December 6, 2020
It is with sadness that I found out that Neil McKie, ex WA6KLA, passed away around Thanksgiving time. Neil was very involved with Cactus until he retired from Radio Lab and moved to Oregon to be close to his brother. You always knew it was Neil when you saw the ex-police cruiser with 10 antennas on it come down the road.
Ken - WA6PYJ
He also had the largest collection of keys I have ever seen. He had so many Motorola radios in his trunk he had to install overload springs.
He was one of a kind!
And the Motorola trademark on the white doors.
Rest in Peace, my friend.
Motorola and GE on 2 shelves. He had the only 8 channel Priority Lock Monitor MASTR Pro I ever saw.
Ken - WA6PYJ
Neil (ex WA6KLA) passed the day before Thanksgiving in hospice in Oregon. He had to move there in the last few months because his condition had deteriorated. It was obvious when we were speaking with him on a weekly Sunday PARC (Palisades Amateur Radio Club) Zoom call we had started earlier this year (he could only use the phone since he was not allowed computer access) that he had moved. He appeared was in an assisted living facility of some type by all that we heard going on around him. He said he had moved, and obviously from his home to a place that could assist him.
Although he did not stay it on Zoom, I called and Neil told me his affection was is Aplastic Anemia Thrombocytopenia. He said google it... but it prevents your body from making platelets. He was been treated with plasma and platelets but numbers that should be 400-500,000 were 30-40,000. There was little more that could be done.
On one of our zoom calls a chap by the name of Alan dropped in. Alan (not a ham) appeared to be Neil's only support of any kind and was trying to be of help, and indeed it was Alan that let me know of Neil’s passing. Neil had only one relative, his brother who did not communicate at all, so was of no help. As Alan put it, Neil's brother had “ disowned” him. Sadly there is far more to this story, but even Alan as of this writing, was to unable to contact him, so Alan is doing what he can to sort out Neil's affairs and make final arrangements. Sad story.
There are no services planned, and I know know most are nowhere near Oregon to go if there were, but if I hear of anything, I will pass it on.
Neil was one of my two mentors at Radio Lab around 1976. He never liked servicing “just any radio’ that came in. He wanted to work on the ones everyone else gave up on. To a good extent Neil got me started in the two way industry and without that knowledge I would have never ended up in a job that I could actually retire from.
Rest in Peace
Yep, that was Neil.
At one time the radios were all 80D’s with debased 6146’s in the finals,140D’s and a GIANT Leece-Neville alternator complete with a home brew SILICON DIODE rectifier stack.