Edward Tapscott, Jr. Memorial and John Burroughs Jr. High School Commenorative Amateur Radio Club

Memorial Webpage for Eddie “Tap” Tapscott,

W6TDM (sk)

Beloved Amateur Radio Operator,

Pioneering Black Novice Ham, and a Friend to All
Born - November 26, 1904.  Silent Key (passed away) - December 24, 1971

By Cliff Cheng, Ph.D., AC6C

Past President of the Edward Tapscott, Jr., Memorial Amateur Radio Station, W6TDM

at John Burroughs Junior High School Amateur Radio Club


 


© 2010, Cliff Cheng, Ph.D., AC6C     ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

Revised August 29, 2010


 QSL Courtesy of Walt Shubin, K6WAS

Tap's Grave, April 2010

(c) 2010, Cliff  Cheng

 

This website commemorates the late-Edward “Tap” Tapscott, Jr. W6TDM (sk) (1904-1971) and the amateur radio station named after him at John Burroughs Junior School in Los Angeles, California (1972-1988).  This website is a companion website to the Ted Ryan Memorial Amateur Radio Club, WB6JXY (sk), www.tedryan.bappy.com.  Please visit Ted’s site. 

Tap, W6TDM (sk) was a very popular local ham here in Los Angeles, California, USA from the 1952 to 1971.  One could not get on 2 meters AM in LA and not meet Tap in that period!  He was a friend to all. 

Tap was a very good friend of Ted Ryan, WB6JXY (sk) who was the electric shop at John Burroughs Jr. High School (JB) from 1969 to early-1980s.  After Tap’s key went silent (sk)(passed away) in 1971, Ted applied to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) for Tap’s callsign, W6TDM on behalf of the John Burroughs Jr. High School Amateur Radio Club (JB). The Fall 1972 Callbook, a sort of phonebook for ham radio operators, has the first listing of W6TDM being granted to the ham club at JB. Ted was the Trustee of W6TDM.  Ted dedicated the club’s amateur radio station to.  The official name of the club was the - John Burroughs Jr. High School Amateur Radio Club, Edward Tapscott, Jr. Memorial Amateur Radio Station, W6TDM.  We the alumni of JB’s ham club, Tap’s former club and Tap’s old clubmates at the Los Angeles Amateur Radio Club (LAARC) and other friends honor Tap and commemorate JB’s club with this website. 

Ted did not say much about Tap, other than he was a lovely, blind, African-American man.  Ted also held Tap as an example when a kid told Ted he/she could not solder.  Ted would reply - “if a blind man (pointing to Tap’s picture) can solder so can you.”  ome of Ted’s alums thought Ted and Tap might have known each other through the San Fernando Valley Amateur Radio Club, W6SD (SFVARC).  Since Tap was blind and lived in South Central LA (now called South LA), a considerable distance from SFVARC, it may not have been likely that Tap would have found a ride out to the Valley very often.  Of course, Ted was the kind of ham who would go out of his way to pickup Tap and drive him to the meetings.  It is more likely that Ted and Tap knew each other on 2 meters AM.  Both Tap and Ted was on 2M AM even after FM and repeaters came in.  Ted was part of a 2M AM net in the Valley until the time of his passing in 2005. 

From about 1972 to early-1980s, all the ham’s Ted licensed at JB started their ham radio careers operating under Tap’s picture.  Most of us were Novice class license holders which limited us to operating CW on the HF bands.  Tap watched over us as we had our first QSOs, when we got our first QSL cards, as our code speed improved.  When we built a Heathkit, converted a military surplus rig, fixed a used radio, we tested it on the air under Tap’s picture. 

As Novices our main task was to improve our code speed and study theory to pass our General class exams.  After the Novice bands closed down (propagation made communication on the Novice low bands not possible), Ted would encourage us to get on 2M FM with our Tempo CL-146 or on 2M AM with Tap’s Gonset Communicator, and practice phone operating procedure using W6TDM. 

 



Gonset Communicator II, 2 meter AM transceiver.
This is not a picture of Tap's rig but another rig Larry Weide, K6BFM restored.
Thanks for the photo Larry!



Tap’s old call was kept alive by hundreds of young hams at JB.  Many young hams used Tap’s rig to get on phone (voice) for the first time.

