In memory of our friend,
Sammy Earl Neal - N5AF
April 2, 1942 - July 11, 2018
Courtesy of Richard King - K5NA
On my first day of college at Lamar Tech in Beaumont I saw an amazing sight. A large man stepped out of a 1955 Chevrolet with the tallest mobile antenna I had ever seen. I said "hello". That was my introduction to Sammy Neal.
Hanging out with ham friends I had heard stories about Sammy and now I would find out that many were true.
Sammy proudly showed me his station in the Chevy. He had a pair of ARC5s, one a transmitter, the other a receiver both powered by dynamotors. The mobile antenna was his pride and joy. It was mounted in the center of the trunk lid and had a three-foot extension to a large bug-catcher loading coil. Above the loading coil was a whip antenna that seemed to touch the sky.
Sammy was proud of the car and kept it neat and clean. The car had one blemish in the center of the front hood, a scratched area that looked as if it had been wire brushed. I asked Sammy what had happened to his hood. He answered, "When I stop at a stop sign or a traffic light the tip of the whip bends across the top of the car and takes another small chip of paint off the hood." We both nodded with a mutual understanding that this was something that you lived with in order to have the best mobile signal possible.
We became good friends and in the spring semester Sammy and I moved off campus along with Robert McWhorter (K5PFE). That was the start of a friendship that lasted for almost 60 years.