“Hey I’m Joe, KF9LQ, and this is my wife Barb, KB9NOG”
A Remembrance by Matthew Payne, KB9UJE
MARC Northwest Outpost, Wisconsin
It was 1997. In New York, the twin towers stood tall. In Franklin, things were mostly the same as they are today. But for me, it was a lifetime ago.
I was in Dave Wendt’s amateur radio class, hoping to fulfill a long time ambition: Getting my technician class license and joining the amateur radio community. I had tried before, but this time I was committed to succeed. And succeed I would. But the man I met at the amateur radio class was already a ham. And so of course was his wife, Barb. But that wasn’t why he was there. Joe was at the meeting to help make new hams feel welcome. And so he did.
Fast forward a few weeks. Just last Saturday saw me score an almost perfect grade on my novice written and technician tests, and thus I awaited with anticipation my new call sign. It took until Thursday, but at last the call sign arrived. I took my battered and well-used Alinco DJ-560 down to the K-Mart in Greenwood, and prepared for my first contact. Nervous, I wrote my call sign on my hand with a pen, along with Joe’s call sign. After a few deep breaths I made my first contact on the WA9RDF repeater that Thursday morning. Joe said he would be standing by, and I could be his first contact. And so he was.
Then I was introduced to the supper club, a break-off of the Mid-State group that travelled around to the various local restaurants every week. It was there that I met folks like Al Soltin, KA9ZET, Meredith (you’d better call him JR if you know what’s good for you) Osborne, KB9HSE, Dan O’Connell, K9VQI, Dennis Boyle, KB9RRN, Tom Achors, KB9RBB, Vernon Gill, N9QBO, and many others. Joe said (reluctantly) he would run the supper club so that hams from around the area would have a place to get to know each other. And so he did.
Although he would humorously deflect any attempt to nominate him for office, Joe Rogers was integral to the club when I became a member, and was a part of amateur radio life for most of us in the central Indiana region. He said he never wanted to be a leader. But he was.
Confined to a scooter by an earlier bout of polio, Joe was more mobile than all of us. His familiar van was seen everywhere about town, and if he knew you were a ham, you could expect the horn of his scooter to tap out a Morse greeting. Those of us who knew the code could sometimes expect a few humorous gems from the speaker of his scooter. Some fit for on-air, some not. But all one hundred percent KF9LQ.
News of Joe’s passing reached me in Northwest Wisconsin, and I was struck with how many have left us forever. Joe was an integral part of all of our lives, and he will be forever missed. Joe was a friend, a fellow ham, and a leader (albeit reluctantly) of our club. From his scooter, he stood taller than us all. Rest in peace, KF9LQ.