We are uncertain what other equipment of Tap’s our school inherited.  The original HF rig was a Galaxy 500 which belonged to Ted’s co-teacher Bill Harris, WA6KUR who passed away (sk).  By the time Cliff’s class arrived at JB in 1973, we had an old Swan 260. 



Cliff, WN6JPA (currently AC6C), Operating the John Burroughs Jr. High School
Amateur Radio Club, Edward Tapscott Memorial Station, W6TDM in 1975

Note the Swan 260 HF Transciever
(c) 2010, Cliff  Cheng


This might have been Tap’s rig.  There was also an old Hammarlund HQ-180 and the antenna system which we do not know who donated them; Tap maybe?

Ted did not say much about Tap, other than he was a lovely, blind, African-American man.  Ted also held Tap as an example when a kid told Ted he/she could not solder.  Ted would reply - “if a blind man (pointing to Tap’s picture) can solder so can you.”


In 2005, Ted’s key went silent (sk) (passed away). Cliff Cheng, Ph.D., AC6C, who was licensed by Ted at JB in 1975 as WN6JPA, and was Ted’s Teaching Assistant and President of the ham club at JB, set-up a memorial website for Ted, www.tedryan.bappy.com.  There was a section devoted to Tap on that website which has been moved here and expanded.  Following Ted’s example of honoring Tap, Cliff set-up the Ted Ryan Memorial Amateur Radio Club, WB6JXY, www.tedryan.bappy.com.


Over the years, a few hams who visited Ted’s website contacted Cliff to tell him about Tap.  After first talking to John Ruckert, WB6ATN, in January 2010, Cliff actively started doing research for this website for Tap.  Below are fragments of information gathered about Tap.  Keep in mind by the time a separate website for Tap started in 2010, it had been 39 years since Tap sk’d (passed away).  We will attempt to assemble the pieces we have chronologically.  Please help us with any information you have. 

 

Tap’s Background


We do not at present have much background information on Tap other than fragments from public records.  Several people have helped us with out research.  We are grateful to Bob Tapscott, who wrote the book, Henry the Immigrant, the First Tapscotts of Virginia, for his research on Tap. Patti Ruckert (John, WB6ATN’s sister) provided tips from her own genealogical work. Tap’s old clubmates at the Los Angeles Amateur Radio Club are very supportive of this research project.  


One main point of Bob’s research is that he found Tap was called “Eddie Tapscott.”  He did not find an Edward Tapscott, Jr.  Our research in the spring of 2010 at the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Office in Norwalk, CA also did not find an Edward Tapscott, Jr. either.  We also found Eddie Tapscott.  Since Ted has sk’d, we are unable to ask him about Tap’s name.  In ham radio we have not found anyone calling Tap, “Eddie,” “Edward” or any other name.  On ham radio Eddie was known as “Tap.”


Bob found that Tap was born on November 26, 1904 in Texas. We confirmed this finding using Tap’s death certificate, Legacy.com and social security records.  These records do not provide where in Texas Tap was born.


Tap’s death certificate confirms he was a Male, “Negro” and U.S. Citizen.  His father was listed as Richard Tapscott.  His mother was listed as Katie Everett.  Both parents were listed as born in Texas.  From this information Bob, used the U.S. Census to trace Tap’s father Richard Tapscott who was born about 1868 to 1869 in Texas.  Richard’s parents were James R. Tapscott and Palace Tapscott.  Bob’s search found Richard’s son was named Eddie but was born about March 1897 and was married to someone named Viney.


For occupation, Tap was listed as a “Laborer” employed by “W.P.A” on his death certificate.  If W.P.A. stood for Work Progress Administration, it refers to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Depression Era “New Deal” jobs program (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_Progress_Administration).  This program stimulated the economy by providing millions of job on public works and social service programs between 1935 and 1943 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_Progress_Administration).  Locally the Griffith Park Observatory was a high profile W.P.A. project.


One question the representation of Tap as a W.P.A. Laborer brings up is - did he have eyesight during the depression?  Another glaring question is that at the time of his death in 1971, his wife lists his occupation from an employer which ceased to be 28 years earlier.  Was Tap unemployed for 28 years?  There is a high unemployment rate amongst disabled people.


