Friday, April 8, 2011
Tribute To Paul Streeter - Part 3
Paul loved to talk! When he was on the air, the air was all his (As in people paid attention)! Although it did happen that Paul would run out of things to talk about, it wasn't always that often. A conversation with him could run for hours on end, but none of us complained because it wasn't ever boring. Paul had other loves in life beyond radio. Railroad, as mentioned in part two of this tribute, was one of those loves. In the photo above, Paul is shown at the Glencoe Metra station during a local bicycle event for which the Northshore Radio Club provided volunteer emergency radio communications support. This author was his assigned partner during this event.
In the photo we see the famous AB9PS portable dual-band 2M / 70cm Yagi antenna Paul made by hand. This antenna used a cut wooden 2 by 4 plank as a boom, PVC pipe, and a run of RG8 coax. Anyone who knew Paul or even spoke with him for long enough would eventually hear some of Paul's love for railroad. He could talk about railroad for lengths of time that would have a person dreaming about crossing the continent by rail while simultaneously yearning to learn U.S. history.
The connection is made to U.S. history because Paul would talk about the old days of railroad. I remember asking Paul about the "whine" for lack of better words of modern Amtrak Genesis engines as they go from a standing position at a station stop to full service. First the engineer gets the "highball" from the line dispatcher, releases the air, and sets the engine into motion. As the train starts moving, you hear a very distinct sort of whirring or whine that goes up in pitch before the engine reaches a decent clip.
For anyone that loves trains, it is the release of the air brakes, the whirring/whining, followed by the K5LA horn blast that makes a great day better! Just as in the photo above, where Paul is getting to enjoy radio AND railroad at the same time, I would hope that he is finally getting to engineer his own train while making radio contacts the entire time AND getting full enjoyment of the greatest music anyone has ever heard.
One of the routines Paul had in the final days of his life, and one of the gifts Paul left all of us with was sharing late evening chats on 442.725+, talking about old re-runs of MASH, and of course we talked about food, meals, anything edible. The photo just above shows the five watt Alinco DJ-596 Paul once used just prior to obtaining a five watt Icom D-Star dual band HT.
The late night group usually consisted of Paul, this author, Jan (pronounced Yahn) - NE2AR, Andy - AB9EW, and whoever else was on the air at the time. Usually, Liam, from Evanston, Il, would chime in when his time allowed. Sitting at the control point until my eyes got heavy and ending the evening having fun with a friend was always the best way to end a late evening. Oh, we can't forget Tom - KC9AZJ (All Zebras Jump)! He became part of the group as time wore on. Tom and Paul often had some good talks about railroad because Tom is also a rail fan.
When we say we had late evenings, late is defined for us as a group as 1AM or after. I almost never held out to the end of the QSO, but there were nights when I would last and Paul would be the first to go followed by me and then Jan. Those nights are already missed.
I remember my first time meeting Paul. We went to Quiznos by the CTA Red line station. We both had a sub and Paul had his coffee. We talked about music, radio, and railroad. Paul did most of the talking when it came to the technical / historical stuff of music and railroad, but he also told some of his famous jokes. We talked about life, family, and classic TV.
Thank you Paul, for the years of memories. Thanks for being a friend, for just being you. Although it hurts to see you leave us, it would hurt more to see you suffer. What always earned my respect the most was that you never let your limitations take away your independence nor your dignity. You were never proud in an arrogant way, never did I see selfishness, never did I see contempt, and never did I see you hate.
The key now may be silent, the control point without your presence, but your voice will keep on being heard and your memory alive. With great gratitude for having had you on this earth, and all the memories to treasure....for what you were to each of us, rest peacefully dear Paul and happy seventy three.