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Friends Remembered Home | Friends Detail

Bob Heytow (K9YA)

November 10, 2000

One of the joys of contesting is recognizing the callsign and the person you exchange information with. Even though it is not in the best interest of maximizing your score, an extra HI, CUL or dit dit can easily get the message across.

On November 5, 2000 in the ARRL Sweepstakes CW test, I had a short contest QSO that I will never forget. My friend, Bob, K9YA was calling CQ. I threw my call back to him. His reply was HI and his exchange. I sent my exchange, 73 and dit dit. Bob sent a final dit dit back to me. Those were our last words.

Five days later, while at work as a Lieutenant in the Evanston, Illinois Police Department, Bob collapsed while laughing with his colleagues and died. Bob was 53-years old, in shape and had no unusual health risks.

We only met a few years ago, but Bob was very warm and charismatic. I felt we were good friends and so did many others. He was a member of Metro Amateur Radio Club, Society of Midwest Contesters, American Radio Relay League and Northern Illinois DX Association. A ham's ham since 1960 when he and his brother earned their novice tickets. Bob was KN9YAX and Dick, KN9WAZ. Bob was also the loving husband of Karen and father of Amy. Whenever Bob would climb his fifty-foot tower, Karen would have the phone in her hand ready to call 911, just in case.

After serving in the Army during the Vietnam War, Bob started his police career with his brother as a beat cop. He couldn't believe that he was getting paid to walk around town, talk to people and stay in shape. Early in their careers, Bob and his twin brother Dick arrested a drunk. When they were locking him in a cell, the prisoner said, "It's true, you cops all look alike." Over the years there were a number of twin tricks that kept the two of them and their friends amused.

Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein presided over Bob's funeral service. Rabbi Klein knew Bob for 15-years and it was Bob's advice that helped him decide to become a chaplain for the Evanston Police Department. He said when he was writing Bob's eulogy he was not worried that he didn't have enough to say. He was worried that he wouldn't say enough.

Some will remember Bob for his 31-years as a police officer. A guy who started as a beat cop and advanced to the rank of Lieutenant. Others will remember Bob as the good husband, father and brother he was. I will remember Bob as my friend and elmer. A forty-year ham veteran who still loved amateur radio as if it was his first day with a new ticket. I will never forget our last words conveyed in the universal language of ham radio. dit dit

Contributed by: Mike (N9BOR)

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