Eldon "Mr. CFAY" has passed away

Stories and info about those no longer involved in the industry

Eldon "Mr. CFAY" has passed away

Postby radiofan » Sun Jul 12, 2015 8:27 pm

I just got word tonight that Eldon Luoma (Mr. CFAY) passed away early this morning in Coburg, ON at age 64.

Several of us here have known and been friends with Eldon since 1966/1967. We all became friends because of our interest in and our love of radio, whether it was DXing, survey collecting or bumper sticker collecting. Eldon was one up on most of us: he had a pirate radio station in the back yard of his home in North Surrey. It was a place we could go and play radio and be heard throughout the Whalley neighbourhood.

Some of us spent our lives working in radio, some kept it as a hobby. Eldon spent most of his years on the technical side, building and selling AM loop antennas. He was always working on a project of some kind and always had excess parts and electronic gear to sell. He had an encyclopedia-like knowledge of radio stations (especially smaller market stations) throughout North America.

I'm sure a few stories will pop up from those who knew him. Today I've lost a good friend that I've known for 48 years.

Eldon hadn't been feeling great the past few months and he was hospitalized late last week. In his weakened condition, nothing could be done to help him.

Sincere condolences to Eldon's sister Gloria, her family and relatives.

RIP Eldon

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Re: Eldon "Mr. CFAY" has passed away

Postby Dan Sys » Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:06 pm

Devastated is about all I can say right now. Eldon was probably one of the most knowledgeable, but eccentric individuals that I have ever met. I lost a great friend today that I have known since the 1960's. Seems kind of surreal at this point.
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Re: Eldon "Mr. CFAY" has passed away

Postby tuned » Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:41 pm

I never met him but I enjoyed reading his posts here. He was always positive and his enthusiasm for radio was much appreciated. Condolences to his family and friends for their loss.
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Re: Eldon "Mr. CFAY" has passed away

Postby Jack Bennest » Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:05 am

tuned wrote:I never met him but I enjoyed reading his posts here. He was always positive and his enthusiasm for radio was much appreciated. Condolences to his family and friends for their loss.

I can repeat what tuned has stated. I am a bit surprised. :towel:

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Re: Eldon "Mr. CFAY" has passed away

Postby Tom Jeffries » Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:07 pm

I am shocked and upset at one the passing of one of my fav's here at RadioWest.

Always cheerful, helpful and kind - I was impressed with Eldon.

I send condolences to his Family and thousands of friends.

He made my days brighter, and I am sure I am not alone in that.

I also send special condolences to Ted W. - our genial host. I am sorry you lost your bud, Ted.

RIP Eldon - and hope you are receiving this 5X5.
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Re: Eldon "Mr. CFAY" has passed away

Postby Mark » Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:53 pm

I’m very sorry to hear about Eldon. He was a genuinely nice guy.
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Re: Eldon "Mr. CFAY" has passed away

Postby CubbyCam » Mon Jul 13, 2015 1:28 pm

Like Tom, I never met Eldon, but always read his posts with interest... My condolences to his family and friends... especially to RadioFan... Another gone too soon.
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Re: Eldon "Mr. CFAY" has passed away

Postby skyvalleyradio » Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:18 pm

I'm saddened & shocked to learn our buddy Eldon has signed off for good. Condolences to Eldon's family & to Ted, Jon & Dan who lost a life-long friend. I first became aware of Eldon's existence as a kid DXing & growing up in Kerrisdale in the 60's. Other neighbourhood DXers & hams I knew at the time had strange tales about ' a quirky guy out somewhere in Surrey with a low-power AM pirate signal' I befriended Eldon here on RW (& previous incarnation PSR) and enjoyed exchanging messages, opinions & comments with him. We exchanged "snailmail" letters a few times, sharing our goodies such as stickers, letters & other memento's from regional broadcasting history. He would phone me up long-distance at the oddest of times just to BS about radio or DXing. He called me a few times while on air at CFSI so I patched him on air with me for a brief chat during my show. Eldon was the consummate listener & DXer always open-minded to whatever came blasting through his speakers or headphones. He was a champion of community/campus radio, "mom-n-pop" or "indie" broadcasters serving small communities or cities. Without a doubt, Eldon's website was a quirky patch-work of pure entertainment displaying his love of radio in all forms, and it was impossible to browse his website without getting stuck in at least one time-waster to digest or view.

