Bob Kelty (WA6GEL) death

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Hooligan

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View George Kelty's Obituary on MercuryNews.com and share memories


George Robert Kelty
Jan. 24,1932-March 30, 2020
San Jose, California

George Robert Kelty Jr. (Bob), life-long resident of San Jose was born January 24, 1932 and passed away on March 30, 2020 following a short illness. He is survived by his sister Carolyn Kelty Schwartz, her husband Bill of Pittsboro, N.C. and their four adult children. Private celebration-of-life services are pending.
Bob graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School and attended San Jose State College. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Cold War. Stationed in Japan as a Morse Code intercept operator, he grew to appreciate Japanese culture and learned to speak the language.
Bob's life was defined by an intense interest in radio communications, professionally and as amateur radio operator WA6GEL/WB6DJT. As West Coast District Service Manager for General Electric's radio communications division, he acted as a consultant to numerous local, regional, and state agencies and corporations. He once taught the Royal Hong Kong Police communications staff how to service their new G.E. radio system.
In retirement, Bob established Mobile Radio Resources which provided FCC licensing services to public safety agencies. He also authored "Government Radio Systems Frequency Guides"--a successful line of radio scanner directories which were sold nationwide.It was common for Kelty's books to be carried in vehicles providing medical assistance, firefighting and law enforcement.
Bob's closest friends were other amateur radio operators. He was a pioneer in building and maintaining radio repeaters which allowed communications between operators scattered throughout the Bay Area. He was a well-known and respected mentor to apprentices entering the fields of radio and electronics, guiding many to successful careers.
His voice on the airwaves will be greatly missed.
 
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Hooligan

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I first had contact with Bob back in the early 1990s, sending him some LAPD info for one of his books after I'd spent 2 months as a consultant for that agency, and got a nice letter back. About 20 years later, I moved to the San Francisco Bay area and bought some of Bob's freq/system info books from ham radio Outlet to help get me going with radio monitoring. I initially got to know “Uncle Bob" from listening to him & some of his other LMR industry/radio-geek friends talking on Bob’s repeater (444.800MHz? It's been 10 years since I left the SF Bay area...) for a year or two, appreciating the 'politically-incorrect' but sometimes new-world order paranoid banter, and more-so, the talk about certain radio frequencies & systems. I finally dared jump-in (his was listed as a 'private' repeater - not open to all hams) on a conversation when I happened to know about some radio site or system they were wondering about, and was warmly welcomed by Bob to use it any time. I'd briefly meet with him each month at the monthly Foothills Ham swaps, where he’d show up & kind of hold court. Often he wouldn’t even walk thru the swap — he’d hang out at his car & various radio friends would eventually stop by to talk with him, and we'd refer to people looking for scanner info to him & his car in the parking lot so they could buy his guides.

His area frequency books were so accurate because a lot of times, he handled the licensing for commercial systems, he was friends with plenty of commercial & public safety radio techs, and he wasn’t beyond a little "active-measures" occasionally to try to verify info,, examining LMR systems at mountaintop repeater sites, etc. and when he retired from GE, he had fun traveling around the state checking in systems to keep all his regional frequency books accurate. He finally stopped a lot of the traveling by the late 1990s due to age.

Always willing to help people with info & meet-up at Harry's Hofbrau in Redwood City for a good German beer, very conservative, opinionated & politically-incorrect -- I was shocked when someone else told me about his little 'secret,' which I'll not mention here as it's somewhat irrelevant.

I planned to meet him at his house one day. As I got onto his street, I keyed-up on a VHF frequency using P-25 with FASCINATOR encryption, and sure-enough, within seconds, he was on his repeater, reporting to some of his friends that he had a bogie in his immediate area -- he'd caught my signal on a freq counter or spectrum analyzer. Had so much fun messing with the poor guy that afternoon that I never did stop by to see his garage-full of radio gear, but I did take a couple 'surveillance photos,' and made it a point to continue to occasionally talk with him on his repeater & see him at the Foothills Swaps. Sadly for everyone, Bob had zero interest in the Internet, so he had no email, etc. I spoke with him on the phone once in about 2012, but that was the last of our communication.
 

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MtnBiker2005

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