I often wonder about Edward Swoffer. He was the original W2LJ before I took on the call sign. Ed lived in Binghamton, NY and other than that, I know not much about him.

Was he an SSB guy? Was he a CW devotee like I am? Was he into DX? Traffic Handling? Or maybe he was just an inveterate rag chewer? By some oddball chance, could he have been a QRPer? What clubs, if any, did he belong to? Did he participate in Field Day with his Ham buddies? What kind of station did he have? What was his antenna farm like? A search on Google maps shows their address (which is public info) has a decent sized back yard with lots of trees. I'm betting he was a wire antenna guy.

He was an Amateur Extra, so I have to believe that, at least for a while, he was more than just a casual operator. 

Doing a Google search on W2LJ doesn't lead to anything other than stuff about me. By doing some digging on the name Edward Swoffer AND Binghamton, NY I was able to find out that Ed was born in 1919 and died in 1993. That makes him two years older than my Dad.  He was married to Norma Thompson who passed away in October 2009, They had a daughter who earned a degree in Philosophy. Other than that, zip.

Why the fascination? No reason, really. It's just that it would be neat to sit down and talk with him and find out if we have anything else in common besides being W2LJ. Or, for that matter, a family member who could tell me more about him.

What would be the icing on the cake would be to somehow acquire one of his QSL cards. THAT would be a treasure!

History was my favorite subject in school. As a kid, I loved reading biographies and still do. I have an appreciation for things from the past. It would be fun to know more about the original W2LJ.

72 de Larry (the current W2LJ)

QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

2 Responses to “Musing”

  • Jon Penna:

    Hi Larry – Thanks so much for your post and your curiosity. Ted Swoffer (“Pappy” to his grandkids) was my grandfather. He was a great one. So much I could share with you about him. He started building radios as a kid in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, had multiple tours of duty in the pacific theater in WWII as a radio/sonar guy aboard two USN submarines (USS Albacore and USS Peto), and after the war graduated from Penn State with an engineering degree. Joined Singer Link in Binghamton, NY as an aeronautical engineer, working on flight simulators for several warbirds. While I spent much of my childhood being fascinated with his many hobbies, he was a quiet man. And amateur radio remained something that he did by himself. Perhaps that’s why nobody else in the family continued the craft. I think he would be so pleased to know that his call sign lives on through you.

  • Stephen Tolbert W4TOL:

    Great story and good reading! That is interesting about the callsign you have now, who it belonged to before. Thanks for sharing.
    73, Stephen W4TOL

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