Joe M. Conely, KO5F, 1944-2006

Former general manager, Tait Electronics, Houston

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Joe Conely, KO5F, died on Dec. 27, 2006, at his home in Tomball, Texas. He was 62. Joe joined RCA in 1998. RCA member Rob Walker, N5VQN, told me that Joe had been battling cancer for the past couple of years. “Joe was a mentor to me and many others in the industry, and a great source of energy and zest for the industry and hobby (KO5F) he loved. He died at peace in his home with his family,” Rob said.

I came to know Joe mostly through his work with radio equipment manufacturers. In 2005, he was an area manager for Walker & Associates, Rob’s manufacturers representative company. In years past, he served as vice president of sales and marketing with Telus Marketing in Tomball; as Midwest regional manager for Kenwood USA in Plano; and as vice president and general manager for Tait Electronics in Houston in the 1990s.

Joe graduated from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he was active with the student amateur radio society, W4ATC. He was a captain in the U.S. Army, and he received the Meritorious Service Award from the U.S. Air Force, E4.

Here’s how Joe said he started in amateur radio:

“I first began my amateur hobby around 1968 (WN5EIF) in Midwest City, OK, after leaving the Air Force where I had served as a Morse intercept operator (AFSC 29250) and ground radio operator (AFSC 29350). I met Henry Just (K5SAM) while working on an auto claim where his wife Hilda had accidently damaged a farmer’s fence after sliding off an icy road one winter day. I drove up to Henry’s house to meet him and when no one came to the door, I looked out and saw a HF beam and little shack out back … and heard some CW coming from there, so I thought, he must be out there on his ham rig. True enough he was talking to a ham in Russia, and they were exceeding the limit of my ability to copy (and I could copy over 40 WPM), so they were smoking!

“I introduced myself, and the first thing Henry asked was if I knew the code. I said I did, and he said, ‘Here, take over.’ I sat down at his rig and began chatting with the Russian. Henry was impressed and later convinced me to get my license. He said he’d teach me electronics if I would build my own transmitter. He sent me all over Oklahoma City looking for tubes and other parts, and together, we built a little half-wave rectifier 40-meter transmitter that sounded like I was from ‘Lower Slobovia.’ Sending high-speed CW from such a rig makes everyone think you are rare DX! I loved the deception as I had plenty of hams coming back to my little 40-watt rig. I was hooked after a couple of months and have stayed on the air since, mostly on HF, 40 meters, 7.213 MHz.”

Joe is survived by his wife, Danelle; his son Gary S. Conely; his sister Linda N. Woodhall and her husband Bob; his brother Richard B. Conely and wife Katie; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

A memorial service for Joe was conducted on Jan. 6, 2007, at Rosehall Methodist Church in Tomball. Contributions may be made to the Joe M. Conely Medical Fund, Account #005748707123 at any Bank of America, or a charity of choice.

If you knew Joe, maybe you would like to add some remarks to the guest book that will be maintained on the web until January 26.

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