In Bob’s research, he found that in 1934 Tap was living in Los Angeles at 1036 East 39th Street in Los Angeles with a Mrs. Helen Tapscott.  Whether Helen was Tap’s earlier wife, mother, sister…is unknown at this point.  In the Spring of 2010 we searched LA County marriage records and could not find a marriage between Tap and Helen between the years 1919 to 1971.  Marriage records in LA County, are filed under the groom or bride.  Since we lack Helen’s maiden name, we could not initiate a search under her name.  We could only search under Grooms for Eddie Tapscott.


Bob’s piece of information that Tap lived with Helen in 1934, suggests Tap lived in LA city prior to WWII.  During WWII, many African-Americans came to LA to work in the war production plants.  Apparently, Tap was living in LA ahead of this great migration.


Looking through voter records, Bob found Tap on the 1942 Los Angeles County Voters’ Registration Roll, listing his occupation was a - Porter.  If Tap was working as a Porter, did he have eyesight then?  It is hard to imagine someone doing physically demanding jobs such as Laborer or Porter and not have sight.  It suggests blindness may not have been at birth.  Also, 1942 was during WWII.  Tap was 38 years old; probably too old to go into the military.


Tap was said by the hams we talked to have been married to Beatrice Tapscott.  Bea was born on August 18, 1905 in Texas.  She was one year to the junior of Tap.  When Tap sk’d in 1971, she was 66.  There are differences in the research results of Bob who places her death at on the 4th of July, 1986 and Patti Ruckert (sister of John Ruckert, WB6ATN) who places her death on August 1, 1986.  With deaths, there are differences in the date of death, date of autopsy if any, date the death certificate was signed, date in which is was recorded.  Bea was age 81 when she passed away in Austin, Texas.  She had outlived Tap by 13 years.


We could not find a record of Tap and Bea being married in LA County from 1919 to 1971.  Tap would have been only 15 and Bea only 14 in 1919, too young to marry with parental permission but we searched well below the age of consent to make sure we did not miss anything.  We obviously stopped at 1971 for that is when Tap passed away.


We searched the martial records ledgers for grooms for a span of 52 years.  We found only six Tapscott grooms in this time span.  Of those six, we know the race of 4.  2 of the 4 were black.  The other two were white.  Of the 2 black Tapscott grooms, neither one of them was Tap.  It could be that Tap and Bea were married outside of LA County.  It could also be that they were not legally married.  Bea was listed as the informant on his death certificate.  Her address was the same address we have for Tap, 1238 ½ Santa Barbara Ave. LA, CA.  She was listed as being a government employee, no more specific information listed.


We searched for Tap’s relatives on Facebook.  Out of over 50 inquires sent, we only had two replies. 1/25.  Both these Tapscotts said Tap was not related.  We also searched for Tap’s relatives in the phone books in LA and Huston, Texas.  Many of the phone numbers were invalid.  A few Tapscotts we reached said Tap was not related to them.  We left phone messages for several Tapscotts giving them the URL to his website and asking for their assistance but did not get a reply.

We also made an inquiry of the Main Library of the LA Public Library (LAPL) about two African-American newspapers, The Sentinel and The Eagle, both are no longer published.  There is a database for The Sentinel called Pro Quest. LAPL does not have a subscription.  We made an inquiry to the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research but they had no information on Tap. 




Tap and Ham Radio

 

 

We had the Callbook, the ham radio callsign directory searched for the first listing of W6TDM.  Keep in mind, a first listing is just that, the first time a particular callsign appears in the Callbook, a directory similar to a phone book.  The listings are by callsign, not name.  From this era, only a manual search of the individual books is possible.  It is a mistake to assume a first listing is the first license.  It is possible there was an earlier license.  Unless we have any possible earlier callsigns we can not search for them since the directory is organized by callsign and not name. 

 

We asked Callsign historian Steve Melachrinos, W3HF to find the first listing of W6TDM.  The Winter 1940-1941 Callbook listed W6TDM but the holder of that call was William DeWees of 500 S. Commonwealth Ave. in mid-town Los Angeles, not that far from where Tap lived.  Tap was not the first W6TDM.  William got W6TDM as an original issued sequential callsign in 1940.  William’s last listing as W6TDM was Spring 1947.  The reason William had W6TDM for 7 years, when license terms were 5 years in this period of amateur radio history was that in WWII license expiration were either waived or extended. 

