In 1982, my parents put their house up for sale. It was on North Slocum Rd in Ontario, NY. I got married in 1980, so I had been living in Gananda (Walworth). It was a hectic time, as they had been there 37 years, and it was a good size house, with two garages and 65 acres of land. For some reason, there were many things that I still had there that I didn’t take enough time to recover. But that is another story.
The interesting thing was that is was bought by a ham radio operator. I met him once, and we talked briefly about ham radio. He seemed to be a big DXer. He had plans to put up a 100+ foot tower. I gave him my old Hy-Gain 14-AVQ vertical (he said he would like to have it). I recall he worked at Gannett in Rochester, maybe some type of IT work, but I believe he was originally from somewhere else.
I was not too active in ham radio then. My first child was born in 1983, and I had many other things taking up my time as a homeowner. I expected I would run into him again in the local ham radio world, but I never did. Mostly because he was moving again a couple of years later. I heard from my parents that Gannett was transferring him to the D.C. area to work on USA Today. One thing I remember was that when my Dad sold the house to him, he also sold him his Farmall Cub tractor. Which was also going to Virginia.
The other day, he popped into my head. I had forgot his name and callsign. But I kept trying to remember, and I came up with a last name. I wasn’t sure if it was right, but I kept searching the internet. QRZ.com, FCC, real estate web sites. Finally, I found it. Rick Norton, KZ2E. I guess my purpose was to figure what happened to him. Was he still alive? Is he still a ham?
The next thing I found, was that he was President of the Woodridge, VA Amateur Radio Club in the mid-1980s. There was an article on the web about a DXPedition to the Cayman Island around 1985 that he was involved in. It looked like his wife was also a ham. Also, a local ham Jeff (now W2FU) was involved. Likely knew each other from his time in Rochester area. I could not find much else about him, other than sponsoring a plaque for a contest.
The name Richard Norton is not uncommon. There is a Richard Norton (N6AA) who is an ARRL Director (not the same guy). But I knew his middle initial and was able to rule out many people with the same name.
Then in a callbook, I saw he had moved to Missouri and changed his call to WM0F. Probably 1986-88. Some small town between St. Louis and Kansas City. I did not see much else until the mid-90s.
Again, another move, to just outside Detroit. New callsign with his initials, K8RJN last renewed in 1997. It expired in 2007, and was granted to someone else in 2009. Somewhere around then his house was sold.
I am pretty good at researching on the internet. I have found many old friends over the years. It is very possible that he became a silent key. I can’t be sure of his age. If he is alive today, maybe in his 80s. But I could find no obituary for him. He was never listed in the QST Silent Keys section. If he passed in the late 1990s, the internet was still in it’s infancy, and possibly no digital records exist. I suppose he may have lost interest in ham radio, but seems unlikely. So my best guess is that he is a silent key.
I guess my hope was that I would find him alive, and I would contact him on QRZ and compare our ham radio exploits over the years. But I guess it was not to be.