Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society

Ela Martyr G6HKM - Silent Key 18-Feb-2008, Age 78


Ela Bessie Martyr G6HKM became a Silent Key on 18th February 2008, aged 78.

Ela was a Honorable Life Member of CARS.

The photograph is of CARS President presenting Ela with a bouquet in 2000.

The Funeral Service, led by Revd Fr Trevor Diaper was held in the Church of St Mary and St Lawrence, Great Waltham, near Chelmsford at 11 am on Tuesday, 4th March, followed by a brief ceremony at Chelmsford Crematorium for close family.   CARS Members swelled the congregation on a bright but cold day and afterwards many Members met Ela’s Family at the Green Dragon in Great Leighs.

Ela will be missed by all who knew her.

Donations were given to the RNLI, C/O the Funeral Director, Ms Janet Davies, Fern House, 72 Coggeshall Road, Braintree, CM7 9BY.

We extend our sympathy to the Family.

John G8DET, Chairman

Ela Bessie Martyr G6HKM   - by Ken Dews G3PMW

I first met the Martyr family through the late Roy and the subjects of radio and sound systems, and being invited to visit the house. There was Ela, ever ready to welcome anyone and provide refreshments. Roy and I worked in the same Marconi building fairly closely from 1953. The subject of Amateur Radio soon came up and eventually, after much discussion, we applied for our licences. Ela’s welcome to me started during the preparation for the exam and the necessary Morse practice. Once licensed (G3PMX) Roy took a very active part in the local radio society (to become CARS) and was soon a Committee Member.

Eventually, and perhaps inevitably, Ela decided that rather than just listen to the conversations she would join in - if you cannot beat them, join them. Initially, she helped Roy with his Committee work. It soon became ‘Roy and Ela’ running the Newsletter and the Raffle (which she did for 18 years), and after joining the Committee, she became the Membership Secretary. To complete the process of joining in, she made a great effort, and with some coaching passed the exam to gain her own licence (G6HKM) in 1981. Not liking Morse, she applied for the VHF/UHF licence, and with Roy doing the engineering, she was soon on both of the 2m and 70cm bands. It was not obvious at first, but Ela was quite competitive and soon embarked on certificate and squares hunting. Her approach was very systematic, and meticulously recorded everything, with maps and her filing system, for QSL card collecting.

Roy and Ela made a good team and Roy was very proud of her achievements. She became a very good operator and although her voice helped, she was very good at penetrating the pile-up and would always get through to the rare stations. She was so well known on the bands that she rarely had to give her name; she would be greeted by "Hello Ela" all the time. Her requests for more equipment, and better signal strength, pushed Roy’s expertise to the limit, but she made very good use of it.

It came to an end with Roy’s illness and demise. Roy’s illness naturally caused Ela to reduce her activities for the CARS Committee. Moving house, she ended up on a new estate which had covenants preventing the use of outside aerials, and she could not be persuaded to break the rule, even using disguised aerials. Consequently, her aerials were inside the roof space. Naturally, the poorer conditions discouraged her and she gave up operating.

She maintained her interest in CARS and was a very regular member, only missing meetings because of her own illnesses. She will be greatly missed.


Ela Martyr G6HKM, A Good Friend   - by Geoff Lovegrove, G7KLV

It was only after Roy had passed away that I really got to know Ela. I had been to Great Waltham, High Houses on a couple of occasions on club business. Their house was devoted to the pursuit of Amateur Radio with VHF in the living room, HF in the garden shed and a wind up aerial in the garden.   They had neighbours on one side but generally it was well away from other dwellings, unlike their previous house in Second Avenue, off Broomfield Road. This was why they had moved there.

It had been Ela who had always answered the knocks on the door of the house in Second Avenue by neighbours complaining of TV interference! That was back in the days of 405 lines, weak VHF signals and TVs susceptible to patterning! Much of Roy’s time was spent placating the neighbours and installing filters for them! By the time they moved to High Houses, UHF television had arrived and although there could still be problems, they were generally much easier to cure!

Whilst still in Second Avenue, with the connivance of her children, and unbeknown to Roy, Ela had started to study for the RAE. If you can’t beat them join them! Eventually she passed, became G6HKM, but try as she might she just couldn’t master Morse. No matter, before very long she had become a very proficient operator on the VHF bands and became a very proficient and successful contester. Although Roy wasn’t competitive like Ela, he gave her his full support, encouragement and backing.

When Roy died in 1998, Ela reluctantly decided that she couldn’t stay at High Houses for various reasons and she started house-hunting and fell in love with a rather unusual house in the up and coming Notley Village. Unfortunately there were restrictions regarding TV aerials so even the simplest VHF aerial was quite out of the question and after a few abortive attempts she decided, very reluctantly, that Amateur Radio was out of the question!

Ela had been a CARS Committee Member and for a time Committee Meetings were held at her house at Notley. Eventually she resigned from the Committee and we transferred to Danbury for our Meetings.

Meanwhile Ela continued to come to Club meetings. I would collect her and after her favourite meal of fish & chips and Vienetta we would go on to the meeting. Sometimes she would run the Raffle just like she had done for many years at Marconi College. Ken Dews or Dave Penny would see her home afterwards.

She always enjoyed the meetings but as her health deteriorated her attendance dwindled. I am glad that she managed to get to the last meeting in February before she was taken fatally ill.

Ela had three absorbing interests in her life: the main one, her family, followed by Amateur Radio and Cross Stitching, the latter two in that order I think! It was such a pity that for various reasons she was unable to follow her two hobbies. She was in almost daily contact with both Wendy and David and fortunately this was something that she was able to enjoy right up to the end in spite of her failing health. She was so very proud of them and of her three grandchildren.

Ela will be sadly missed by her family and many friends

Geoff G7KLV

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