Category Archives: Ham Radio News

Robert “Bob” G. Heil (K9EID) is Silent Key

Robert “Bob” G. Heil, 83, of Belleville, IL, peacefully passed away February 28, 2024 with his loving family at his side at Belleville Memorial Hospital after a very brave battle with cancer.

Bob was born October 5, 1940 in St. Louis and preceded in death by his parents Robert (Bob) George and LaVerna (Bills) Heil. He is survived by his wife Sarah (Benton) Heil of Belleville, IL, his sister Barbara (Bob) Schneidewind of Indian Rocks Beach, FL, his daughters from his marriage to Judy Mortensen Heil, Julie (Mark) Staley of Springfield, IL, and Barbara (David) Hartley of St. Louis, MO, a son by marriage Ash (Michelle) Levitt, of Belleville, IL, and seven grandchildren, Jonathan, Cate, Lizzie, Charlie, Alex, Luke, and Julian.

Bob grew up in Marissa, IL. He attended the University of Illinois in Champaign, IL, and was a member of the Marching Illini and Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. He eventually transferred to St. Louis to study music. A student of the famous Stan Kann, Bob became a proficient theater organ musician at a young age, beginning to perform at various local restaurants at the age of 14. At the age of 15, he became a professional performer on the Wurlitzer theater organ at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis. During that time, he learned to tune and voice the thousands of pipes in that great Wurlitzer organ. It was the platform that taught Bob how to listen – mentally dissecting discrete tones which became so important throughout his several careers. In his early twenties Bob began designing and building various theater pipe organ installations. In the evenings Bob played organ at the Holiday Inn restaurant in St. Louis six nights a week. Heil then opened Ye Olde Music Shop, a successful professional music shop in Marissa, Illinois, which ultimately became Heil Sound.

Bob became well-known for designing the concept of modern rock and roll systems we see today. Bob designed touring sound systems for rock and roll bands such as the Grateful Dead, the Who, and many others. Bob’s career was jumpstarted when the Grateful Dead arrived in St. Louis to play the Fabulous Fox in February 1970 without a sound system. Bob provided his own sound system for the show which was such a success that the band asked Bob and his sound system to join them on the road. That led to Bob designing sound and touring with the Who on their Who’s Next tour in 1971.

Bob invented the Heil Talk Box, which was frequently used by musicians such as Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh and Richie Sambora, and is still in use today by musicians of nearly every genre. The Heil Talk Box was the first high-powered talk box on the market, which could reliably be used on high-level rock stages. The first Heil Talk Box was built for Peter Frampton’s girlfriend to give to Peter as a Christmas present in 1974. It can be heard prominently on his 1975 album, Frampton and 1976’s Comes Alive – one of the best selling live albums of all time. His work made such an impact in the rock and roll industry that Heil Sound was invited to become the only manufacturer featured in a display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2006. Some of Bob’s historically important gear, including the first modular mixing console (the Mavis), his custom quadraphonic mixer (originally used on the Quadrophenia tour), and the very first Heil Talk Box were included in the display. Bob’s work was also featured in the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis, MO.

An avid engineer, Bob proudly became an amateur radio operator at the age of 13 with the call sign K9EID. He spent much of his teen years designing and building homemade transmitters, amplifiers, and antenna systems, including his elaborate “moon bounce” antenna he used with NASA to transmit a signal to the moon and back. In the early 1980s, Bob left the pro sound industry to focus exclusively on the amateur radio market, first under the Melco brand, later returning to the Heil Sound brand, and currently under the Heil Ham Radio brand. Bob became a global innovator in the field of amateur radio, manufacturing headsets, microphones, equalizers, and accessories. Bob was very active in amateur radio giving countless presentations at hamfests and ham radio clubs, and a proud supporter of the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) and multiple youth programs for amateur radio.

Bob was a fixture in St. Louis through his “High Tech Heil” educational segments on KMOX radio plus KSDK and KTVI television. He frequently lectured at major electronic and satellite conventions, including CES and NAB shows in Las Vegas, Trebas Institute in Toronto and Blackbird Academy in Nashville. Bob recorded four albums as a musician such as Meet Me in St. Louis and Heil Plays Hammond, and also published five books on music and sound technology including Professional Drawbar Tips for the Hammond Organ, Practical Guide for Concert Sound, The 10 meter FM handbook, Heil Ham Radio Handbook, Practical Guide for Concert Sound – Volume 2, and part of the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Oral History Library.

