Roger Western, G3SXW, 24th April 2022

| April 26, 2022

We were saddened to learn of the passing of our very dear friend and fellow ham, Roger Western G3SXW. Roger had been a stalwart member of the Echelford Amateur Radio Society for some considerable time.  He was well known for his prowess as a first class morse operator and particularly for his DXpeditions, for which others more qualified than I will be able comment on over the following days and weeks. As a member of Echelford Amateur Radio Society he was very supportive of our club meetings and always attended our Field Days, bringing his CW skills to the fore.

He was a prolific writer of tales related to his DXpeditions and wrote several books on the subject.  He also wrote other unrelated books which included one entitled “Escape from Revolution”. This was the epic story of his escape from Iran after the Shah had fled the country.  A truly interesting book which delves into the background leading up the Shah’s overthrow.

Roger graduated in Business Studies with languages in 1966. He was fluent in French and Spanish.  These skills were extremely useful when he was employed by Beecham Pharmaceuticals – something he modestly noted was a brave decision on Beecham’s part. He started his overseas employment with Beecham’s in 1970 and had a very distinguished career with them.

Things started to go wrong with his health some time ago and culminated in a fall from a ladder a few years ago. From the day of that dreadful accident he had remained either in hospital or in a nursing home. Echelford members had visited Roger in hospital, including G0OSX, G3XTZ, G4IRN and myself.  The last time I saw Roger was about a month ago in company with Norman, G0OSX at Kingston Hospital. Many others who I am unable to name also made visits.  My thanks go to Ian G3WVG for keeping us informed.

Our thoughts go to his family and particularly to Virginia, his wife and Russell his son.

Roger will be sadly missed by many people. Rest in Peace OM.

Patrick Gray G0HYT (President, Echelford Amateur Radio Society)


Roger, G3SXW was well known as a DX-peditioner, contester, author and advocate of good amateur radio practices.

Born in Devon to ham-radio parents, he graduated in Business Studies and Languages in 1966. Being fluent in French and Spanish helped him develop an interest in overseas culture; the hunger to see and experience new places, to meet people from different cultures was fuelled by amateur radio.

Operating CW pile-ups on DX-peditions was Roger’s passion. For hours on end he could run huge, but always well managed pile-ups. He had an uncanny ability to pick out full calls correctly, no matter the size and raucousness of the pile-up.

Life-long friend Nige,l G3TXF travelled with Roger on CW DX-peditions on all six continents, ranging from Svalbard (JW) in the far north to Chatham Island (ZL7) in the south. Only a few DX-peditioners have operated from Nauru (C21) even once, but Roger managed to operate from there twice. Their first DX-pedition was to Tunisia in 1969 (3V8NC); over the next forty years they operated from numerous DX locations, always with a CW focus. Roger was a real master of CW DX-pedition operating and recognised world-wide for his skills.

Roger’s work in pharmaceutical marketing took him overseas to the Middle East in 1970. He married his first wife Fahimeh in Tehran in 1971, with whom he shared a son, Russell, born in November 1972. Roger didn’t obtain his Iranian callsign EP2IA until late 1977, but it won him several major contests before he fled. While in Iran he had weekly skeds with his mother Gee, G3NQD, though these became more frequent as the revolution drew closer. Those skeds apparently drew quite an audience of hams interested to hear what was going on in Iran at the time.

Ian, G3WVG first met Roger on the radio in the late 60s when he was a GW; he later moved to Surrey and through Nigel, G3TXF became lifelong good mates with Roger. Together with Dennis, G3MXJ, Roger hit on the idea of G0AAA and calling themselves the ‘Three As Contest Group’ (Roger, Dennis, Ian and Nigel). They operated CQWW for several years from the Channel Islands (GU/GJ), then Luxembourg (G0AAA/LX) in 1987 where the only accommodation on an empty campsite in the freezing snow was a ladies loo! Clearly this trip was pretty much the last straw for Roger and for CQWW he would soon go his own way, south to the sun.

Before Roger started his West African adventures there were CQWW CW trips with US friends to Morocco (CN5N) in 1990, Gambia (C56N) in 1991 and UK Sovereign Bases on Cyprus (ZC4Z) in 1992.  The first West African trip was to Ghana (9G5AA) in 1994 (G3SXW, GM3YTS, K5VT, KC7V, N7BG, K7GE). This trip started the ‘Voodoo Contest Group’ legacy, a name coined by Robbie, GM3YTS, that led to CQWWCW contests from nine West African nations until 2012.

When the African trips came to an end, Roger became interested in ‘micro DXpeditioning’. Combined with his passion for ‘DXFC’ (DXCC by foot) this presented a great opportunity to travel on budget airlines around Europe with a few pals for some lightweight radio operating and to sample local delights. Roger derived a lot of enjoyment from these trips.

Roger was a long-time member and supporter of the First Class CW Operators’ Club (FOC) having been elected to membership in 1965. He held the position of President in 1987 and served as the Club’s Secretary from 1988-1992. In 2017, his long and close relation with the Club and his dedication to the advancement of FOC’s objectives were recognised when he was accorded the rare status of Honoured Member.

During his time as Chairman, Dennis, G3MXJ/F5VHY recalls Roger contributed to the Committee on a number of occasions, but he was not at his best as a Committee member! The need for such a group to operate by consensus frequently clashed with his view that FOC should be constantly looking to take a highly active role in pushing for changes in the development of our hobby.  But, of course, it was exactly these aspects of his personality that underpinned his highly successful activities in contesting and DX-peditioning.

In 1998 Roger was recognised for his life-time contesting achievements by being inducted to the CQ Contest Hall of Fame and for his DX-pedition achievements he was inducted to the CQ DX Hall of Fame in 2007. He also served as a WRTC referee and as a member of the RSGB Contest and CQWW committees.

Roger’s wisdom, passion, enthusiasm and wit had an impact on everyone that knew him. He leaves his wife Virginia, son Russell and his family to whom we extend our heartfelt condolences.

By John Warburton, G4IRN, with thanks for contributions to Dennis, G3MXJ/F5VHY, Nigel, G3TXF/OE5TXF and Ian, G3WVG.

Category: Silent Keys