Today is the fifth anniversary of the death of Eric, KU6J, inventor of RBNGate, as well as a Sota spotter, and overhaul of the W6 association. The gate died with him, but it was replaced by VK3ARR’s RBNHole. The AM of his association at the time, Paul, W6PNG, led a Sota team which installed a beautiful brass benchmark on a summit near Eric’s home and renamed it “KU6J Memorial Peak, W6/NS-204”
I worked extensively with Eric on the summits for California in the SOTA database, He was simply great to work with. A good bit of what is there in SOTA summits for W6 land is down to him. He also joined the SOTA Summits team and worked with me on other NA Associations, I was stunned when he stepped off the planet as we had some work in progress. Sorely missed. RIP
His RBNGate is partly why I started activating SOTA peaks. Because it worked so well, I had a very short learning curve. I was familiar with QRP operating, small tuners, and portable antennas, so all I had to do was sign up online and go out and call CQ. The rest is recorded in the SOTA Database.
VK3ARR’s RBNHole is an appropriate memorial, as it is almost perfect now. The easy entry to SOTA activating remains and reminds us of Eric’s work to let us get on the air easily and quickly.
I wish I had thanked him. I looked at his QRZ page once, and he seemed like a light in the darkness.
RIP Eric, Although we never met, I chased you a number of times when I first got started in SOTA in 2013. I really depended on your SOTA Spotter program to call me to the radio to work a new spotted activator. I am so pleased that the “Team” made the effort to install the plaque and rename the summit in his memory. Thanks for reminding us of his contributions to SOTA.
That picture of his ATV reminds me that he loved roaring around on that machine with one of his many guns and a group of other ATVers. He was an enthusiastic right-wing conservative who taped his diary orally (mostly).
He had a weekend house in ski country, and he eventually moved into it permanently, along with his wife Tamar, who became CEO of his very successful software company on his death.
One of Eric’s activation picture posted on NASOTA, his operating table on summit somewhere in W6 land.
KX3, key, iPhone, notebook, pen, some leads, clock, cup and water bottle, chocolate bar. Oh and a Glock!
I can’t remember if it was Glock 17 (9x19), a Glock 22 (.40S&W) or a Glock 20 (10mm). It was just sat nonchalantly on the corner of table. Far enough away not to impede the activation. But close enough “just in case”.
Before SOTA, Eric was an accomplished hang glider pilot (which he suffered a bad crash and had a pretty serious injury), and ran a TV show with a friend on a local cable TV provider up here in the Tahoe area. Show content was of them ripping around on their quads, skiing Tahoe area, and all around outdoor activities. Might have been out of the bay area - been awhile since I’ve last seen an episode. Think it was called Grizzly Guys Productions, or something to that effect.
Last I looked, his activation info is still available on his grizzlyguy web domain. Lots of good info there for future activators in the Sierra region…Maps, waypoints, and lots of pictures. Great stuff!