John Heath G7HIA – Silent Key

Andy Thomas G0SFJ took of this picture of John Heath G7HIA at the Cosmonauts’ steps leading to the Mir training module in Star City near Moscow. Over the years, many Cosmonauts have been photographed on these steps before their journeys into the Cosmos.

AMSAT-UK is very saddened by the passing of John Heath, G7HIA. He was a long standing member of AMSAT-UK, and contributed to the amateur space programme in many ways during his lifetime.

John was a regular attendee at the annual AMSAT-UK Colloquia for many years and he enjoyed meeting up with his friends who shared his passion for satellites.  Sadly his ill heath in recent years prevented his attendance.

In the days before his passing, John was in contact with AMSAT-UK; and made a significant financial contribution to the FUNcube project. He chose to do this by making the donation via the Radio Communication Foundation, which, as a registered charity will be able to claim any income tax paid by John as Gift Aid. The size of his donation is very considerable, and will be used at the discretion of the AMSAT-UK committee. Such is the extent of his generosity, that it may be feasible to consider the construction of a further complete CubeSat.

AMSAT-UK is very grateful for this donation.

John will be sadly missed by all members of AMSAT-UK who knew him during his life, and we send our condolences to his family.

RIP, John

Jim Heck G3WGM

John Heath G7HIA with school pupils who took part in the International Space Station contact on April 4, 2003 from the UK National Space Centre

Clive Wallis G3CWV writes:

I was very saddened to learn of John’s passing.  We had exchanged many e-mails during the last few years. I didn’t know John very well, although we had met at the ASAT-UK Colloquium on several occasions. Topics we discussed by e-mail included processing Delphi 3C telemetry, OSCAR-11 spin rate, automatic Doppler tracking and ARISSat-1 decay.

John was very active in using our satellites and promoting their use to others.  For several years he was net controller of the Midlands two metre AMSAT net.  He also wrote the Space column for RSGB’s RadCom magazine for a number of years. He contributed many articles to OSCAR News, recently in the September 2012 issue about ARISSat-1 orbital decay. His last contribution to OSCAR News was a short item in the December issue, congratulating AMSAT-UK on their 200th issue of the magazine. He included a photograph of himself, Astronaut Ron Parise WA4SIR and Geoff Perry, founder of the Kettering Group of satellite observers. It was taken at the 1998 Colloquium.

During the course of our discussions John mentioned that he was having some unpleasant hospital treatment. He also told me about his working career, which I  thought may be of interest.

As a teenager he was interested in organic chemistry and went to work in industry, eventually in the R&D department at Bakelite in Tyseley, Birmingham. In the 1960’s/70’s he worked on the phenolic resins used to make copper clad PCB material, and did the first industrial synthesis on nonyl phenol by ion exchange. There were massive world stocks of Nonene at knock down prices so they were looking for a way to use it to make phenol/formaldehyde resins used in PCB manufacture.

His YL Pam at that time worked in a small hairdressing supplies business and he sometimes worked with her when they needed extra staff to cover late night opening. After his marriage to Pam, her firm decided to open a branch in Leicester and they were offered the opportunity to re-locate and run the new operation. Together they built up the business, diversifying into related activities with a skin care manufacturing  company (where his science background was invaluable), a beauty products wholesale business  and a  mail order operation. The business expanded from 6 people to a staff of nearly 200 on four sites.

John said that Amateur radio helped to keep him sane by giving him a totally different set of things to think about and emptied his head of business concerns for a few hours each week!

A few years ago Pam was diagnosed with a serious illness and confined to a wheel  chair. This caused them to  bring forward their retirement plans and they moved to Devon.

My condolences to Pam, family & friends.

RIP John, we will miss you.

Clive Wallis   G3CWV