Joseph M. "Vortex Joe" Cro is dead at 60, famed for vast collection of vintage radio gear

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by K5UJ, Apr 20, 2019.

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  1. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Vortex Joe N3IBX went SK in his ham shack a day or two ago. He was 60 years old. Well known for presiding over a QTH with a high gravitational pull for vintage ham gear, and giving rise to his radio baptismal name of Vortex, Joe had begun letting some of his collection go last fall.
    Fall sale:
    W2DTC web page of Joe in his element:
  2. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Really sorry to hear this.
    Been over his house a few times, I think he had at least one radio of evey one ever made.
    Basement, 2 car garage and the large out building all packed with stuff, and stuff in the den as well.

    But I only worked him once on the air that I can remember, of all things he was on a manpack old military rig running a few watts...

    What a hamfest his stuff would make!

    He was quite a vortex and helped me clean out my basement. He came and took a lot of stuff at no charge!
    Heavy stuff.

    He will be greatly missed.
  3. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    This news makes me sad.
    Joe was one of the nicest, most colorful characters I had the pleasure to know, both in person and on the air.
    He and his wife were regulars at the AM Festival Station we put up for many years at the Gaithersburg (Maryland) hamfest, and at its descendants at the Howard County (Maryland) Fairgrounds in West Friendship, as well as being part of the social gathering at KB3AHE/Frank & Carol Esposito's home, timed with the Timonium (Maryland) hamfest.
    Here, from ten years ago, is our man Joe Cro, N3IBX, at the AM Festival Station, leading the group in a very special greeting to Russ WB3FAU.
    The video sums up how good it was to encounter him for as much time as we could spend.

    RIP my friend.
    N7BDY, W2VW, N2EY and 3 others like this.
  4. W3RSW

    W3RSW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I too am very sorry to hear of Joe's passing.
    The video VJB put up really shows Joe's exuberance and delight in
    having fun on the radio, and at the various festers many of us attended with him.
    That has to be the most melodious and on tune 'Hello!' stanza in ham radio.

    Adios Amigo,
    God Speed.
    WA3VJB likes this.
  5. W3RSW

    W3RSW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here's Joe on the right enjoying a Cuban provided by JN for the gang at Howard Co. fest. Howard Co cigar from JN ops 03.jpg
    WA3VJB likes this.
  6. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    What a great video!

    WA3VJB likes this.
  7. WA3QVU

    WA3QVU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Guys,

    I'm one of a couple of people who handled the estate of Gordon Kittel (W3GK - SK in Dec 2016). I attended Joe's funeral last week along with Gordon Kittel's son Steve (N3MXA) and his second wife (widow) Carol Kittel.

    Joe and Gordon were very good friends and I became Joe's friend as well (had known of him from the early Warc hamfests at the Grange - Bucks County Pa). Joe priced out much of Gordon's radio equipment for "Gordon's Yellow Sheets" from about February 2017... Paul (N3TMX), Steve and I trucked many items off to hamfest and radio club auctions in both Penna and NJ the following two years. Personally I'm very glad to see Joe has chosen to off load some of his stuff via auction because I just couldn't handle another estate the size of Gordon's. Joe has a long time friend, a younger man whom he mentored, handling the remaining equipment. I know not many museums are interested in this stuff any more but Joe's radio collection needs to move off to other personal collections somewhere... It's just too valuable to sit in the basement and go to waste.

    AM radio... and Ham radio will miss Joe and Gordon because these guys were the back bone that formed a living history of the hobby. Now that they are gone, it's up to us to support the hobby as we knew it when our father's were young. Otherwise, that part of "our history" will be gone forever.

    Mark WA3QVU

    Joe's last comment on QRZ page is "May there be a "breakthrough in the grey room" - fool said the muse". This is a quote to William S Burroughs poem by the same name (I think??). Look in up some time... you just may go as deep as Joe's thinking.
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
  8. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    As all the people who want this kind of stuff get older, they think of downsizing so finding a good home may be hard to do.

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