I am sorry to learn of his quick demise but also take comfort he didn't spend a long, prolonged suffering as occurs to many. My own 'red flag' went up regarding Eldon's health after his recent experience with 'mild poisoning' as he put it. I wondered at that time if he would experience permanent toxicity, health or disability issues as a result. I'm also sorry he never got to complete his much looked-forward-to move back to Murrayville on Langley Prairie

I regret never getting to meet Eldon in person or doing a "DXpedition" or "bandscan" with him. Life is just so short we need to cram in every experience & interaction with friends while we can. Eldon has hung up his headphones & closed his log-book for the last time. 73's buddy & good DX wherever you are...I'll sure miss ya
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Re: Eldon "Mr. CFAY" has passed away

Postby VE7ROX » Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:28 pm

Yes, maybe Dan said it best, it seems surreal at this point. I got the news from Eldon's sister Gloria on Friday night (July 10) that something was not going well, and then got that dreaded phone call on Sunday night (July 12). Perhaps the best description of Eldon and others here on the RadioWest board, and radio activities, can be found in a previous RadioWest posting - "Pirate Radio Rocks Burnaby": http://www.radiowest.ca/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=6149 and here - "CFAY the Pirate" - "Surrey's CFAY was certainly a cut above most": http://www.radiowest.ca/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=5704
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Re: Eldon "Mr. CFAY" has passed away

Postby kal » Mon Jul 13, 2015 2:28 pm

What a sad development. Like others in this thread I never met "Mr. CFAY" but I appreciated and enjoyed his thoughtful and genial posts here on RW.
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Re: Eldon "Mr. CFAY" has passed away

Postby drmusic » Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:07 pm

My condolences to his loved ones, including those here.
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Re: Eldon "Mr. CFAY" has passed away

Postby jon » Mon Jul 13, 2015 4:14 pm

It is hard to know what to say about Eldon's passing, so I thought I would spend some time talking about his best known accomplishment: CFAY. (I started writing this post before Jim provided links to a couple of previous threads on the subject)

CFAY provided the first exposure to being "on air" on a Radio Station for many of us. At a time when campus stations were first going beyond "Closed Circuit" (speakers a few places around the campus) to Carrier Current (radio reception in one or two Student Residences), CFAY may not have had traditional broadcast equipment, but it definitely had a signal beyond the legal 100mw transmitters used by hobbyists (and real estate agents for talking houses). And some Staying Power. Though certainly not a 24/7 operation by any stretch of the imagination, Eldon kept CFAY on the air for several years, despite a couple of visits by the Department of Transport (DoT). With my communications receiver and a loop antenna, I could hear it reliably at home 10km away as the crow flies, and a friend in Seattle heard CFAY once, some 190 km away, again air distance.

As I understand it, a budding electronics genius at school redesigned a surplus ham transmitter to produce a clear 5 watt signal. The key piece that Eldon told me was from a Ham Radio store in Vancouver was the Crystal that did a pretty good job of keeping the stations from "drifting" off its chosen frequency. I had a look one day and it said "1357.25 KC".

Why would anyone manufacture a transmitter crystal for a frequency in the middle of the AM Broadcast Band? Based on its size and price, it obviously could not be used by a licensed radio station. Legal 100 mw transmitters did not use crystals as they had to be able to broadcast on any number of frequencies. Besides, stations are assigned frequencies in 9 or 10 KHz gaps.

The answer appears to be in the July 1924 decision that North American amateurs could not use frequencies at or below 1500 KHz; the previous limit had been 1350. The crystal was likely manufactured before July 1924, but not much before, because everything was Wavelengths in Metres only a year or two before that.

The problem with 1357.25 KHz was a 5000 watt Tacoma station on 1360 KHz. Despite being non-directional, KMO had a lousy signal in Vancouver, but still made CFAY impossible to hear on a car radio much more than a mile away from Eldon's parents' house. The Seattle reception was after midnight Sunday night when KMO went off the air for transmitter maintenance. Most other stations on 1360 were also off the air. My Seattle friend still has the recording of the reception.

While many of the people who talked on the air on CFAY never made Radio a Career, they certainly had enough interest in Radio to spend some time at CFAY. An opportunity they may not have had otherwise. When they showed up, Eldon deserves the credit for the fact that CFAY was on the air. In my half year of doing one weekly shift on CFAY, only once was the station off the air. For better or for worse, Eldon took his job as both Station Owner and General Manager seriously.
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Re: Eldon "Mr. CFAY" has passed away

Postby Howaboutthat » Mon Jul 13, 2015 6:46 pm

I am truly sorry to read this news. I kidded Eldon a lot on here, but always respected his enthusiasm and love of radio.

I am sorry for his friends Ted, Jon and Glen - and his family and other friends.
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Re: Eldon "Mr. CFAY" has passed away

Postby BossRadio » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:15 pm

I too never had the chance to meet Eldon one on one, but always enjoyed Mr. CFAY's contributions here in the RW forum. Going to miss his always upbeat and positive takes on radio, and on life. Godspeed Sir.
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Re: Eldon "Mr. CFAY" has passed away

Postby Dave L » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:38 pm

Sad news indeed.

I'll miss Eldon's contribution to RW, his friendship and vast knowledge of radio stations across North America.

My deepest condolences to family and friends.
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