 

In the Winter 1952-1953 Callbook, Tap is listed as WN6TDM, the Novice class license version of W6TDM.  There was about a three month lead time for publication.  Steve, W3HF estimates the range of dates Tap got his Novice to be somewhere between July to October 1952.  The Novice license started on July 1, 1951. Tap is the earliest African-American Novice presently known to the Novice Historical Society, www.novicehistory.org.  Of course the Callbook was more like a phone directory and certainly did not list demographic information. We have no information on race unless it is told to us.  If there was an earlier black Novice than Tap, s/he has not yet been found. 

 

Whether Tap was the earliest African-American Novice misses the larger point.  When Tap became a Novice, there were few African-American hams.  African-Americans are still under-represented in ham radio.  The fact he could become a ham in 1952 and become a beloved member of the ham radio community in Los Angeles is significant given the fact that Jim Crow laws were very much enforced in the pre-civil rights era. 


 

Excerpt from the Spring 1953 Callbook Courtesy of Pete "The Greek" Varounis, Sr., NL7XM


By Summer 1953 Tap is listed as W6TDM, meaning he had upgraded to Technician or General class. 

 

Tap’s address in the 1952 and 1953 Callbooks was listed as 1238 ½ East Santa Barbara Avenue, LA, CA 90011. This suggests sometime between 1943 and 1952 Tap apparently moved from 39th Street to Santa Barbara Avenue.  

 

Marco Vallery, W6PCH , Tap’s clubmate from the Los Angeles Amateur Radio Club (LAARC) recalls meeting Tap sometime in the early-1950s.  Both lived in South Central LA and both were hams.  LAARC was a club whose members are mostly African-American hams.  Marco and Bob Taylor, K6VBI recalled Tap was a fine CW operator.  These are the earliest ham recollections of Tap we have found – so far.   

The old timers from LAARC recall Tap lived on Santa Barbara Blvd. (now called Martin Luther King Blvd.), east of the #110 (Harbor) freeway, east of Central Ave., a half-block west of Jefferson High School; where the street starts.  The Fall 1953 and Summer 1967 Callbook listed Tap as Eddie Tapscott, 1238 ½ East Santa Barbara Avenue, LA, CA 90011.  This address is confirmed by his death certificate and Bob Tapscott’s research. In Spring 2010 we visited 1238 ½ East Martin Luther King Blvd., which is what Santa Barbara Avenue was renamed to. 1238 ½ is a cottage behind 1238 King Blvd. 

Bob, K6VBI recalls that some years after Tap’s passing - Tap’s antennas still up on the old house.  When we visited in May 2010, we spoke to the Latino family who lives there now.  They said they moved in either 1981 or 1982.  They did not recall any antennas when they moved in.  If the new family was correct about the year thy moved in, it means Bea had moved, maybe back to Texas, before they arrived the King. Blvd. house in 1981 or 1982.  Bea passed away on August 1, 1986 in Austin, TX. 

Bob Gragg, K6FY, who was W6RXA when he knew Tap from LAARC, used to talk to Tap on 2M AM.  

Stan Miln, K6RMR talked to Tap frequently on 2 meters AM when Stan was a Novice in 1958.  Stan’s Novice call was KN6RMR.  He lived in West LA at the time and attended Hamilton High School; which also had a strong ham radio program.  Stan talked to Tap on 2 meters AM with his father’s Gonset Communicator.  Stan’s father Leon Miln, K6ATC also was a friend of Tap’s.  Stan started talking to Tap as a third party with his father as control operator.  Leon was licensed as KN6ATC in 1953. 

One of the Novices (new hams just starting out) that Tap befriended was Steve Wilson, now K0JW.  Steve lived in Whittier, CA a suburb of Los Angeles.  Steve was KN6HPZ as Novice.  He used a Gonset Communicator on 2M AM starting in September 1954 to about 1957 or 1958. 

Walt Shubin, K6WAS was another Novice Tap made a lasting impression on.  Walt was licensed as a Novice, KN6LQO around February or March of 1955 and was 15 years old.  He lived in Maywood, CA, a suburb of LA.  Walt was active on 2M AM where he met Tap.  He was about 5 miles from Tap and they talked many times.  He describes Tap as very friendly and garrulous, a larger than life character.”    

