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Transitions

Marilyn Gardner, W9LUO, SK

None of us are good with transitions. Hams, as a group, seem eager for new things but reluctant to make room for change. Then there are the changes that happen where we have no say in the decision. This past season we have seen several from our NSRC ranks pass on to the ham shack in the sky (geez, I sure hope there are ham shacks!). This month, we lost Marilyn Gardner, W9LUO. Marilyn has been an amazing ham radio supporter. Motivated to become a ham by her father, who I have since learned was a talented electrical engineer and ham radio operator. Marilyn was totally dedicated to helping others get into the hobby. She was one of the key founders of the Evanston Radio Club and held the most consistent VE sessions on the North Shore. She served where it was needed. She was on the NSRC Board for three years as our Membership Director, a responsibility she really energized. Many of you may have known her for her steady hand as a net Control operator for our weekly nets. You could count on Marilyn. And that is the point. We are losing a generation of dedicated people you could count on to help where needed. More on that in a moment. We will miss Marilyn, for sure.

Dave Weingart, AA9PK, SK

Earlier in the year, there was another passing of one of our own, AA9PK, Dave Weingart. Dave served the NSRC Board for many years, in various positions and was also known for his tireless enthusiasm for the hobby. He was an insurance agent by trade, but really he was a natural salesman for anything he believed in: photography, ham radio, and Rotary to name a few. Dave loved to buy new stuff…but he often tired of it early on and would pass it on in trade or make a deal for something else. I often benefited from these trades. Dave made the hobby fun and exciting. I loved to stop by his insurance shop and talk about ham radio (and counter his appeals to get me to join the Rotary Tuesday afternoon group!) I am still in shock that he is now gone. Dave represented the friendly smile in ham radio.

Ken Miller, KW9I, SK

Before the New Year got much of a start, the news of Ken’s passing came down the pipeline. Ken was an amazing person. He and his wife Anne, AA9GD, were known best for their world travel adventures, Christian ideals and their tireless service to the Club. They had sailed the world…and had many, many sea faring stories to regale you with. Ken was also absolutely reliable. Ken was at every single Field Day event I have managed (now going on my 12th Field Day). He was always ready to hang ropes in trees to support dipoles. He was civil engineer by trade and always had wise advice on how to get things done (always in a positive way). His strategy for the getting antennas up was to use his trusty sling shot device –the popular EZ hang, the type you find at Dayton. Well, these things have one flaw: often the string would be caught up in the reel and get knotted up. Most of my memories of Ken are sitting in the woods pulling large pools of fishing line out of the reel and re-spooling back to the reel of the EZ hang. Then, we got that monster sling shot device…and Ken took to it like a pro. He became our most deadly shot…and our chief antenna hanger. He also helped me with many Boy Scout demos. He would pull out his old tried and true rig and send code to the amazement of the young people gathered. Now that we are preparing for Field Day 2016, I feel Ken’s loss even more. You could count on him.

The May meeting is about public service and emergency preparedness. The theme that I am pulling through this story is that we have lost a generation of hams who understood the power of being reliable, helpful, supportive and passionate about what we do. Fact is, in the public service area, ham radio lost its primo position as the group of choice for many governmental and non-governmental agencies because we forgot that we need to serve first. Our technology was quickly outmatched by more reliable technology. The good news for us, though, is that we are winning back the confidence of these entities. We will discuss this more at the May meeting, but for now, let’s us fondly reflect on these three who so selfishly gave their time, hearts and energy to this great hobby. Who will take their place? Marilyn, Dave and Ken leave large shadows for us all to fill.

73, Rob K9RST