Updated January 23, 2017
Remembering Bill Krueger AE5BK/SK
RUSSELL FISH, W5SGV: AE5BK, A Life Lived at Max Power
Bill Krueger embodied the best in amateur radio. He was both extremely skilled and passionate about giving back to both the ham community and the community at large.
Most hams knew Bill as the leader of dozens of antenna build-a-thons. Fewer know he lived a very exciting life.
A few hams know he was with the CIA. Fewer know that prior to the Agency he was Timothy Leary’s lab assistant for some groundbreaking LSD experiments at the UC Berkeley medical school.
A few hams know he was a pilot. Fewer know he built a BD5 jet (same as James Bond) in his garage and flew it around Dallas.
A few hams know that after the earthquake, he went to Haiti on a medical mission. Fewer know that years ago he was on a first name basis with Papa Doc Duvalier, Haiti’s dictator.
A few hams know that he could make a coat hanger, some duct tape, and a few feet of PVC into any antenna you needed. Fewer know that he created the one-time standard 3-transistor super-regen walkie design to help TI sell more transistors.
Bill was always giving. At my first Hams & Eggs he offered me gear and antennas after knowing me only a few minutes. One of the last things he did was help returning ham David Holiday, NB5V, set up his backyard antenna.
Bill’s “Ringo Ranger” still rises from my roof. Every time I step out the back door it reminds me of him.
RICH ROSENFELD, WB4RHR: I first met Bill at last year’s Ham-Com, after my son Dave got his license and before I tested for mine. He graciously showed us around to points of interest. I first saw that twinkle of delight in his eyes when he showed us the multi-band antenna that looks like a rectangular clothes line. It turned out that Bill had been to Thule, Greenland, with Bob Hope. I spent a year in Greenland beginning in 2000 and had seen antenna equipment that he had helped design for the main mission there. Bill was always kind, fun, and eager to share from his vast knowledge of radio and antennas.
LARS ANDERSON, KN5UTE: I did not know Bill well, but he was so friendly and outgoing when I first started attending MARS events. I will remember the antenna analyzer presentation we jointly made at the January 2015 meeting. I enjoyed hearing about his campers, and his camping trips. He was fun to talk to and obviously enjoyed life.
SETH BRUCE, AF5YN: I remember occasions when Bill took the time to demonstrate antennas and discuss at length antenna theory. I’m glad to have known him and learned from him.
LIZ BROWN, K5EMB: I will always remember Bill for his kindness to me as a new ham. He was very generous with expertise and his equipment. My favorite recollection is when he walked into Play Day with a gun case. He opened it up, revealed it contained a home-brew antenna system, and proceeded to show me how to set it up. If I needed help, all I had to do was ask. I will miss him.
LUCIE LEBLANC, KG5GUC: On the morning I attended my first Hams & Eggs breakfast, Bill introduced himself and became my Elmer. Bill inspired me to learn more about ham radios and taught me how to make cool knots. He was not just my Elmer, he was also my friend and buddy, and he blessed me when he introduced me to Louisa. I miss him very much and know I will continue to have a terrible ache in my heart because of his loss from my life. I Love You, Bill, and hope you enjoy setting up your AE5BK station in Heaven. Your friend, Lucie
STEVE DARRAH, KD5YPB: Bill was a man with the most varied set of life experiences I have ever had the pleasure to know. He was quiet, and always humble. I found his infrequent personal stories interesting and sometimes fantastic.
I knew Bill through ham radio where he was always bringing new project ideas to our group. If the antenna involved PVC pipe, Bill would build it.
Bill was always patient. He would spend time explaining an answer to a question until the answer was complete. Anyone could ask Bill a question and his response was always respectful.
I will miss Bill.
DAVID LEWIS, AC5DL: Bill Krueger was a true inspiration to all people he met. The first time I met Bill, I was amazed at the vast amount of history in which he was directly involved. I found out that during his life, he worked for numerous companies and agencies, and had some very interesting jobs. He even designed something what went to the moon! Bill was always a giving person—sharing his knowledge and homemade projects with others to help them learn. And if there was a possibility that PVC could be used to make an antenna, Bill would know how to do it! Rest in peace, Bill. You will be missed very deeply!
LEONARD PRUITT, KG5DNO: Bill went to work at Texas Instruments as a technician. Some of his work with transistors while there is patented in his name. He was much in demand as a technician for the PhD researchers. Once a new PhD came in and told Bill about his thesis. It turned out that Bill had done virtually the same work on his own just recently. His exploits there caused TI to offer him a full scholarship to Southern Methodist University. After he graduated from SMU he went to graduate school at Berkeley.
After retiring from paid work, Bill went back to school for a year or so to earn a medical assistant certificate. Once, after having traveled to Thailand to do relief work following a typhoon, he was called upon to deliver some babies as there was no other medical assistance available in the circumstances.
Until recently, Bill was still baking his own bread. It was San Francisco-style sour dough bread, with the starter dough brought here from San Francisco.
Here was truly a man for all seasons—kind, generous, and absolutely remarkable. This was a real-life man of enormous accomplishments fit to be called an Extraordinary Gentleman. I am honored to have known him though for all too short a time.