Bill Hunter GM3HUN, a former member of the Lothians Radio Society, died peacefully at the age of 90 in a care home on 6th September 2016. Bill had been a Sub-Lieutenant in the RNVR and an officer in the Sea Cadets. He was an avid lifelong CW DXer and a member of the FOC - First Class Operators Club. Bill's funeral at Warriston crematorium on 16th Sept 2016 was attended by Alan GM3PSP for the LRS, and Malcolm MacKinnon GM4AJV. Bill's son, Philip has kindly provided these photographs of Bill in his shack over the years, and his funeral eulogy of which a condensed version is shown below.
Click for Obituary.
Bill was born in Portobello in 1926. He built his first radio, a crystal set, at the age of 11. In WWII he first joined the Air Training Corps but did not like the experience of flying, so he joined the Royal Navy in 1943 at the age of 17, and trained as a 'Tel' (telecommunications specialist). He learned to read and transcribe Japanese morse code and to code and decode radio messages using the British equivalent of an Enigma machine. He was also trained to do radio direction finding using HFDF equipment, known to the crews as 'Huff Duff'. It could be used to locate other ships, but it was also used to track friendly aircraft, to tell them where they were, and the bearing they needed to follow to arrive at their destination. He travelled on the destroyer HMS Caprice to Malta, India and Penang in Indonesia, where he was present at the surrender of the Japanese Imperial Forces.
After the war, Bill returned to Edinburgh and married Jean-Elizabeth in in 1947. In their first house in Haugh Park there was a small cupboard in the kitchen and this became the radio shack, connected to an aerial attached to a lamp post outside the house. They moved to Longstone and later to Murrayfield while he worked for British Railways. He joined the RNVR - Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, based at Pitreavie in Fife, as part of HMS Scotia, taking part in NATO manoeuvres, usually in the North Atlantic. He became a Sub-Lieutenant and very proud of his commission from the Queen. He was also an officer in the Sea Cadets, teaching radio communications and morse code.
Bill's greatest pleasure was being a radio ham. His callsign GM3HUN was unusual in that it contains the first part of his surname. This appears to have been just a coincidence, but he was very happy it turned out like that. He was a member of the RSGB for most of his life, as well as the Lothians Radio Society (Committee member in 1968-69) and participated in Field Days. He was a member of the First Class Operators club (FOC), based in the USA, which limits its membership to the top 500 amateur CW operators in the world.
After retirement he was in his shack most days, and often several times during the day, depending on which part of the world he was talking to. He was a DXer, meaning he specialised in long-distance communication with people all over the world, as far away as New Zealand and Japan. He collected thousands of QSL cards. He had a wide circle of friends internationally (two in Japan) and also locally, and spoke to them daily with less powerful equipment. There were also people who dropped in to his radio shack to talk about transmitters, antennas and signal levels.
"Shack, old style". Bill had a Commodore 64 computer in his shack from 1984.
"Shack, old style"
"Shack view 1990"
Latterly, Bill had three computers in his shack and another one elsewhere in the house.
At Bill's funeral service at Warriston Crematorium on 16th September 2016 the two poems below about ham radio were read out by the minister:
'Ham Radio Across the Sea: CQ-Dx' by Ray Andrews
'The Pride of Being a Ham' by Darryl Stout WX1DER
At the end of the service there was a touching rendition of 'The Old Rugged Cross' from a mechanical disc recording from 1955, sung by members of the Hunter family to the playing of a pipe organ by Aunt Nita.
Ham Radio Across the Sea - CQ-Dx
Poem by Ray Andrews
Clocks a' ticking
I'm calling seeque dee-x
The ham radio call
For anyone afar
Repeat: calling seeque dee-x
When a call comes in
Goosebumps on skin
Where will this call be from?
Listening static a low signal call
Beckoning in code to me
Another friend earned again
He's/she's way across the sea
Asia, Antarctica, Australia too
Hams are relatively few
Talking to each other the world over
Usually somebody new
Radio waves for exotic places
Chases down some local TV
Instead of new friends, angry neighbors
Fingers pointed at me
Now in the phone and computer too
My wife says maybe she's ex
Guess I'll need to back way off
Of sending seeque dee-x
''The Pride of being a Ham''
Written by Daryl Stout, WX1DER
It all began years ago; and who'd have ever thought
The changes that took place since Morse telegraphed ''What hath God Wrought?''.
From home brewed rigs, and keyers, to repeaters across the land...
The heritage; the history; The Pride of being a Ham.
Sending code across the bands, to places far and near.
Anytime day or night, the signal weak or clear.
Across the street, around the world, along the many bands...
The many friends you'd meet who had The Pride of being a Ham.
Disaster strikes, and they are there, providing needed help.
Vital information sent; gladly giving of themselves.
Unselfishly and tireless, doing all they can In service to their fellow man;
The Pride of being a Ham.
They help with parades, bike-a-thons, and other events, you see.
Coordinating safety for the public, doing it all for free.
Demonstrations, classes too, so they can proudly stand;
And show the public what we are, The Pride of being a Ham.
A fascinating hobby, yes; but fun, yet serious, too.
Policing and protecting ourselves with the FCC rules.
Gladly serving without receiving money in our hands;
The Amateur Radio Licensee; The Pride of being a Ham.
Novice, Technician, General, Advanced, and Amateur Extra too.
Licensed Hams across this Earth, proud of what they do.
One big family together, as they work and plan
To better both the hobby, and The Pride of being a Ham.
From Morse Code to Repeaters to Amateur TV.
Satellites & Packet, Q signals, and 73.
QSL cards, log books, the spectrum, it is grand.
I'm glad to be, and that I have, The Pride of being a Ham.