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Tribute to Ian West

Who died on 9th May 2009

Updated : 30th September 2009 Issue : 2

As everyone will remember Ian happily tinkering away with a transmitter

01/09/09 - I was so sorry to hear the news of Ian West's death and I send my deepest sympathy to his family and friends. During the time that he worked for Reg and then for me he did a brilliant job keeping Radio City on the air, both in the good and bad times. Reg & I both enjoyed working and the social times spent with Ian, he was a very decent and hard working guy. I`m sure all who worked and knew him remembered him as an honest and true gentleman.

With sincere regards, Dorothy Calvert

Ian West with Tony Pine breakfast in the Shivering Sands galley

02/09/09 - I am not much good at saying things about people that have passed on as I never envisage them in that way. I suppose I sort of bury my head in in the sand, perhaps it's something I acquired in the services or maybe I have always been like this I really don't know. You see to me I always remember people as they were and they always will be a part of my life even though be absent. Ian was a great friend and colleague we spent some amazingly happy times together sharing the ups & downs of an interesting time on Radio City the 'Tower of Power'' - Tony Pine

02/09/09 - Although quite a time has passed since we worked together and the old memory is not quite as sharp as I would like. I do certainly recall Ian as a super guy, like everyone else he was always willing to help with any chore.
However, one thing that is etched in my memory concerns the night we were raided by an armed gang, they quietly creped into the sleeping quarters, I was nearest to the door, they woke me brandishing a gun, my great fear was that Ian who was sleeping in the next bed to me might instinctively reach beneath his bed for the air rifle that he kept there. I decided it would be prudent to avoid such a disaster, so I quickly told the gunman that there was a air rifle beneath his bed , and not to start shooting people. Thankfully there were no rash or hasty moves made by either side - Paul Elvey

Ian & wife Rosa pictured at Tankerton Castle in 2007

04/09/09 - Although we never met again after Radio City closed down, Ian remains in my memory as the main guy who kept that station on air, often under very difficult circumstances. Apart from that he was great at keeping morale up on board and was always jolly and full of fun. Sorry to hear of his passing - Ian MacRae

04/09/09 - Am sorry to hear of Ian Wests death, my condolences to his family. After Radio City closed down in February of 1967 we all went our different ways and I never saw Ian again, but I do have the fondest of memories of him. He was a good engineer/technician and I learned a lot from him

Not many people know he was quite a 'character', a lot of his humour and knowledge gave me and my fellow dj's material to use on air. I chatted to him while doing shows and he was a comedian supplying crazy voices of all kinds when the need arose

He was a genuine fellow too and when in conversation I recall him being forthright and genuine, qualities not seen so much these days. He would shout at me if my music levels were too high which could and indeed did sometimes put us off the air. I hold my hand up to that

So fortytwo years have passed since I saw Ian, I deeply regret not having been in touch. But thank you Ian West you played an important part in the life of Radio City and will never be forgotten. Rest In Peace Dear Friend - Tom Edwards

Ian was without doubt one of the most talented of radio technicians, he'd been an amateur Radio Ham (G3SZC) for some years before joining Radio City with Phil Perkins (G3OUV) who'd joined the fort on 5th April 1965

The pair set about persuading Reg Calvert to purchase a decent transmitter, the infamous 'botched' American three cabinet monster arrived on the Offshore 1 with one cabinet dropped into the sea

The cabinet was duly stripped & cleaned but the unit proved hopelessly unreliable & prone to breakdown, on one occasion the 10kw modulation transformer burnt out was rewound at great expense but the failures continued

Tony Pine & Paul Elvey also struggled to get enough generator power to run the thing, so abandoning the 'Project Atlanta' unit the Radio City General Electric TCK-7 transmitter originally modified by the stations first engineer Don Witts was utilised by Ian to make a 'home built' rig of many parts

This transmitter was to see the station through to its closure on 8th February 1967

Ian was a great chap and like many engineers was content to explain technical aspects in layman's terms, spending time with him it was obvious he'd enjoyed his time on Radio City, he was well regarded by everyone and will be greatly missed - ED

Ian & I vaguely knew one other through amateur radio, we occasionally spoke over the air. My main memory of him and Phil Perkins was that late summer building the "home brew" transmitter, getting it & keeping it on the air. It was never a power monster, but those guy's did a brilliant job on audio processing to make 5 Kilowatts sound like 30 Kilowatts. Long before anyone in European Radio was running ORBAN Optimod, they made the equivalent with a handful of surplus components bought in Lisle Street in Soho

Ian operated occasional amateur radio from Shivering Sands using the callsign NS1C which attracted a whole tranche of interest from other enthusiasts who made contact

Ian went to work on Radio London on the MV Galaxy after the closedown of Radio City. Later he worked as a Radio & TV engineer in and around Canterbury and Whitstable. His knowledge of Radio and Electronics was extensive

I always wanted to sit down and have a good long coffee and a chat with him about the radio days, as he was such a fantastic character. That won't happen now, but his name has a little mention in history books, whilst the memories of him are huge

Shaun Scannell
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