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Thursday, May 15, 2014
Jerry Pittenger K8RA Famous CW Key Maker Silent Key
QST author and CW key crafter Jerry Pittenger, K8RA, of Powell, Ohio, died January 2 2014 of pancreatic cancer. He was 66. Licensed in 1960, Pittenger was a retired systems engineer. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Miami University and an MS in systems engineering from Ohio State.
Pittenger enjoyed building his own equipment, and some of his amplifier projects were featured in QST, The ARRL Handbook, and RF Amplifier Classics. More recently he manufactured a line of solid-brass iambic and single-lever CW keys sold worldwide, until illness forced him to quit.
“Making my CW keys fills much of my time, but it is a labor of love,” Pittenger said in his online profile. “I can get lost in time machining metals and making things in the shop for the radio.” His friends Mike Freeman, NT8O, and Fred Freeman, N8BX, have taken over the production of the K8RA line.
On the air Pittenger primarily enjoyed CW but occasionally could be found on other modes.