic with Honours, Morse and Advanced qualifications. SARC was pleased to have this long-time ham join the club after he became active again. He went on to become a Director, Vice-President in fact, and also became active in SEPAR. It was Brett's interest on the emergency communications side of Amateur Radio that sparked his renewed interest in the hobby.  Having taken early retirement from his career as a Power Systems engineer for BC Hydro, Brett became more concerned with community level emergency preparedness after the Japanese quake and tsunami.  He ran into then SEPAR Coordinator Kelvin Hall VA7KPH at a local swap meet, and decided to get back into the hobby, and get involved. 

Brett trains SARC Members Nell and Ralph for contesting
For the 2012 BC QSO Party, he operated from his home station, which he'd just gotten operational the day before.  While not much of a 'rag chewer', Brett found the contest environment to be an enjoyable and satisfying operating environment.
Brett looked forward to refreshing his CW skills, advancing from his 15 to his target of a solid 30 w.p.m.  Towards that end, Brett became actively involved in the SARC Contesting/Operating Skills training program led by Fred Orsetti VE7IO and Jim Smith VE7FO. That program, with Brett's capable help, brought forth many of the skilled contesters we now have at SARC. Describing the experience as 'just terrific', Brett reported that he'd learned a great deal, while having lots of fun in the process. 

Living in the Crescent Beach area until recently, with somewhat limited antenna space, Brett operated an IC-7000 on a 20 meter dipole at about 4.5 meters high. After his mother passed a couple of years ago, Brett decided to move to some property he had on Green Lake with the intention of building his dream station. As a result we saw less of him, although he was occasionally available in town for coffee and the annual SARC Christmas Party.

Brett said more than once that he was very happy to have become active in the Surrey-White Rock Amateur Radio community, and was grateful that hams, who have so much capability and knowledge, are so generous in sharing their time and experience.  Having seasoned operators willing to sit down and really help you made all the difference.  For him, the club experience and the high caliber people who were there to help, was a recipe for enthusiasm and inspiration that pushed him to go further and try harder.  

We will miss Brett.

Brett is presented with a certificate by Jim VE7FO
for his tireless work training SARC members in contesting

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