Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society
Louis Varney G5RV Memorial Page
9-Jun-1911  -  28-Jun-2000, Aged 89

Louis Varney G5RV - Silent Key

It is with regret that we have to report that Louis Varney, G5RV passed away on Wednesday, 28th June 2000 at his home in Burgess Hill, Sussex. He was 89 on the 9th June 2000.

CARS Club President Harry, G5HF was the last person to work Louis, on 11th January, 2000.

Louis was a Founder Member of the Society in Chelmsford in 1936 and was a Life Member. He will be remembered for his work on Amateur radio aerials and in particular the G5RV for the HF Bands. He later moved to Burgess Hill in November 1968 where he was a member of the Mid-Sussex-ARS.

It is strange to report that the rope halyard broke the day Louis died bringing his double size G5RV aerial down to "half-mast".

Right: RadCom Aug-2000 Obituary - click for PDF version

G5RV Final Logbook

Final G5RV Log Book - Click for Louis Varney G5RV Final Logbook (PDF Extract)

The final log book of one of the UK's best-known radio amateurs has been saved for posterity. The late Louis Varney, G5RV, was one of the founder members of the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society in 1936, so when eagle-eyed Chelmsford club member Duncan M0KGK, spotted that G5RV's last ever logbook was being auctioned on eBay, the club decided to buy it. Duncan did the bidding and despite fierce competition managed to secure the logbook in the last eight seconds of auction.

The logbook shows that G5RV's final QSOs, on 11 January 2000, were with MSARS member Ron Glover G0WGP and Chelmsford club President Harry Heap G5HF, appropriately enough on page 73 of the logbook. Louis was, of course, using a G5RV antenna for the contacts!

Earlier Times

1942: In the Army..

Louis's QSL Card dated December 6th 1942 when he was in the Army but living in Chelmsford

At this time he would have been a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Signals, SCU3 Unit - HF Interception and DF. He was in charge of installation, calibration and maintenance of all DF Stations in the UK. It records a meeting which included Harry Heap, G5HF who at that time was a Secret Y-Station Listener. It also includes Lawrence (Laurie) Fuller, G6LB who ran a Gents Outfitters shop in the High Street having come from London; F E Smith, BRS 5242 who ran a Radio and HiFi shop in Moulsham Street; late Harry Lowe, BRS 3555 (but G2HPF after the war) and George Heales, BRS 3650. Two Canadian Amateurs, Mr Welsh, VE5PM and Mr Davis, VE4UO were present but no details are available for them at present.

Information and QSL Card by courtesy of Harry Heap G5HF, Life Fellow Member of CARS.

1957: One of many QSL cards from his travels:-

1964: CARS Meeting Circular: "The G5RV Antenna And Other Things" - July 1964 talk

1978: Louis sent this QSL Card to GM3AWW as a request for a QSL Card in return for his DXCC Award.

It shows Louis operated from 75 Countries using over 50 Call-signs.

1982: Back in 1946 Louis was Founder member No-7 of the reformed First Class CW Operators' Club (FOC). Rather later he was made the 1984 FOC President. This photo of Louis with his wife Nelida (who was from Piriapolis, Uruguay) was taken at the October 1983 FOC installation dinner.

Oct-1983 Louis G5RV and Nelida at the FOC dinner

1987: Louis got around. Here he is with Senior Espinosa on 24th April 1987 near Panama City. The horse is called Colorado.

Louis G5RV in Panama

G5RV Memories by Arthur Butcher G3KPJ

Peter Bendall-SWL, Alan Davies G3INW, Peter Naish G3EIX and Louis Varney G5RV (Right)
Peter Bendall was later G3NBU and now DJ0JR, Alan is now GW3INW, Peter Naish was later VK2BPN.

The photograph was taken in a tent set up in "The Rec" Chelmsford (now Central Park) to commemorate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, June 1953.

The Special Event Station, callsign GB2CRA (Chelmsford Radio Amateurs) was the first time that a GB callsign was issued for such purposes.
Louis, probably though his contacts in the GPO (the Licencing Authority at that time) arranged for the call to be issued. Up to then, only the RSGB Headquarters had GB callsigns - they were not very pleased when Louis broke their monopoly. This was probably what started the general issue of such callsigns.

The photograph shows the original G5RV "TVI Proof" 50 Watt Transmitter built by G5RV. The later one had 2 x 807s in the PA and was published as the "Elizabethan" because of the Coronation. Also in the picture is a HRO loaned by Lawrence Fuller, G6LB.

The photograph was taken by G3KPJ using a 9 x 12cm plate camera and the above picture was scanned directly from a contact print. Our thanks to Arthur, G3KPJ for permission to publish his photograph.

G5RV Memories by CARS

On Tuesday Aug-1 1995, Louis gave a talk at the former CARS venue of Marconi College in Arbour Lane on antenna system tuning:-

Louis Varney (left) talking to the late Arthur Butcher, G3KPJ with Vice President Geoff Mills, G3EDM looking on

President Roy Martyr G3PMX introducing Louis Varney before he presented a talk on Aerial System Tuning Units (ASTU)

Louis Varney
President Roy Martyr G3PMX talking to the audience with Louis Varney during his talk.
Note the late Geoff Cockerill G2AMQ is seated centre.

Louis Varney adjusting his ASTU

Louis Varney answering a question

While Louis was lecturing, his Wife Nelida sat outside as it was a hot evening

Taken at another CARS Meeting in Arbour Lane on 2-Jul-1996 when Louis was a member of the audience.
Seated left to right. Gwyn, G4FKH; Harry, G5HF; Louis, G5RV and Martyn.   Tony G4YTG is standing right.
Looking behind Gwyn is the late Arthur Butcher, G3KPJ, to the right SK Harry Lowe G2HNF and then Ken Whittle, G7RFT.
Behind Martyn is Malcolm Lees G4KGL.   Just peering out behind Tony is SK George Cutting G3GNQ.
SK Ela Martyr G4HKI and President Roy Martyr, G3PMX can be seen as can SK Wally - CARS Reverend.
Eric Lawley G3MMX can be seen in a red jumper towards the back - he now lives near Plymouth.
Right at the back is Andrew from Silver End and CARS Lead Trainer Chris Chapman, G0IPU.

Further Reading:-

  • CARS Newsletter: August-2000 G5RV SK announcement/obit
  • Jim Thompson W4THU site on Louis:
  • MSARS: Feature articles inc G5RV

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