Stephen Thompson, 8P6CV - An Appreciation

It is with a profound sense of grief that I must pass on the news of the passing of a friend and fellow-ham Stephen Thompson - 8P6CV.

Stephen was a student of the St. Michael's School and a member of the Scout Troop of that school. That is how we met when he was a studentthere, and I was helping with the running of the troop.

Stephen confirmed that an early exposure ham radio will result in sustained interest. I remember the activity at 8P6BBS - the Barbados Boy Scout Station when several times Stephen would be the only Scout who would turn up for Jamboree On The Air and other activities.

That early interest resulted in Stephen's firm commitment to amateur radio. He was licensed as 8P6CV in 1992 at the age of 16 - one of the youngest ever hams in Barbados in recent years.

Stephen immediately set about stamping his enthusiasm for life on his ham radio activities. He delved into amateur radio contesting, and for several years was the only Barbadian ham who was active in many of the major International Contests.

I owe my re-birth in this hobby to Stephen's enthusiasm. I had only just returned from St. Lucia and for several reasons was quite cold on ham radio. Stephen would have none of it. We spoke repeatedly on the telephone and on the local two-metre repeater until he had rekindled my interest.

'One of the things which both of us always wanted to do was operate as a multi-single entry either from the ARSB club or from 8P9Z. We reckoned that together we could have achieved a very good score in a major contest. Last year we had planned to do this for the IARU contest and for the European DX Contest. For IARU Stephen choseinstead to be QRV from his home QTH so he could also be QRV on 6m. to pass out multipliers in the CQ VHF contest! Wow workin two events in the same week-end. By coincidence, the dates for the European contest fell on the same date as Stephen's flight back to England.

Stephen attended the Barbados Community College in Barbados and after a stint at the Barbados Light & Power company at the Spring Garden Depot - Stephen was off to the University of Plymouth to pursue a BSc. in Telecommunications Engineering. He had just completed his second year in that programme.

Stephen joined the Ham Radio Club at the University and still found time for contests. In fact, he operated from the shack of a friend of his friend G0IVZ in the 1998 CQ WW SSB contest. He placed first in England and second in the UK in that contest with a score of 1.72 million points from 1987 contacts, 103 zone and 337 country multipliers. Iremember working Stephen during the contest and afterwards he sent an e-mailed photo of himself at the controls of the station. For months afterwards, he spoke of operating from that station. It was one of the few times that Stephen operated with high power. He reckoned it was one of his best ham radio experiences. In that contest his closest rival in England was M8X who scored 0.96 million points. Such was his competitive nature, that this ham from Barbados could travel to England and place first in that contest.

And even though he was one of the best of contesters - he always wanted to do better - to more fully understand the propagation, to build a new gadget for computer-control, and always after every contest we'd exchange logs. He always wanted to see if there were any band openings or stations he missed. He wanted to evaluate any tactical errors he may have made; to analyse them and to mitigate against them in the next year's contest. Always reading on new tactics and strategies - that was 8P6CV.

He also had the opportunity in England to attend RSGB conventions where he had an opportunity to expand his knowledge on DX and 6m operations and to meet the legends of the DX community. One of his favorite ham radio books was "Where Shall we go next?" by Martti Laine - OH2BH who has probably activated more new DXCC countries than anyone else.

Stephen was a great ambassador for Barbados through Amateur Radio. For hundreds of fellow hams around the world he was their first contact with Barbados. In fact in his short stint in ham radio, Stephen worked more stations and made more friends around the world than the average ham in Babados will make in an entire lifetime.

I will always remember Stephen for the fellowship we shared through our passion for contesting. For the mutual respect which we shared for each other - always competing against each other yes - but always sharing. Sharing strategy, new information, interesting experiences, whatever - so that next time both of us would have improved our scores by drawing on the other's experience. In recent times this had been limited to e-mail since he was overseas.

