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Roland Lupient (KB9RR / KA9FKF)
Roland V. Lupient was KA9FKF when I first met him during the spring of 1980 (he later changed his call to KB9RR). Roland lived out-in-the-country near a lake - a bit south of Wausau, in central Wisconsin. /// At that time I had only been out of college about a year-and-a-half and I was still working on my first job (out of college) as a Microwave Field Engineer for the Collins Radio group which was (then) a part of Rockwell-International. In that job I was constantly traveling around-the-country working on new (and upgraded) digital microwave radios (and associated equipment) that my company built and which had been purchased by telephone companies. Two of the major telephone companies in Wisconsin were good customers of ours and so I spent quite a bit of time there over a period of about three years during the early 1980s. This was before the days of cellphones and I routinely carried a 2M HT (plus a mag-mount 1/4 wave vertical) that I used in rental cars on various jobs. In that way I met a lot of hams around the country and Roland was one of them (he heard me on a Wausau area repeater). /// I believe that it was one evening when my partner and I were working on some microwave equipment that we were installing for GTE Wisconsin at a repeater site on 'Rib Mountain' - just west of Wausau.
(We were working at night to minimize the risk of circuit interruptions.) It was not very late but still a bit after Sunset when someone pounded-on-the-door of the microwave site. My partner and I looked at each other and then I went to see who it was (we had no security concerns back then). Standing at the door were 3 or 4 guys and I quickly learned that the guy-in-front was Roland, whom I'd only met on the local repeater a day-or-two before. He and some ham buddies decided that they wanted to see what I was doing (there wasn't much knowledge among the public about how the telephone network functioned) and they knew that I was doing work on Rib Mtn and so they drove up-the-mountain until they saw some cars parked at a building with a tower and microwave dishes ... they found us. I gave Roland and his friends a quick tour of what we were doing. (On another evening there was another knock-on-the-door but that time it was a couple of Wisconsin State Troopers wanting to know who was at the telephone company's facility at night. I also gave them a 'tour' and it must have satisfied them as they said "Thanks" and left - leaving us to our solitary work.) /// During a period of several months I was in-and-around the Wausau area on-and-off as I worked on more than one job in Wisconsin and during that period I went to hamfests on weekends with Roland and his friends. As spring turned into summer my work in Wisconsin (for that season) came to an end and I was off to some other part of the country. The next winter (1981) my company sent me back to Wisconsin (they kept sending me up north in the winter - why was that ?) and for a few months I was again part of the hamfesting group with Roland and company. /// A few years later I saw an entry in the 'Silent Keys' column in 'QST' and learned that Roland had passed away (by then I wasn't a Field Engineer and so no longer roaming-around-the-country.) Last year, when I found Roland's entry on the Find-A-Grave Web Site, I did some research and learned that he had died of a heart attack in 1984 at the age of 59. For more information on Roland see my entry for him on the 'Find-A-Grave' Web Site (Memorial # 76933547). /// Paul, WB5AGF (17 May 2015)
Contributed by: Paul N. Nix (WB5AGF)
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