John Champa, K8OCL (SK)
John Champa, K8OCL, of Richardson, Texas, passed away from complications of cancer on Friday, November 12. He was 66. An ARRL Life Member, Champa was the former Chairman of the ARRL HSMM (High Speed Multimedia) Working Group and Executive Vice President of AMSAT-NA. He was also the High Speed Multi-Media Radio Contributing Editor for CQ VHF Magazine. Champa did early work in Amateur Television (ATV) and later Amateur Digital Video (ADV). His recent focus was on PropNET, Automatic Packet Reporting (APRS) and GPS navigation systems, HSMM radio and HF digital modes.
Champa was a frequent contributor to QEX. In the November/December 2004 issue, he co-wrote “HSMM Radio Equipment” with John Stephensen, KD6OZH. In this article, they described HSMM radio as “a form of Amateur Packet Radio that starts at speeds of 56 kbps and goes up from there to 5000 times faster than conventional packet radio. This compatibility enables multimedia, or simultaneous digital video, digital voice, data and text. Initial HSMM Amateur Radio research has been based on readily available inexpensive commercial gear designed for WiFi, or wireless local area networking (WLAN). HSMM is not a specific mode -- it is, instead, a direction or a driving force within Amateur Radio to develop high speed networking capability under Part 97 regulations.” In February 1983, shortly after being elected AMSAT-NA Vice President, Champa penned “Solar Sails in the Sunset” for QST that discussed a new way to keep Amateur Radio satellites in orbit.
Champa was an advanced wireless systems architect, integrator, engineer, consultant, writer and a project manager with extensive hands-on experience in designing, deploying, operating, training and pre-sales engineering support of a wide variety of wireless systems, software and networks. Most recently, he was working as a Senior Systems Engineer for Rockwell Collins Communications Management & Integration, Government Systems. In addition to being a certified telecommunications engineer (Master Level -- Wireless) by the International Association of Radio and Telecommunications Engineers since 1986, Champa was an active member of the IEEE-Dallas Antenna and Propagation Society and active in the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association. He served in the US Army, achieving the rank of Captain, from 1967-71.
Champa was a member of a variety of technical organizations: National Association Radio and Telecommunication Engineers; Desktop Users Group; PictureTel Users Group; American Radio Relay League; Richardson Wireless Radio Klub and the Rockwell-Collins Wireless Radio Club. An avid hunter and outdoorsman, he was also a supporting member of numerous hunting and conservancy organizations: National Rifle Association; National Arbor Day Foundation; Nature Conservancy, Michigan Chapter (Great Lakes Society); National Geographic Society; Michigan Bear Hunters Association; Upper Peninsula Bear Houndsman Association; United Conservations Clubs, and Safari Club International. He was also a post commander and trustee for his local VFW chapter.
Champa is survived by his wife Karen and four children and seven grandchildren. Two of his children are hams: Becca McLaughlin, KE5LVN, of San Antonio, Texas and Patrick Champa, KC8LQA, of Fort Drum, New York. Patrick hopes to get his father’s call as a vanity call. Funeral arrangements are pending. -- Thanks to Walt DuBose, K5YFW, and Doug Kilgore, KD5OUG, for the information