On the weekend of his accident, Stephen and I had set up a sked to exchange notes in a similar fashion after the IARU contest. Stephen uncharacteristically never showed.

I later heard of his tragic accident.

He was called to higher service on July 15th, 2000.

Stephen was like a brother: a true friend - Stephen Thompson - 8P6CV SK.

May he forever rest in peace.

Dean St. Hill - 8P6SH
Tributes from the DX Community

This is tragic news, I can't believe it. We met Stephen a couple of times when he came to the UKSMG meetings in England and we were all looking forward to the chance to work him on six metres. The next Six News is almost full but I'll find space to put in the obituary.

73, Chris - G4IFX (UK Six Metre Group)

Thanks for the message, however, very sad. We'll miss him and especially at contest time....

73, Paul, N4PN

Steve, KU9C, (Stephen's QSL Manager) passed the news to me. I am really sorry to hear sad news of Stephen's passing. Please accept my deep sympathy and express my condolences to his family.

Ralph K2PF

This is terrible news. My son and I met Stephen while there operating the 8P99 station as 8P9P. He seemed to be a great hope for radio in 8P. We emailed a few times over what worked best in contests.

Thank you - if you would please pass on our condolences to his family.

A sad day for radio.

73 Robert - W5AJ

I saw your email pop up, and the size of the note, and it took me a few moments to open it. Somehow, I was afraid that what I would read wasin fact what I read. I'm finding this VERY hard to believe, that a young man can be snatched from our arms so quickly, so violently, and especiallywith the quality and character that Stephen had.

Thank you for your note.....when u get settled in, please give me a bit more detail, if you the meantime, I'm going for a walk.....thingslike this have deep impact... really makes one think how quickly our life, and the life of our dear friends, can be changed, and taken away. Hang in there... I know you and he are very close... you got him into the contesting bug, and he got you back into contesting... hi.

73, Steve Wheatley - KU9C

Please pass on our prayers and sincerest wishes of sympathy to Stephen's family.

Allan & Bridget

I was shocked to hear the sad news of Stephen's death. As you know he spent quite a lot of time with me and my family when he was here in the UK.It was good to read your comments about his recollection of his time operating my station and I was pleased to have given him the opportunity to use it.

Please pass on my condolences to his family and friends.

73, Jan - G0IVZ

This truly IS sad news! I never had the pleasure of meeting Stephen, but it's always a tragedy to lose someone at such a young age, especially someone with such tremendous promise for the world.

May God bless Stephen and all of you who knew him best!

73 de Glenn - K3PP

I'm sitting here reading your post... and I'm truly in shock. I wrote an article on Stephen a couple years ago for my column inCQ Contest magazine and remember talking to him briefly in various contests. I never met him, but swore to him that Iwould be down to visit him some day.

Do you mind if I use your great dedication letter as an article in my column? It would probably run in the October issue. And if you have a picture of him that I could include,that would be great also.

If you are in touch with his family, please pass along mycondolences... even though I only talked to him a few times, Ifeel as though I knew him.

We contesters have a kinship witheach other as you well know... it really hurts when somethinglike this happens to someone that we don't really know very wellbecause they're reallly "one of us."

Paul K9PG

I have only just learnt of Stephen Thompson's passing. I am just stunned by this news.

Stephen was much more than just one of my students, we were beginningto get to know one another on a more personal level. I was muchimpressed by this young man who came into my life with a bang ... he was larger than life ... full of energy and enthusiasm ... wanting toexperience life to its fullest. I shall personally miss him verymuch. He always brightened my day with his generous spirit andunique way of looking at life.

I would add that Stephen was thought well of and liked by all thosewho came into contact with him here at the University of Plymouth.

My prayers and thoughts are with all his family at this time.
I am reluctant to disturb his parents at this time but if you couldpossibly forward my condolences it would be much appreciated.

Regards and best wishes


Alan Santillo
The University of Plymouth
SEC&EE, Smeaton Bldg.
Drake Circus
Plymouth. PL4 8AA.

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