Written by Kevin Gunstone M0AGA from memory so please forgive any inaccuracies on my behalf.
Alan Reed has been a radio ham since May 1978 and until 2001 used purely home brew equipment with separate transmitter and receiver.
Born in 1940, Alan has been married to Patricia for 45 years and they have 2 children, Alison and Andrew.
A true “Ham” in every aspect, Alan spent his school years as a SWL and visited many local Hams in the area before learning the art of morse code.
This came about after visiting the local Mansfield Amateur Radio Club where Alan would meet Bert G3DBZ who mentored Alan until he became licensed and they remained firm friends until Bert became a silent key.
Being a young family man and off the shelf equipment not so readily available or affordable like today, he did what most people did back then, built their own.
The first receiver used was a HRO 5T in conjunction with a DX100 (Ex G8HX).
Up until 2001 Alan was regularly heard on the bands with his home brew transmitter using a Trio JR310 as receiver.
An Engineering Craftsman all his working life, he has combined those skills when completing any projects he did and like me (M0AGA), was always talking about “The Perfect Key”.
I first met Alan in 1996 after passing my morse test. I was surprised to find another cw operator living in my neighbourhood and we have been firm friends from that first meeting.
At the time Alan’s shack was in his garden shed and he was “Pure HF only” so a chat on 2mtrs FM was definitely out of the question!
I was using a straight key at the time but noticed in our qso’s how nice his keyer sounded. It was not until a year or so later when I started to build my first electronic keyer that I was to build the very same keyer that Alan had been using since 1980.
It came from a 1980 Radcom article written by Ian Trusson G3RVM called “The Ultimate Keyer”
No memory functions, just a straightforward speed control, this keyer has been the
back bone to both our stations.
Due to ill health, Alan retired in 2000.
Thankfully he is now able to spend more of his time rag chewing on the bands.
You will never get a 599, tu, 73 from his station because he is someone who enjoys meeting people and discussing radio related topics and meeting and encouraging newly licensed operators onto the bands as he did so nicely with me many years ago.
He has done his share of contest operating too with the successful Mansfield Radio Club in their heydays, so he does not dismiss contesting but now prefers to work at a more sedate pace whilst encouraging others to perfect their own capabilities.
He certainly did that with me and my admission to the First Class Operators CW Club in 2003 is a testament to his groundwork along with qrq practice from another local cw operator Steve G0DMN.
The original prototype I made back in 2003 was the result of many hours spent discussing “The Perfect Key” whilst drinking mugs of tea and Alan smoking his pipe (Not at the same time of course!!).
We would eventually fine tune this key with his expert engineering knowledge until that goal had been reached.
I would like to say at this stage that I am not an engineer and possessed absolutely no specialist equipment to build a key in the first instant.
It was Alan’s advice (And frustration) that helped me complete what I initially thought was a simple, straightforward task. How wrong can you get?
The completed article was given by me to Alan in respect of his limitless encouragement to me as a fellow cw operator. It was Alan who christened the key “The Chevron”™ and it is his invaluable assistance and engineering knowledge that has helped to create this masterpiece.
When we speak of the late G5RV Louis Varney in reference to our antennas, I am sure we will also speak in reverence to Alan G4HCD who has made such a fantastic
Iambic Key become a reality in the public domain.
Every owner of the HCD Chevron and cw operators alike should take time to chat with Alan for helping produce the Rolls-Royce ™ of morse keys.
He compliments his key nowadays with an Icom IC756 Pro 3 a quantum leap from his roots whilst also remaining faithful to his first ever “Black Box” the Yaesu FT101.
Alan is the Technical Consultant in this project and completes the Quality Control ensuring your Chevron Key ™ reaches you in perfect working order.
He is a true gentleman and it is my pleasure to be counted as one of his friends.
Thanks a million pal.
Kevin Gunstone M0AGA