N5IA Milt Jensen


Hello to all of Milt's Amateur contacts, friends, acquaintances and others,

I am Milt's oldest son Jason, some of you know me, most of you probably don't. I have been with him for 47 years, he was my hero. Today, June 9, 2016. Milt was on was of his many tower climbing adventures, and by no choice of his, it became his last. It is with great sadness that I report to all of you that today we lost one of the greatest men I know. He was my hero. He left behind Rulene, his loving wife of 49 years, 7 children, 30 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren and so many, many friends. His legend will live on for generations to come. He loved to help others, especially in his chosen hobby, Amateur radio. He truly cared about his hobby and took every aspect of it to heart. Those of you who knew Milt, know how intelligent he was, and how he loved to share that intelligence with others. Please feel free to share with anyone who might not read this short post, of his passing.

Jason Jensen K5FPO


            This post was made by: WA6EQU <wa6equ@aol.com>

This is really sad news..

I have known Milt since the late 70's/ early 80's then the Az guys came out to California to build the original TTL Cactus Control systems, I went out to a board stuffing party only once but it was a blast. Once home and installed there was always infant mortality in something or other. I would send Milt various chips, diodes, and other components he needed ASAP from early Crossbar stock.  I would ship them in Marlboro boxes all taped up and dropped in the mail. I was also the guy, along with an occasional Phil David and Bill Stanius that would stay up all night talking to that crazy guy who had driven all the way across Arizona to meet with the Indians to install another ZIA radio on their land, only to drive back to NM to make it in time for work the following morning. I for one was as tired as Milt was and I never left the room. I'll never forget the Cactus meeting where he brought slides of his trench out the driveway, through the middle of town, out to the antenna farm on New Mexico State grazing land. Those pictures really made an impression, and I still tell that story to low bander friends.

Losing Milt won't make it easy to pick up the slack. There just aren't any more Milts...  :(



This post was made by: Robin <wa6cdr@cq160.net>


I had the honor to operate that station with the beverage feedline trench up the street. I will never forget driving to his place in Virden to operate the CQ160 contest.  I drove NW from the freeway (40 miles), to where the road drops down into the Virden valley. A few rolling knolls cause the road route to swing back and forth and a little up and down. I came around a corner a couple of miles from his house, and I started laughing and laughing.  His 200 foot tower stood out of the trees and terrain like a beacon.  I called it Radio Free Virden  (it was anything but free to build!).  It worked very well, and the beverage farm really made it something to operate.

Milt, originally K5FPO, was on the other end of many of our talks in the early days, starting with Black to Pinal on 46, with Milt on 440 from home.  We crossed the entire state of Arizona with just Pinal - (and 375W into a twin 12 on Black Peak at Parker).

The bug bit and he never looked back.  The Jacks Burgstahler TTL controller was the largest of the TTL controllers ever built, 101 cards as I recall. (The Switch was 240, but that was later)   He and a few dedicated souls from JPARA spent lots of time at Alan's place in Riverside building that controller.  Alan and I nearly drove poor Milt nuts when we came out to Jacks to install the controller.  Milt wanted to see and be involved in everything.  Alan worked on the controller logic and controls from about 6 AM until 7 or 8 PM.  I worked on radios and audio from about noon to 3 AM, leaving Alan notes of what we found during the second shift.  Poor Milt got less than 3 hours sleep each night for several days.

Ever mindful of the real environment he lived in, Milt originated the AUX link concept, and asked Alan to build it into the controller.  A first for all of us, but it worked.  Caballio, Jacks and Guthrie operated in parallel, quite successfully, for three decades before it exploded into a zillion sites in recent times. Persuading the Palomar controller that replaced the TTL controller about 15 years later to go along with the Aux Link idea wasn't fun, almost harder than the original design Alan built out of TTL and a pile of boards. Mike and Joe spent lots of hours on that, and on the SRS version more than a decade later.

