Well-known 440 MHz Repeater Owner Murdered in Owen Center Township near Rockford.

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by AE8L, Jul 28, 2015.

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  1. AE8L

    AE8L Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is with deep regret that I report the passing of a long-time radio ham enthusiast and local repeater owner, Henry Murphy [WB9TFX/SK] of Rockford, Illinois. On the morning of Sat., July 18th, at approx. 7:45 AM, a neighbor noticed that a large house fire had broken-out just off of Owen Center Rd., near Rockton, IL in the country. The driver [not identified] called 911 and reported the fire.

    Upon putting out the fire, Winnebago County Sheriff’s Police and firefighters from Rockton, IL and other responding agencies from MABAS, located him [Henry] inside and his dog named Shelby deceased. Information had been limited to this until a few days after the fire when the Winnebago County Coroner’s Office (the coroner also being a licensed radio ham herself, Elizabeth “Sue” Fiduccia, WD9JDY), released his name to the public.

    The following day, of July 22nd, it was revealed that Henry’s death was ruled a homicide. It was further noted that he was most likely not alive at the time the fire was started to his house located at 7609 Owen Center Rd. in Rockford, IL. At the time of this report, no suspects were in custody. [The house was a total loss.]

    Henry, a US Army Vietnam War veteran, long-time licensed radio ham having held an Advanced class license, prior to upgrading to Extra class in mid-2000, held the original-issue call of WB9TFX. (Records show him having more recently renewed his license back on May 24, 2012.) Henry also owned a local repeater system in the 70cm ham band on 443.450 MHz/CTCSS 114.8 Hz, which had been in operation since the early-1990’s.

    Henry was retired from a long career with AT&T as a communications field technician and maintained an elaborate amateur radio station set-up, including a mixture of Motorola, GE, and other commercial and amateur radio equipment, including service monitors/oscilloscopes/spectrum and antenna analyzer test equip. He was also a ‘master’ of repeater duplexer cavity fine tuning, helped others maintain their repeater equipment.

    Perhaps one of the most notable things I remember the most about him is he had a real creative and witty personality; always making light about something, yet even in the most seemingly difficult moments. (That’s just the way Henry was. Probably comes from being a Vietnam veteran is my guess.) One such an example I can recall is back in 2004, ARES and SATERN were working together to take-part in a mach disaster drill with the scenario of a bio-terror attack for post-9/11 emergency response, etc.

    We were staged in a parking deck in downtown Rockford, close to the actual drill scene, and ended-up waiting-and-waiting for us to get called-in to assist with our radio equipment on-hand. It was real hot that day; and I mean hot! (Close to 95 degrees outside.) We were roasting in a big cement oven. Henry was there and we were told by the EOC that once the county govt. pagers went off, then we were ‘good-to-go’ in. Only problem was, no one had one of these.

    So, knowing Henry, he just asked what the frequency of the paging system was on. Someone gave it to him, and he punched it in his dual-band HT radio. Eventually, we heard the ESDA (Emergency Services Disaster Agency) tones come out on Henry’s radio requesting the hams to assist. And, just like that, we drive in! If it weren’t for Henry’s intuition, we never would’ve known when or where to go.

    We bid a final farewell to WB9TFX & will be listening over the static on a frequency of 443.450 MHz here in the Forest City [Rockford] for signals from the skies above. God speed Henry and 73!

    *See official obit here: http://www.tribstar.com/obituaries/henry-a-murphy/article_12056455-ea8d-5371-823e-48b2cb46b306.html

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2015
    KC9SQR, KB0HVB, KF5RRF and 4 others like this.
  2. M0TRJ

    M0TRJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is indeed sad news with any SK but this is doubly tragic... RIP OM
  3. W8VIJ

    W8VIJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sad news indeed!
  4. KJ6ZOL

    KJ6ZOL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yikes! I wonder if the perps were after his ham radio setup because they'd heard on the street that he had lots of valuable electronics in his house, and immediately thought of stereo equipment and such. I sometimes see strange ads for ham equipment on Craigslist which as we all know is where a lot of stolen stuff gets laundered. The cops need to keep an eye on CL. If a ham has a lot of really valuable stuff, he should buy an engraver and put his callsign on his stuff.
  5. ZL4IV

    ZL4IV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Killers are cowards, it takes more strength to give life than take it, unfortunately this world is full of the bottom feeders. We give thanks to those who help give life through emergency coms and maintain repeaters, HF and other coms to those in the front line who have real strength together that strive to give life. Some times I hang my head in shame that the race we call human has so many bottom feeders that are just cowards. Sorry, I feel so strongly about this but just my two cents worth.
  6. N2RON

    N2RON Ham Member QRZ Page

  7. N2RON

    N2RON Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm going to miss him he was a good ham...
    KV4BL and AE8L like this.
  8. WA9WVX

    WA9WVX Ham Member QRZ Page

    I didn't know Henry WB9TFX but this is such a shame to lose a fellow Amateur Radio Operator to vandalism and fire. I think whomever did this act must have known Henry's Good Hearted disposition towards the Amateur Radio Community and waited for the right time to commit the crime. It's probably going to take a fluke opportunity for the criminal to make a Stupid mistake for the Amateur Radio Community and Public Safety Personnel to arrest the individual(s) that did this hiatus crime.

    Rest In Peace Henry

    KV4BL and AE8L like this.
  9. KQ0J

    KQ0J XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Rockford was really turning into a crime infested town when I moved out of there 20+ years ago. Bad schools, high taxes, what a mess that once nice area had become. RIP Henry.
    KV4BL likes this.
  10. W4KSL

    W4KSL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Very sad news prayers go out to his family.
    AE8L likes this.

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