27 April 2011, 7:49PM (Eastern)
With the very deepest of regrets I would like to inform the amateur radio community that my dear friend Ray Forrester, K4RRF has become a Silent Key.
A Navy man and proud to be, Ray Forrester was a patriot to his core. His was the kind of patriotism that has made America proud and strong. Although America’s patriotic spirit has waned these past few years, Ray’s never did. Even on his web site Ray was proud to show others that he was proud of his service to our country.
Ray was, without a doubt, one of the finest DX’ers I have had the honor to have known in the 34 years that I have been an amateur radio operator. With over 300 countries to his credit Ray was the ‘go to’ man in Orlando when you wanted to know where the DX could be found.
Along with his vast knowledge of amateur radio Ray was also an expert fisherman, winning many local and national fishing tournaments. Once a well-known authority in providing fishing excursions for people inside and outside of Florida, people came to Ray because he knew where the next big catch was hiding. Ray was also a long time member of the National Rifle Association and a strong proponent of our Second Amendment Rights. Always eager and quick to teach others anything concerning the safe and proper methods of handling firearms, Ray was rarely seen without his Glock.
“Kilo Four Romeo Romeo Fox” was heard many, many times in the pursuit of the many lighthouse activations put on by the Amateur Radio Lighthouse Society of which Ray was a Life Member. How sad it will be not to hear the excitement in his voice as it would come over 146.415 simplex announcing the activation of another lighthouse that he had just worked.
With a QSL collection numbering in the thousands one could only marvel at the organizational efforts it took to catalogue the many thousands of QSL cards and certificates he had earned. Rare was the times when I could call him with a “new one”, but I did manage to provide a few. There just weren’t too many countries out there that he hadn’t worked on one or more of the bands. His logging program was one of his best friends and many times I would call him with a possible new contact and he would quickly rattle of the call, how many bands he had worked them on and whether or not he had a QSL card for them.
Ray was always supportive of the radio organizations he participated in. He was a Life Member of the ARLHS, 10-10 International, a familiar voice on “The Early Bird Net” as well as many other nets. He had just recently become a member of QCWA, had he lived longer he would have thrown himself into that organization with the same gusto as he did the others.
Ever since I have known Ray his health has been marginal and with each year that passed his health seemed to slip a little further away from him. But we need not worry over him now; Ray is now in Heaven and feeling no more of the restraints of his frail earthly body. No more wheelchair, no more doctor’s visits, and finally an end to a pharmaceutical routine that would have killed lesser men.
It is with great sadness that I will no longer hear his voice but I am also honored that the last words I heard him speak to me were “Hello, Old Friend...”
73 Ray, I will miss you deeply old friend!
(Please, out of respect for the widow no phone calls!)