 

In 1956 Walt started driving.  He visited Tap.  Walt recalls:

He lived in the back house, and as you walked in the front door you would have seen Tap facing you at his operating station.  It was a desk or table with a shelf above it.  I remember a fair amount of equipment there. I'm thinking his 2M rig was a Gonset Communicator, but that may be because that rig was so popular at the time.  I don't recall what the other equipment was.  There was a wall behind him where another room was located.  Maybe the kitchen.  There was a women there, I guess his wife, but I can't remember her name or what she looked like.  No children were present.  

Walt recalls Tap was an avid antenna experimenter.  This is remarkable since antennas require installation and Tap was blind.  Did Tap put his own antennas up? 

 

There are some notable things about the QSL Tap gave to Walt for their August 8, 1955 QSO:

·        Notice the name “Kay.”  Walt believes Kay was the person who wrote the card since Tap was blind.  This is a plausible explanation.  Then the question is what was Kay’s connection with Tap? 

·        Notice that ham Q-signals like QSO and QSL are written in lower case.  It is common practice to capitalize them.  Since they are in lower case, it suggests a non-ham wrote it.  If Kay wrote them, she might not have been a ham.   

·        He says “CU later.”  Tap was blind, so this was a metaphor. 

·        “W6YLJ” is printed on the QSL.  It is scratched out.  It is very unusual for a ham to have another ham’s callsign on his QSL card. 

o       A Callbook search indicates W6YLJ at the time was Charles R. Imsande  6106 Acacia St. LA, CA 90043   We found and interviewed Chuck, W6YLJ who now lives in Arizona.  He did not know Tap.  He did not know there was another ham in LA who had his callsign on their QSL card.  Chuck added that his call W6YLJ is an original issue - 1945.  There is one or two degrees of separation between Chuck and his XYL Esther, KB6HW, and Tap.  Chuck and Esther were members of SFVARC until the mid-1990s when they moved to Arizona.  SFVARC was the club which adopted JB.  SFVARC and JB shared a ham teacher, Ted Ryan, WB6JXY (sk).  Ted was one of Tap’s dearest friends. 

o       Since both Tap and Chuck lived in LA at the same time and were active, it is unlikely Chuck’s call was not crossed out, that this would not have gotten back to Chuck.  Since there was no relationship between Tap and Chuck, and Chuck’s callsign was crossed out, Chuck’s call on Tap’s QSL might have been a printer’s mistake.  If it was why not return it to the printer and have them print the correct information?  If it was a printer’s error, then how come it is of a valid callsign instead of the error being more random than a callsign which is specific?    

A question that comes up is that since Tap was blind, how was he able to keep a log?  The FCC was very strict about logs in that era. 

 


QSL Courtesy of Walt Shubin, K6WAS

Of course Tap did not just have QSOs with Novices. On November 23, 1956, Tap worked Bob Hayos, K6CUK in El Segundo, CA on 2M AM at 10:20pm PST.  Fortunately we found Bob and he provided us with another example of one of Tap’s QSL card. 


QSL Courtesy of Bob Hayos, K6CUK


The QSL to Bob was not postmarked until March 15, 1957, over four months after the QSO was made.  Tap does apologize for the tardiness of the card.  It is signed by Tap with in parenthesis “(By Kay).”  Perhaps Kay helped Tap write QSLs periodically.   

 

W6YLJ is still printed on the card to Bob Hayos, K6CUK, as it was on the earlier card given to Walt Shubin, K6WAS a year previous.  Now that we have two QSLs with W6YLJ crossed out, it suggests having Chuck’s call on Tap’s QSL was some kind of error; perhaps made by the printer.  The cross is an effort to correct the apparent error. 

 

“BC.NU” is also written on the card to Bob.  Alan Raskind, AB6C thinks it means “Be See’in You.” 

 

Another Novice Tap befriended was 13 year old Len Chesler, WV6JFW who lived in East LA.  Len worked Tap on a Gonset I Communicator, 2M AM rig that was connected to a 19” spike antenna indoors on 145.35 simplex. 

