On Tuesday April 14th will be Les Sauls 95th birthday
He is not your usual individual and I thought his background could help you fill out some of the news hour.
The dry bit is as follows:
Happy 95th birthday to Les Saul, Victoria BC (VE7GBT- 'Great Brown Tiger')
Les has been a member of Victoria New Horizons Radio Club since the mid 80s!
Born April 15, 1925 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Les has grown up with a love and appreciation for communications- written, spoken, visual- you name it!
In 1943-46 Les joined the navy as a signalman on the HMS Gatineau.
After the war, Les trained as a printer publisher. In 1950, at the age of 25, Les married his wife Fran (b.1930-d.2013) and moved to Alberta. That same year Les purchased the Eckville Examiner (a local newspaper) and was the publisher until 1954 when he sold the business.
The remainder of Les' career was in Public Relations and advertising.
Les worked as a news editor for CHED (AB), CKOK (BC) and CFCN (AB) from 1954-1965.
By 1965, Les had 3 children- Pat (1952), Donovan (1954) and Jennifer (1964).
In 1965, Les began work in Public Relations for the federal government in various roles. He finished his government career retiring as the Director of Public Affairs for Canada Post Western Region in Vancouver in 1980.
Les continued to teach and consult for a couple of years during semi-retirement but ultimately retired to Thetis Island, BC in 1983.
During his retirement, Les has been very active in the Canadian Public Relations Society.
On Thetis Island, Les continued his passion for HAM radio which began in his 20s back in Manitoba.
Les has operated in BC as an amateur radio operator under 'VE7GBT'- affectionately known as 'Great Brown Tiger' since the 1980s.
Many will remember the daily updates Les provided on the Thetis Island weather. Les was also a key communicator and liaison, using his radio to keep the community informed during power outages on the island. The Thetis Island home ceiling was covered with HAM radio call cards/postcards from his friends from around the world (the grandkids delighted in spotting the card from the most remote destination). The grand-kids still delight in looking at the variety of 'historical' radio equipment.
As Les approaches 95 years, some things don't work as well as they used to including his hearing- so despite being a member of the Victoria Shortwave Club and the New Victoria Horizon's Club since 1987, he is less able to participate. However, Les speaks fondly of his many friends in his HAM circles.
In 2012, Les left Thetis Island and moved to Victoria. Les enjoys outings and shopping trips to downtown Victoria. He is still interested in the news and really enjoys keeping up with current events. He also really enjoys nature programs on the National Geographic channel!
Les is kept busy communicating with his 3 children, his 7 grand-kids and 3 great-grandchildren- who live all around the world, including here in BC, and the United Kingdom and New Zealand- albeit, he communicates through other mediums other than the radio.
Please give a toast to Les Saul- " Happy Birthday Great Brown Tiger!" those are the initials of his callsign."
As noted, if you would like to send a letter, card or note to Les- I have no doubt he would appreciate it.
Apt 455, Rose Manor
857 Rupert Terrace
Victoria, BC V8V 3E5
Now a bit of the interesting stuff,
• Communications were an issue. TELUS came over and charged the relay station from time to time, but landline phones were only sporadically usable. Cell phones (where they have coverage) and HAM radios could still be used, always assuming people had access to power for charging them. Neighbours and Fire Department members did check on the known elderly and less-mobile, but this experience underlined that a nearby “buddy” system is crucial. • There was a general discussion of the LERN (Local Emergency Response Neighbourhood) system, which has been in place for many years now, but which seems to have fallen into disuse except in a few close-knit neighbourhoods. Because both travel and communication are compromised in a severe general emergency, this is a subject we are going to have to return to. How can we most quickly and safely check on our neighbours and “buddies”? If the phones are down, would walkie-talkies be an option for line-of-sight neighbours? It was pointed out that anyone can own a HAM radio, even if they don’t have a license to use it, and a) listen in to keep an ear open for what might be happening out there, and b) IN A LIFE-THREATENING EMERGENCY ONLY you can push the button and call for help.
Written by the group that stated the boaters Net
When I moved to Thetis in 1983, Alex Ducket, VE7CBV SK was controlling the BC Boaters Net. He had been a member of a small group which met nightly on 147.320 when I was living in Victoria. On my move to Thetis, Alex asked me to check in with weather and water conditions and any other information for boaters. After a year he asked me to take over the Net. Initially, I had three or four waterfront hams giving me water conditions. I operated the Net from 4:30 pm to 6 nightly from May to September changing, from 2 meters to HF at 6 pm for those who were out of 2M range. My Net files are at Thetis so I'm a little hazy on some details but if I recall correctly, we had upwards of 30 or 40 check-ins at the peak of the season in mid-July and August. I had the pleasure of meeting many of them in Telegraph Harbour and visited some of them and their families in Washington State. One or two still visit me at Thetis and several send cards at Christmas. I regretted having to give up the Net Control but I have enjoyed keeping in touch with weather, water and marina condition reports.
Due to a session in the hospital which Fran and I both had with a bout of e-coli in August and September of 2012 which resulted in Fran's stroke and partial blindness, plus my implant of a Cochlear hearing device on my right side to overcome my increasing deafness, which had impacted my radio communications, I have had to spend much of my time in Victoria with regular visits to St. Paul's hospital in Vancouver where the implant unit is located. It will be close to a year before I can expect to have full hearing again and I must still report into Vancouver for regular check-ups. I don't know if or when I will be back on Thetis on a more regular basis. Fran is recovering her eyesight but I have had to give up my driving license which limits my travel somewhat. It has been an honour and a pleasure to have been associated with the BC Boaters' Net and so many great people over the years.
Thank you and 73 Les VE7GBT
THETIS ISLAND, B.C.
CONTRIBUTED REGULARLY TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2012 AT 10:29PM
Thank you AGAIN, for this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony. We deeply, deeply appreciate you doing this for our community.
We look forward to seeing you up there next year. May we never forget the fallen and those who served, past and present!