For my readers that do not know, I am an FCC-licensed Amateur Radio operator. Amateur radio operators in the United States have three classes of operating privilege: Technician, General, and Extra. The Technician class is the entry level, the General class is the mid-level, and Extra is the top tier of band privileges. I recently passed the upgrade exam to become an Extra, and with the upgrade, comes being eligible for a special radio callsign.
Vanity callsigns are a scarce commodity and often several amateurs compete for a single callsign. I found the callsign that I wanted and placed it as first on a list of 10 that I wanted. Two weeks later, I discovered that I won the lottery system and had been assigned the radio callsign of my preference. Usually when one of these coveted callsigns becomes available it is because the previous registrant has passed away. In radio parlance, this is called a silent key.
Out of respect for the person that held my callsign, I wanted to learn more about him. The person that had my callsign prior to me, by all accounts, was a good and decent human being. He was highly intelligent, educated, and passionate about mentoring new members to the amateur radio hobby. Sadly, he died a young man at only 67 years old and it happened suddenly and unexpectedly.
One day I hope to be worthy of his callsign. I have only been in the hobby since turning 34 and I am 42 now. I hope one day I will be worthy of this gentleman’s callsign. He has shoes that I probably will be unable to completely fill but I hope to be the kind and encouraging person that he was. Mr. Simard, you were a radio giant among giants.