Len, now K6LEN, met Tap at Art Gentry, K6MYK dinner get togethers for VHFers.  Since Len as only 13 years old at the time, hams he met on the air gave him a ride to the meetings in the San Fernando Valley. 

Alan Raskind, AB6C, then a __ year old Novice in 1958, WV6AQC met Tap on 2M AM.  Alan was a student at Los Angeles High School (LA High).  Prior to this, Alan lived in the Miracle Mile area of LA near John Burroughs Jr. High School, where Alan went to school.  Note that Ted Ryan would not arrive at JB to teach electric shop and ham radio until 1959.  Tap SK’s in 1971.  A few yeas after Tap’s passing Ted would get Tap’s callsign and equipment for JB ham club and dedicated JB’s ham station to Tap.  Alan coincidentally pre-dated Ted’s tenure at JB and Tap’s gifts to JB.

Alan QSO’d with Tap through his Novice and his General, WA6AQC on 146.25 simplex with his Gonset Communicator II.  Alan went to visit Tap’s QTH. 

Alan corrected our assumptions about Tap’s phonetics.  Ted used these phonetics too.  Up until now, everyone we have run into assumed it was “Tear-Dog-Mike.”  Alan says it is “Tare-Dog-Mike.”  Tare (pronounced Tear) is a military phonetic used the U.S. and British. 

Boyd Crawford, K6RD first met Tap on the air prior to 1960 on 40M phone.  They discovered they both lived in South Central LA.  Boyd formed LAARC and Tap joined. 

Boyd recalls that Tap had his shack in his garage.  Tap had a Harvey-Wells TBS-50 transmitter fed into an Inverted-V (http://www.swedeart.com/harvey/html/tbs-502.html, http://www.n0qds.org/radios/hw_tbs50.html, http://www.qsl.net/la5ki/org/ha/tbs50.htm).  The TBS-50 was a 1947 crystal controlled AM phone and CW 10-80M, with 6M and 2M 50 watt input transmitter.  It originally cost $99.50 (http://www.n0qds.org/radios/hw_tbs50.html).  Boyd does not recall if Tap made the transition to SSB. Tap had a General class license.  On 2M AM, Boyd said Tap had a Gonset Communicator fed into a vertical.   

Ron Tamurello, K6RG started off as a Novice, WV6UTF in 1961.  He lived in the Palms neighborhood on the lower Westside of Los Angeles when he met Tap on 2M AM in 1962.  Tap became his CW elmer.  Both of them had 2M rigs which would transmit only in AM phone.  So Tap audio coupled his code practice oscillator; held the mic button down so he could send CW to Ron.  Ron passed his general and earned WA6UTF in 1962. 

Ron was not aware that Tap was blind until Cliff, AC6C mentioned this when they talked in 2008. 

Boyd recalled Alex “Manny” Hodge, W6CSQ was a close friend of Tap’s.  Unfortunately, Manny sk’d.  Vanityhq.com listed his Extra license in 1991 until 1994. 1991 was the first year old callsigns are listed.  We can not conclude Manny died in 1994 only his license was cancelled in that year.  Manny lived in Compton; within easy simplex range of Tap’s QTH. 

John Ruckert, WB6ATN, formerly WB6ZTN, was a friend of both Tap’s and Ted’s.  John used to drop by JB to visit Ted.  John moved to LA in 1968 and Tap was one of the first hams he QSO’d with.  John was taken by Tap’s voice over the radio – “he sounded like "dear-old Dad, Grandpa or Uncle."” John recalls that Tap might have been a member of the Award Hunter’s Club net.  



SK


John continued his friendship with Tap talking twice daily until 1971 when Tap passed away.  John visited Tap at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital, a Los Angeles County rehabilitation hospital in his last weeks.  John was impressed by Tap’s young and happy attitude even in the face of death.   

Bob Tapscott places Tap’s passing on December 20, 1971; at age 67.   Legacy.com places Eddie Tapscott’s date of death as December 1, 1971 and last residence in Los Angeles, 90011 zip code (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries.asp?Page=OBITFINDERSSIRESULTS).  Tap’s death certificate confirms the date of death as December 20, 1971, 1pm.  The death certificate said Tap died at County USC Hospital of Uremia (kidney/renal failure)  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uremia) which was a consequence of glomerulosclerosis, the hardening of the glomerulus in the kidney (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glomerulosclerosis). 

