This is the most difficult article I’ve ever had to write, not only because I lost a very good friend, but also because it’s so hard for me to put into words and express the impact this person had on my life and others.

I met Rob about 25 years ago. Rob lived in Philly working long hours programming minicomputers. He developed various medical issues and had to retire early, relocating to the Poconos here in Pennsylvania. He tended to be a night owl, sleeping all day and relentlessly pursuing amateur radio projects at night. We served at our struggling local ham radio club for several years, me as president, him as vice president. He joked his callsign should be VP4LIFE. Rob was a ever-present friendly voice on the local 2 meter repeater, welcoming beginners and having conversations with other night owls well into the morning. We spent many a night at Field Day, operating the CW station and we both substantially improved our CW skills over the years.

Rob and I tended to be mentors to each other. We frequently had multi-week email conversations going about projects. Rob would get interested in a topic and he’d call or email me. Rob always seemed to know the right questions to ask. I would research the topic and inevitably get interested in it. We went down many technical rabbit holes over the years, some going nowhere, others resulting in some sort of rig, circuit, or antenna. I would often wake up in the morning to one or several 10,000+ word emails with pictures showing what Rob was experimenting with. Rob never bought a few components for a project, he’d buy 1,000 of each, and stockpile the unused parts in case he wanted to build more of something or give the parts away to others. Our last major conversation was about making vacuum tubes from scratch, with him collecting the necessary tooling and materials to do this. We complemented each other well, with Rob having the energy, curiosity, and ability to create the spark, and me with the technical know-how to figure things out and fan the spark to become a fire. I can honestly say I am a better radio amateur and person today because of Rob.

I’m still in shock over the loss of Rob. I often see some neat project and think that I should email Rob, but realize he’s no longer around. I open in my email in morning expecting to read a long diatribe about some late night experiments, but there is nothing there.

Robert Roomberg, KB3BYT, 63 years old, Silent Key. Dit dit.

This article was originally posted in Radio Artisan.

Anthony, K3NG, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com.

6 Responses to “KB3BYT, SK”

  • Jeff KE9V:

    So sorry for your loss. Life seems to give us a lot, then suddenly one day it takes a lot back. Hardly seems fair, especially as young as your friend was. Condolences on your loss. It sounds like you have a lot of memories to recall as you remember your friend.

    73 Jeff KE9V

  • Howard AC4FS:

    I’m very sorry for your loss. I lost a long time ham radio friend back at the end of August, so I know what you are going through. I hope that the pain of his loss is slowly replaced by all of the warm memories of the times you shared with him.

    73, Howard

  • Mike VK2OZ:

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss of a dear friend very hard to find friends like that let alone any decent friends i know but as long as you have fond memories of him he is still with you spiritual and thats what counts i am sorry for your loss.

  • KO4KWI:

    They bible say that God created us in his image and likeness.
    If so, death has no logic; What logic would it be to create a perfect machine, and later destroy it? We don’t recognize it yet, but life continues after death.
    the warm memories of the times you shared with him, is the best prove.

  • Uwe DG1RUG:

    I am Sorry about the Loss.
    My condolences to family and friends.
    In memory of one of my first CW QSOs ever.
    R.I.P. Robert

  • Dan KC3NUL:

    Deepest condolences. Although I never met Rob, I can identify with the night owl and long email thread aspects of his personality. RIP.

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