Testimonial of Bill, NR4C/sk

We have a lot of newer members in the Williamsburg Area Amateur Radio Club, and with the COVID restrictions and practices, many may not have had the opportunity to get to know Bill Conkling, NR4C who became a silent key late last month. Bill was a long-time member of WAARC and a friend to all of us. Below we share a testimonial of Bill.

Bill, NR4C, logging at Field Day

Bill Conkling, NR4C/sk got his initial start in electronics in the 1960’s when he got deeply involved in building and operating radio-controlled airplanes. After obtaining an FCC Class C license he enjoyed building several 27 MHz six- and ten-channel transmitters and receivers for his fleet of planes.

In 2002 a friend who had just received his Amateur Radio Technician class license sparked Bill’s interest in ham radio. Bill received his Technician class license in April 2002, with the KG4TFF call sign. He quickly upgraded to General and Extra class licenses becoming AG4YQ and then NR4C. Upon first becoming a licensed Amateur Radio operator, Bill joined both the Williamsburg Area Amateur Radio Club (WAARC) and the Middle Peninsula Amateur Radio Club (MPARC). Over the years Bill held several elected offices in both clubs, serving as Vice President of WAARC in 2003, President in 2010 and later Director at Large. Dividing his time between WAARC and MPARC, he was elected Vice President of MPARC in 2012 and served as President for two different terms. His affiliation with the Potomac Valley Radio Club (PVRC) Colonial Chapter began in April 2007, leading the chapter for several years.

Bill became a Volunteer Examiner in both the ARRL and W5YI Volunteer Examiner systems, heading up the W5YI program at MPARC for several years as well as assisting the Hampton Public Service Group and the WAARC testing programs.

Bill became a key player in WAARC’s participation in the annual Field Day event in 2004 and in WAARC’s annual three Historic Triangle Special Events stations beginning in 2005. He was a major part of those three annual Special Events. For many years he coordinated with the National Park Service for the Jamestown Island and Yorktown Battlefield events and with Colonial Williamsburg for the July 4th event and served as the primary WAARC point of contact with both agencies and ensured announcements were published in the QST magazine and a smooth operation occurred on event day. He was a mainstay for those events, always present, lending his own equipment from battery cables to logging computers, antennas, and most generously his state-of-the-art transceiver many times.

His contributions as an Elmer include coordinating Morse Code classes, introducing the club to an antenna support launching “spud gun” with several members copying his design, suppling 3-D printed parts for their launchers, encouraging members in their home brewing efforts, supporting the club’s Builders Group, and providing impromptu lessons in cable connectors and many other topics.

He was a frequent participant in Amateur Radio support of local community events, along with providing updates on club events and serving as the club’s official “breakfastmeister” coordinating weekly Saturday morning breakfasts and Wednesday lunches with local restaurants. For his longtime support of the Williamsburg Area Amateur Radio club, our local amateur radio community, and ham radio in general, Bill was the second recipient of the club’s Jim Bailey KB4ZIN award in 2019.

A memorial service will be held at 2pm, Thursday, April 8, 2021 outdoors in the churchyard at Bruton Parish Church.