Tap was buried on December, 24, 1971 (Christmas Eve) at Inglewood Memorial Park.  The cemetery is in Inglewood, California, a historically black suburb of Los Angeles, south of Los Angeles International Airport.  Inglewood is on the in-bound flight path to LAX.  The cemetery is across the street, north of the Inglewood Forum, where the Lakers basketball team plays.  We visited his grave and were pleased that the cemetery looked well kept on April 8, 2010.  We were especially happy to see that Tap’s callsign, W6TDM, was on the grave marker!  This tells us we found the correct Eddie Tapscott. 

Cemetery employees told us Tap’s plot has room for another, as evidenced by the space on the grave marker for another name.  It is noticeable Bea was not buried next to Tap; at least her name is not on the marker, neither was Helen, Viney or anyone else. 

Also note Tap was a father.  We have not yet found any offspring.  We do not know if these children were had with Bea or someone else.  Given that Tap was born in 1904 and Bea was one year his junior, if Bea was in her 20s to 30s when she gave birth, the child(ren) would probably have been born between 1925 to 1945, making them at last 85 to 95 years old in 2010.  


Tap's Grave - looking towards Florence Avenue, April 2010
(c) 2010, Cliff  Cheng


As recently as the 1980s, Bob, K6VBI saw Tap’s antennas still up on Tap’s old house. 

 

Conclusion


Members of the first class Ted taught at JB do not recall references to Tap.  Their class  graduated in June 1972.  Yet the Winter 1972-1973 Callbook, which probably had a deadline in Fall of 1972 or earlier, listed W6TDM to our school.  Cliff’s class arrived at JB in the Fall of 1973.  It seemed that by that time Ted had been granted Trusteeship of Tap’s call, W6TDM as a (memorial) club station call.  We had Tap’s Gonset Communicator at our club.  The rig was a remarkably good condition considering Tap operated from his garage.  By the time Cliff’s class arrived, they did not know it was a new callsign or of the history of what went on before us.  Looking back on this time, we were very fortunate that Ted had built so much for us. 

Some of Ted’s alums thought Ted and Tap might have known each other through the San Fernando Valley Amateur Radio Club, W6SD (SFVARC).  Since Tap was blind and lived in South LA, a considerable distance from SFVARC, it may not have been likely that Tap would have found a ride out to the Valley very often.  Of course, Ted was the kind of ham who would go out of his way to pickup Tap and drive him to the meetings.  The few surviving SFVARC members in the mid-2000s do not recall Tap.  It is also possible Ted and Tap knew each other through 2M AM.  Ted was part of a 2M AM net in the Valley until at least the 1990s.  

Sometime in the early to mid-1980s Ted apparently did not renew the club callsign after he had a heart attack and did not return to JB to teach.  W6TDM was still listed to our school as in the Winter 1980-1981 Callbook.  There was no listing of W6TDM in the 1991 Callbook.  The Tandem Computer employees amateur radio club got W6TDM as their callsign.  “TDM” is an abbreviation for Tandem.  Then in 2006 the name of that club was changed to the Cupertino Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) got the call, after Tandem was sold and went out of existence.  Since we no longer have the callsign, and it was Ted’s wishes to honor Tap, who was a very worthy ham, we have set up this website.   

Please contact us if you have any information about Tap; especially pictures. 

 

73,

 

Cliff Cheng, Ph.D., AC6C

Past President John Burroughs Jr. High School

            Amateur Radio Club, Edward Tapscott

Memorial Amateur Radio Station, W6TDM

C E R T S P O N S O R  AT  G M A I L  dot   C O M

 

 

 

Acknowledgments: Thanks to Bob Tapscott for his research.  We appreciate Patti Ruckert on going encouragement.  We appreciate the support of Tap’s old club, the Los Angeles Amateur Radio Club (LAARC), especially Archie Buchanan, KD6OLH.   We thank Steve Melachrinos, W3HF, Pete "The Greek" Varounis, Sr., NL7XM, Stan Miln, K6RMR for the Callbook research. 

 

Tap's Grave - looking away from Florence Avenue, April 2010
(c) 2010, Cliff  Cheng



© 2010, Cliff Cheng, Ph.D., AC6C     ALL RIGHTS RESERVED