In the late 1980s, Heil Sound entered the home theater movement becoming popular in the United States. His company became one of the first to design Custom Home theater systems with over 3,000 systems installed by 2010. Heil installed the very first DSS System, which he placed at the St. Louis office of Bob Costas. He was also on the original test team for the RCA DirecTV dish system and became one of the largest RCA dealers in the world.

In the early 2000s, following a request from Bob’s longtime friend Joe Walsh to develop a new vocal microphone, Bob re-entered the pro sound industry and introduced a new line of professional microphones and accessories, which Heil Sound continues to manufacture today. Countless Grammy-winning artists, creators, broadcasters, podcasters, sound engineers, and sound professionals continue to be influenced by Bob’s work and products.

Bob won a number of awards and honors. He was the “International Amateur Radio Operator of the Year” in 1982, an award which had been held by Barry Goldwater the year before. He was later awarded the 1989 “USA Satellite Dealer of the Year” by the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association in Las Vegas. In 1995, he received the very first “Live Sound Pioneer Award” at the Audio Engineering Society Convention in San Francisco. In 2007, Bob received the Audio Innovator Parnelli Award. In 2014, Bob was awarded an Honorary Doctoral Degree in Music and Technology from the University of Missouri.

In his retired years, Bob remained active in the amateur radio community by giving presentations to ham radio clubs all across the world. Bob also continued to play the Wurlitzer Organ at the Fabulous Fox Theatre and enjoyed spending time with Gracie, his malshi.

Bob was a member of Belleville Union United Methodist Church, a 50-year member of Marissa Lodge #881 AF and AM, and a 50-year member of Ainad Shrine.

His final act was one of service to others, donating his body to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Shriners Children’s St. Louis or the ARRL’s (American Radio Relay League) Education & Technology Fund, benefiting the ARRL’s education initiatives in schools.

A private family service will be held in his memory.

Amateur Radio License Testing – Sunday, February 11, 2024

Reminder:  License Test

When:
Sunday, February 11, 2024
2:00 pm Eastern Time

Where:
Lyn-Dan Heights Volunteer Fire Department, 578 Lawyers Rd Lynchburg, VA 24501 

Organizer: Judy Friel (AC4RG) beewood@juno.com

Description:
Testing starts at 2:00 PM. 

Please view the testing requirements as stated at:

http://www.arrl.org/what-to-bring-to-an-exam-session

You must have an FRN (FCC Registration Number).

Free Extra Class Course on Zoom starting January 18, 2024

Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2023 10:06:30 

Subject: [PVRC] Please publicize Free Extra Class Course on Zoom starting January 18, 2024

Please publicize our upcoming Extra course with any person or organization you think might be interested.  

A FREE, weekly, live, Amateur Radio Extra Class Licensing course on Zoom will begin on Thursday, January 18, 2024, and will run through Thursday, March 28.  There will be 11 sessions.  The three-hour sessions will start at 6:30 PM Eastern Time.  Sessions will be recorded.  Those attending should hold (or be studying for) the General Class Amateur Radio License.  These are the classes that we have been holding for years sponsored by the National Electronics Museum.  Please publicize this with anyone that you think would be interested.  Those wishing to sign up should email roland.anders@comcast.net

Thanks.

73,

Rol Anders, K3RA

———————————————————

Above email from PVRC Reflector. 

2023 Fessenden Event on 486kHz

For ARRL & SWL news:  

As in years past, Brian, WA1ZMS of Forest, VA will have FCC Part 5 station WI2XLQ QRV starting appox. 21:00 UTC on Dec 24th for the now annual Fessenden Event.  Transmissions will last for at least 24hrs.  A repeat will take place again on Dec 31st also starting appox. 21:00 UTC and run for 24hrs.  All transmissions will consist only of the two Christmas songs claimed to have been played by Fessenden himself on his violin, as well as a brief Bible verse.  WI2XLQ’s voice ID and transmission description is via computer generated voice.

While the story of Fessenden’s alleged first voice transmissions using an Alexanderson alternator on Dec 24th and Dec 31st has never been proven to have taken place the way the now-legendary story claims; early in Dec of that year Fessenden did demonstrate AM voice transmissions over just a few miles for the US Navy.  So some credit is due to his early pioneering work of human speech via RF rather than the typical spark generated CW of the time.