Milt helped the region grow into the trunk feed to El Paso and Albuquerque, and expanded east.  When it arrived in El Paso, that made the trunk 1000 miles long, made from TTL and TUBES.

After we lost the site at Black Peak, Milt nudged and pushed us into our own building on Guadalupe Peak, a site with a HORRID 4WD road.  Power service to the site was 3000 feet of Romex lying on the ground draped over lava boulders. Fortunately, Sprint brought power and an improved road (a LITTLE improved).  Milt built the first 50 feet of tower and we plunked down two Moto J cabinets and re-established the trunk. We were on the air before Sprint. As many of you saw at the meeting, the building got hauled up on a National Guard 2.5 ton truck.  Some guy, from New Mexico no less, persuaded the Arizona National Guard that they needed a field trip.  The building went up, Milt stretched the tower to 70 ft, and added a twin 12 rotary array and the 440 stick out the top. 

This was 1984

This wasn't enough so he designed and built the ZIA system some years later.  An open duplex linked 2 meter repeater system covering the entire states of AZ and NM.  It worked well for several years, but eventually was spoiled by idiots and Milt dismantled the system.

I got him started on 160, and as they say, the rest is history. (that was actually well before ZIA)    Milt and I went on 2 trips to Myanmar (XZ1N, XZ0A).  He even got Rulene to go to Yangon with us on the first trip. She got smart and didn't go to XZ0A.

For XZ0A. a trip to a small island in the Indian ocean, we contracted for a bunch of tower sections and aluminum tubing via G3NOM, a British ExPat living in Bangkok.  The barge hauled 420 feet of hand made Rohn 25 look alike, and many hundred feet of tubing.  Milt built 180 feett of tower with an insulator at 50 ft, and 20 ft of stinger pipe out the tip for the 160 antenna. Then he built an 80M 4 square, 40M and 30M 4 squares.  None of us who were there will ever forget the  - for Milt - blue streak describing the people who built the tower sections. None of them were marked as to which section mated which other section - and NONE of them matched.  The sections were hand custom made in the beat to shape file to fit style.  Milt spent many hours on the towers with a 4 pound sledge hammer beating the legs into position so the next section would mate.  An informative experience for the Thai hams who came along to help build and operate.

On a small tropical island in the Indian Ocean!

We came home and Milt resumed building towers and sites all over New Mexico and Arizona.

This prepared him for the greatest opportunity of our ham lives (well, of our HF ham lives).  Milt and I did the lowband stuff for the VP6DX expedition. Ducie Island is a deserted tropical atoll in the South Pacific, and we had a VERY limited crew count.  7 stations, 13 operators for 21 operating days, with a 90 ft vertical for 160 and a fantastic three band beverage system, the expedition racked up records in over a dozen categories.  Many of them still stand.    I doubt Milts CQ160SSB contest score (1.2M) will ever be equaled, let alone beaten.  We often chatted about that and we were sure if it was going to be beaten, we would have to go do it ourselves. Alas, that will never come to be.

In between, he built Internet rural service sites & microwave "for something to do after retirement".

When he retired from that, he finally got to build his Topband dream station. He built an 8 square array of 135 ft towers.  With 1500 W feeding them, the array easily broke 10KW ERP.

Milt managed to pretty well perfect the remote operation of the super station. No sleeping in the trailer during the day during a contest.

In between all this, Milt helped people and system sites all over AZ and NM with tower work and guidance

And now his number is up.

Hold your head high, my friend, you have earned it.

Farewell, rest well.  You are missed


Robin Critchell


                        Posted to the VP6DX reflector by WA6CDR


This is truly a loss for all of us.  Milt always added to everything he ever touched.  I met Milt (K5FPO at the time) almost 5 decades ago.  He is responsible for many projects and facilities that live on.


The day after his fall, I went on a scheduled trip with a crew to spend 3 days doing additions and re-work on a communications site our club owns (that is about 350 miles from where Milt lives).


