Obit: Infamous AMer Irb, W2VJZ

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by WA3VJB, Dec 24, 2006.

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  1. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page


    Notorious, patriotic figure on 75 meters AM passes away from cancer.

    Irwin Richardt, W2VJZ of Liberty Corner, New Jersey passed away Dec. 21 at the age of 78. He suffered from prostate cancer and complications of anemia, his friends reported.


    Irb was a person of deep convictions and made them known through provocative conversations around 3885Kc, on AM. When his CQs were unmet, he would sometimes lock his transmitter on and leave the mic open. Listeners could then hear him doing the dishes, and occasionally would hear a set of wind chimes as he would whistle a tune of some kind in the background.

    It was difficult to argue against his concerns, including when you disagreed with what he said was the cause. Irb had a passive-aggressive manner that kept him from sounding provoked, and he was never dissuaded by counter-points regardless of how strongly they were expressed.

    As a result, people who tried to talk with him sometimes became detractors, while others endorsed his adamant points of view, and became a gallery to encourage him on.

    On the website, Bruce Howes, W1UJR wrote: "I have always found him a man of integrity and conviction, who cared deeply about his country, and was most troubled by that path he saw it taking. He remains a true Patriot and Christian in my book."

    In November, a newspaper serving Irb's community, the Bernardsville News, wrote "Long known around town as a throwback to the colonial era, Irwin Richardt is now struggling with health problems and hoping his beloved farm is preserved after his death."

    A video production company once did a profile on Irb, and it can be seen at the link:

    Don W2DL had posted some background on when word of Irb's illness came out:

    Just some additional information to help understand where Irb has come from. When I first began listening to "ham" radio right after it was permitted following WW II one day I heard this loud, clear signal on 10 meters, it was Irb's father, John I believe. At that time Irb was maybe 14 or so, and his brother, Hammie (John) who I think is two years older were being raised by their father, a single parent - and, incidentally, blind. I can't for the life of me remember Irb's father's call, W2 (of course) something, but no matter (maybe W2GZJ ??). Almost every day I would listen to him, and the straight talk he always produced.

    If you wonder where Irb got his sense of morality, it was clearly from his father. When I got my own license in 1949 I actually talked with this man, and was impressed - as most any 17 year old kid would have been - to hear Irb's father tell how he, blind, built the house Irb now lives in when the two boys were around 9 and 11 years old. They helped their dad, but since apparently no one ever bothered to tell a blind person he couldn't build a house he went ahead and built it. I think Irb's father's occupation was his involvement in radio repair, and perhaps in running the farm where Irb now resides,

    I am not completely sure about this. I do know that Irb earned his license first, maybe in 1946 or so, followed probably two years later by his brother Hammie, who was assigned W2WIY. Hammie is a very different person than Irb, but both of them have a solid sense of what is right, no matter what the consequences. Of course, at times what is right for Irb is not necessarily right for everyone else, but at least he has a set of convictions, and isn't afraid to let anyone else know what they are. I very much admired his father, and it is easy to see where Irb gets his values from and why Irb would never consider selling the family homestead, because his blind father built it and by inheritance he became it's keeper.

    For those who never had the opportunity to hear or QSO with Irb, here is a page of sound clips to shed light on why this man drew attention and whose character is now lost with his passing.

    W2VJZ - on the air
  2. KA5PIU

    KA5PIU Guest


    I almost totally forgot about him.
    All of my early radios could only do AM, so he was 'Da Man'.
    Most people now would call him a NeoCon nut case, but he really did not fit the Republican stereotype.
    Sorry to hear he is gone.
  3. AB8RO

    AB8RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I guess Irb didn't get the memo that passing a code test was supposed to have made him a better operator than the average NCT.

    RIP old man.
  4. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Great. Three posts before some idiot begins to talk about code/no code.
  5. K6AZ

    K6AZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    You and the others got what you wanted.

    How long are you going to insist on inserting the topic into every thread?
  6. AB8RO

    AB8RO Ham Member QRZ Page

    And only one more before someone who is unable to refute the point resorts to calling someone else an idiot.

    This is talk and opinions ham radio, not a funeral home. The old guy was a lid!
  7. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Refute what point?

    You're trolling, Darrel. The code/no-code issue is gone. You got what you wanted, why keep arguing?
  8. W1SK

    W1SK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey! What is your problem? Show some respect here. This topic is NOT the place for stupid debates. Go find another place to play.

  9. W8ZNX

    W8ZNX Ham Member QRZ Page

    this is Irb
    not Ozona Bob

    Irb went out of his way
    to make life miserable
    for more than one op

  10. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Mac I have to agree that he went out of his way to provoke people. But whether he did it maliciously is something I'm not sure of.

    One of my best friends from AM spent a lot of time over many years with Irb, and privately shed some light on the man. When I wrote the story that starts this thread, I included some of that background from a posting that someone else (Don) had made elsewhere.

    An honest assessment must take Irb's upbringing into account, but not that he's some kind of "victim" like you hear portrayed during the sentencing of a convicted criminal.

    Rather, look at how this guy managed to make his way through life. Never describing having friends over, or discussing women he had known in the past, never married, and expressing affection only for his dog ("Nathaniel" ?) that I used to hear bark, on cue, in the background. I never heard him mention his brother, nor his neice, nor any family beyond his beloved father.

    I never heard him laugh, including when he was supposedly relaxing at his cabin in the Adirondac Mountains of NY.

    That's a lonely existence, and from what I get via those who knew him outside of ham radio, his love for the Constitution was intense and unbalanced with other things that most people find important in life.

    I think that lack of balance meant a lack of concern for others, and may have caused bad operating behavior. Defending his points was the most important thing in the world for him.

    So, for my part, I later looked more gently on the old guy, declining to talk with him, refusing when he would answer my CQs, and otherwise just staying out of his way. With his passing we did lose a character on 75 meters. He had an impressive loyalty to this country, and I respected that he spoke of things that were changing not for the better.

    I never thought he was mean-spirited. If you look at that short movie clip that I linked, look how gently he speaks to the children watching the maple syrup come from the tree. Watch their faces, because if he was a creep they would have picked that up, and we would see it.

    That clip, that I saw only in the days since he passed away, convinced me he was "defending," in his way, something those kids and the rest of us ought to still have in the years ahead.

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