WI2XQL uses a slightly more modern home-brew 1920’s era Amateur-grade MOPA transmitter (based on a UV201 oscillator and UV202 final) and a high power linear FET amplifier.  The MOPA also uses true AM Heising modulation as was first done in WW1 for the US military. 

So set-up your long-wire antennas and with a simple modern SDR or a vintage MF RX, give a listen for WI2QXL.  SWL reports can be sent to WA1ZMS@ARRL.NETand e-mail confirmation of reports will follow.  Audio samples of what you heard are also welcomed.

73,
-Brian, WA1ZMS

Club Log DXCC Most Wanted September 2023

1. P5 DPRK (NORTH KOREA)
2. BS7H SCARBOROUGH REEF
3. CE0X SAN FELIX ISLANDS
4. BV9P PRATAS ISLAND
5. KH7K KURE ISLAND
6. KH3 JOHNSTON ISLAND
7. FT/G GLORIOSO ISLAND
8. 3Y/P PETER 1 ISLAND
9. FT5/X KERGUELEN ISLAND
10. YV0 AVES ISLAND
11. 3Y/B BOUVET ISLAND
12. ZS8 PRINCE EDWARD & MARION ISLANDS
13. KH4 MIDWAY ISLAND
14. VK0M MACQUARIE ISLAND
15. PY0S SAINT PETER AND PAUL ROCKS
16. PY0T TRINDADE & MARTIM VAZ ISLANDS
17. KP5 DESECHEO ISLAND
18. VP8S SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS
19. KH5 PALMYRA & JARVIS ISLANDS
20. ZL9 NEW ZEALAND SUBANTARCTIC ISLANDS
21. FK/C CHESTERFIELD ISLANDS
22. VK0H HEARD ISLAND
23. EZ TURKMENISTAN
24. FT/T TROMELIN ISLAND
25. YK SYRIA  
26. ZL8 KERMADEC ISLAND
27. KH8/S SWAINS ISLAND
28. VP8G SOUTH GEORGIA ISLAND  
29. XF4 REVILLAGIGEDO
30. FT5/W CROZET ISLAND

Full Article Here: https://clublog.org/mostwanted.php

Free, Zoom Technician Licensing Course starting September 7, 2023

A free, weekly, live, Amateur Radio Technician Class Licensing course on Zoom will begin on Thursday, Sept  7, and will run through Thursday, October  19  (7 sessions).    The three-hour sessions will start at 6:30 PM Eastern Time.  These are the classes that we have been holding for years sponsored by the National Electronics Museum.  Please publicize this with anyone you know that you think would be interested.  Those wishing to sign up should email me at roland.anders@comcast.net.

Thanks,

73,

Rol Anders, K3RA

Ham Radio Enthusiasts Battle High-Frequency Traders for the Airwaves

Ham radio operators are sounding the alarm over the latest threat to their beloved hobby—and this time, it is coming from Wall Street.

A group of high-frequency trading firms are asking the Federal Communications Commission to open shortwave frequencies to greater commercial use, so they can use radio to zip financial data around the world in milliseconds.

Prominent members of the amateur-radio community say interference from traders’ broadcasts could ruin their hobby, which often involves tuning in to weak radio signals so they can chat with fellow hams in faraway places. Hundreds of hams have filed letters with the FCC opposing the traders’ proposal, and some have railed against the plan in YouTube videos.

‘Click the link below for the entire article in the Wall Street Journal:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/ham-radio-enthusiasts-battle-high-frequency-traders-for-the-airwaves/ar-AA1ePt95

ARRL Files Comments Against “Seriously Flawed” HF Rules Petition

ARRL  The National Association for Amateur Radio®, as part of its mission to protect Amateur Radio, has filed comments against a proposal that would introduce high-power digital communications to the shortwave spectrum that in many instances is immediately adjacent to the Amateur HF bands.

Click here or on the link below to see the entire article on the ARRL Website.

Click on the above to see the entire article on the ARRL Website.

ARRL Raises Rates

On July 23, 2023 the ARRL announced that they are raising the annual cost of membership to $59 per year and changing the way the various magazines they produce are funded and delivered. This writer (David Simms, N4IW) feels like this is still a bargain for the many benefits and services we receive from our membership. To view the full announcement from ARRL President, Rick Roderick (K5UR), click the link below:

http://www.arrl.org/member-bulletin?issue=2023-07-23