Milt built the tower and was instrumental in our getting a building trucked up the nasty road to the site. He initially encouraged the project and then dove in and made it happen.  This was in 1984.


So I spent 3 days under a 30 year successful Milt tower. A sober reminder of our loss.


Milt finally retired for the second time and got time to build his super station and enjoy it some.  1500W into a 7.5 dBd 8 square makes a real impression on 160.  There will be an article about it published shortly (QEX I think).


I KNOW the time we all spent together on Ducie was a major highlight in his life (and mine).  We regularly exchanged comments and discussions about the various current DXpedition scorecards, and the job we all did there still stands out today.


GN my friend, Sleep Well.  We all miss you


Robin, WA6CDR


N5IA Last Call

Posted by WA6CDR

Hello everyone

Please pass this on to your internal group reflectors and forward as needed.

You may have seen the message about a “Last Call” for Milt. N5IA.  Amongst the public safety people, it is traditional that some form of last call is read over the radio network in honor of a fallen comrade.

Brett Jensen, KE7DVB (now K5FPO), Milts son and a new Mexico State Police sergeant, will read a LAST CALL FOR Milt at approximately 1230 MST/PDT on Cactus.

The traditional last call is followed by an all too brief period of silence before normal traffic resumes.

In our world, we add to the traditional by logging all the call signs of the stations listening to the “last call” ceremony.

When Brett completes his reading of the Last call, we will observe a moment of silence (roughly 30 seconds).

This will be followed by a call for everyone listening to call in.   One last huge contest pileup for Milt.

I have the honor of operating as net control / contest station operator on Milts behalf.  I will respond to each caller and log your call sign.

In order to make some order out of chaos, I will follow a specific procedure, and I ask that you follow it as well.  I know many of you are not comfortable in a contest pileup, but this will be quite different.  You merely need to repeat your call sign each time I ask for more calls.  Eventually, I will get to everyone.  There is no need to become confused by a jumble of voices.  That is MY problem to sort out.  I will take calls by region to reduce the commotion some.  Please be patient.  There may be several hundred calls for me to sort through.  I will go back and ask for missed calls from all areas.

I will change areas after a good batch of calls are logged, even if there are more callers from that region.  Just like a DX station does.   Not to worry or get frustrated.  I will stick with it until I copy the last call sign

I will state:

This is WA6CDR operating the final call in for N5IA

This call is for stations in region #####

Call signs ONLY please.

YOU key your mic, take a short breath, state your call sign ONCE, and ONLY ONCE.  NO phonetics, NO extra words.

I will listen until everyone stops calling.  I will respond with a short list of the call signs I have copied.

(I will be duplex, and I will not talk until the callers stop talking. Don’t be the delay maker)

I will say

W7ABC,   W8DEF,  KA7FGH,  KF7IJK,  KW7CW, N7NPQ    ( whatever calls I copy and log)


Region #### only Please

NOW YOU  key your mic, take a short breath,  and state your call sign ONCE, and ONLY ONCE.  NO phonetics, NO extra words.


Listen for the words  REGION ### ONLY, or, ALL AREAS PLEASE

NO PHONETICS, NO NAMES, NO LOCATIONS, NO COMMENTS, PLEASE.  If everyone got 60 seconds of air time, it would take 2 DAYS to do this.

If I get a call sign wrong, just call in again.  Please don’t take air time to try to tell me about it.

Martin, several others, and I will pre configure the system to insure every site is on line.  We will probably have the link transmitters locked in continuous carrier to minimize the effects of the pickup delay.

PLEASE DO NOT normal your site as we may have manually tuned on some links.  IF you get the interface timeout warning, JUST send a second or two of STAR.

If your site is NOT interfaced by about 1215, go right ahead and interface it.

Someone will need to insure that the Texas radios are connected appropriately. PLEASE check your connections by 1215, and actually talk to someone out west.  I will probably be listening and punching from before 12