Our Call, N4NC

Bob Herman, N4NC was a longtime member of the Cary Amateur Radio Club and a Lifetime Member of the ARRL. Bob became a Silent Key on June 19th, 1998 at the age of 50.

Bob was born on May 15, 1948. His father was a Secret Service agent. He built his first radio and got his first ham license in his early teens. During college Bob worked part time installing and repairing 2-way radios. After college, Bob worked at a number of radio stations in western NC, including WTOE where he hosted the Toe Valley Hoedown as Barbecue Bob.

Bob met his wife while working at WWNC. It was also during this period that he passed the Extra Class test and got the N4NC call.

Bob moved to the Raleigh area in his late 20’s to work with the North Carolina State Emergency Management Division as a Radio Engineer. He then became the Chief Engineer of WPTF/WQDR radio stations, and later the Director of Engineering for Voyager Communications, building both WRDU in Raleigh, and WMAG in High Point.

Bob started a Broadcast Consulting business and became a well-known authority on FM broadcast antennas. His broadcast engineering expertise took him to Morocco to assist in the installation of communications equipment for the government, and several years later to direct the construction of the Voice of America’s installation in Tangier.

In September 1994, Bob became totally disabled and was not able to walk on his own. He did however continue to provide technical assistance to several radio stations including the completion of a new transmitter site construction project for a station in Kentucky. He was invited to the dedication of the new facility and found a permanent plaque on the door of the building bearing his name.

Bob’s last job was in 1996 at a site where he literally was crawling through the equipment room on hands and knees. When the transmitter was turned on the owner was delighted with the audio quality.

During the last four years of his life, Bob was in constant pain, but kept a sense of humor. One of his fondest ambitions was to have his name listed under “Silent Keys” in QST. He also said that he wanted his epitaph to read “I told you I was sick” and if you visit his marker in Burnsville, NC that’s exactly what it says!

Bob always allowed the Cary Amateur Radio Club to use his great call, during the annual Field Day Contest. Thanks to Bob’s wife, Maryanne WA4GKS, the Cary Amateur Radio Club was able to obtain Bob’s call for the club where it can continue to be used each Field Day just as it was when Bob was alive.

Contributed by Frank Lynch, W4FAL