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Spring and change

This past spring season has been marked with a number of changes, not all fun ones to acknowledge. For one, I was stunned to learn that Bill Rowe, AB9SV, became a SK. The news was even more shocking for many of us because we had just seen him. There is a funny thing that happens to us in this hobby…we work hard together, we play hard together and we kind of meet people where they are in life. So it was with Bill. He was an incredible volunteer for a number of ham radio groups, but I worked most closely with him on the Chicago Marathon ham radio support team. For this he was a tireless volunteer. He pulled together his own team of people, organized them and then ran the aid station. More of us knew Bill for his work with Skywarn. He had a number of key roles, including being a net control operator for the liaison net. Bill had one of those disarming smiles that showed that he clearly understood what was happening, but he would never express it publicly. His eyes and smile said everything! I loved that most about Bill. He had a quiet way of just getting things done. So, to be honest, I never asked what he did before he was in ham radio. It wasn’t until I spoke to his son, Bill Jr. that I learned of his incredible career in electronics. Makes perfect sense…but I just never asked him what he did. Turns out he was a pioneer in the emerging television industry and holds several patents for his work at companies like Zenith, Philips and LG Electronics. So, shame on me for not asking more about Bill’s early life. I often get so focused on mission…achieving a goal, that I don’t always stop and just listen. So, I have a new New Year’s resolution! I will miss Bill and will keep the memory of his warm smile alive.

Meanwhile, long time NSRC Board member, Scott Irwin, W8UFO, announced that he will be leaving town for job opportunity in Florida. Scott has been a very significant, behind-the-scenes player for us here. If you have been to our web site, worked D-Star, been to one of his classes, took an Exam from him, worked with him at one of our numerous public service events, then you know the impact he has had on our ham community. I have asked him several times how he came to get this unusual call…it is a story worth asking him sometime. We will miss you, Scott – and yes, I realize that you won’t be that far away, given technology, we will miss having access to your knowledge and your can-do spirit. Thank you for all that you have done for us and ham radio here.

Spring also seems to get people out of the doldrums of winter and start thinking of warmer times. Well, your NSRC Board has been doing just that. We are on the verge of revealing several new ideas…for one, we are thinking we will have a NSRC picnic, time and place to be determined. It might replace or be part of the Fox Hunt, or a separate event all to itself. Like many of these ideas, we’d love to hear from you about what you want from your club. The winter banquet, for instance: it seems that many people like the format and the location of the current banquet, but would prefer a different time of year. Well, we have been playing with several scenarios, including moving the event to a different venue (Chevy Chase is going to be doing major renovations next year, so we have to find a new venue anyway.) Stay tuned, as they say.

The biggest sign of end of winter for me is the annual trip to Dayton. As many of you know, I leave on Wednesday to go to the QRP seminar known as “Four Days in May.” About 200 people go to the seminars that run a wide range of topics. Some can be quite entertaining and historical; others can be very challenging technically. Either way, it is what Dayton has come to mean for me…a way to meet up with others with similar interests. I know there is a good bunch of NRSC folks who will be going to the Contest University classes this year, also on Thursday at a different hotel. The point is you can come to Dayton and not spend your entire allowance, meet up with good old friends, or make new ones. You might even learn a few things along the way at the many seminars they hold. You can count on rain and a few surprises…some not so pleasing to the senses! Remember when the sewer lines backed up at the Hara Center! That made for a very memorable day in the steamy hot, outdoor flea market!! This year, there is a movement to get a NSRC group photo at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning at the main entrance, where the ticket windows are, on the southwest side of the building. If you are in town, stop by and be part of the group photo.

That’s it for this month. Thanks for keeping the RF hopping with good conversation, good cheer and great times. See you all at Dayton.

73 Rob K9RST