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Robert Hummel, WA9ZTY,

dedicated net control operator


the Midwest Classic Radio Net

for the last 13 years 

Born: 04/13/1953 – SK: 05/01/2008

photo courtesy of Paul Hummel K9BOJ
Robert Hummel, WA9ZTY (SK)

Interment services for Robert E Hummel, WA9ZTY,

was held at the First Baptist Church of Princeton MO

on Saturday, May 10, 2008. Rob was then laid to rest

at the Princeton cemetery.

I received this moving report from Tom, KC9GMF, 
who attended the service held for Rob in Marshall, WI
on May 6th at the United Methodist Church:

Well I attended Rob's funeral service yesterday. It was very nice,
packed and crowed at times. Roberta and family where doing very
well I thought, strong and holding their own as Rob would have wished.
They had many displays of pictures from Robs past. Many where ones so
familiar, but many more where a wonderful view of the family side of Rob's
Also was a binder of excerpts of the May 3rd net, emails and letters
from hams, broadcast radio personalities, and friends.
The service made many many references to Rob passion, ham radio and
Robs "ham radio friends" as the pastor put it, also some insight to
Robs Christmas fund drive.
Rob laid there in peace, the flag folded and his hat with call sign
near his side, and a WA9ZTY QSL card under his hand, as if he was
about to hand it to you.
You know Harry, there is that saying "you can't take it with you".
Well I tried to bend the rules a bit in Rob’s case, I made sure he
took along a brand new shinny 1N34A. Be careful OM, Rob WILL be listening!
See you on "the" net.


Overheard on 3885 on May 1 at 2200 Hrs:

"Goodbye Rob, We are gonna miss you-

W9ZTY from W9WRL-Goodbye my friend"



Excerpts from the Saturday morning

Midwest Classic Radio Net, 3 May 2008

and comments sent to:

special memorial tribute to Rob:




Rob was a gentle friend to everyone, especially AMers.  He was what ham radio operators are supposed to be; kind, considerate, helpful and technically knowledgeable.  His XYL, Roberta, is also a ham.  They had separate shacks; his downstairs shack loaded with vintage tube gear and hers in a spare bedroom nicely decked out with modern SS gear.  My impression?  The best of all worlds!

My XYL is Alice. She's the one Rob occasionally referred to as "Alice in the kitchen" during the net.   Alice's son and I stopped by to visit Rob on the way to one of our fishing trips to Ely, Minnesota.  Duane had met Rob for the first time on that visit.  After a short time, they really bonded and my presence was hardly noticed by either of them.  ;-)  Our visit went on for more hours than originally intended.  After we left, Duane commented about how much he enjoyed meeting Rob.  Rob had that effect on folks.

Alice and Rob got to know each other when he once called the house.  I was away saying my final goodbye to another cancer victim, Steve - K2PTS.  They spoke for hours about Steve, WLS and vintage Rock 'n Roll.  When I got home Alice commented about how much she thought of Rob.  Again, Rob had that affect on folks.

Rob, you will be missed.  73 DE Alice, Duane & George - K9GDT.

One of finest net control operators……we are going to miss his capabilities…W9FM (from MCRN) Frank


This is a hard transmission to make….(many parts in QTH) came from Rob…he touched my life…73 WA9ZTY.   W8TOW (from MCRN) Steve


I have not met Rob personally but got acquainted with him (though the net)…..I really appreciate his (response to Christmas Fund) …and… (recognizing me)….I miss his voice….I really enjoyed his nets. AB9MQ (from MCRN) Masa


I’ve never know such a generous man and someone with such a big heart (signs with WA9ZTY)

KC9GMF (from MCRN) Tom


Rob was professional and he was also spiritual…he loved the Lord… is very comforting for me to know that he was prepared ….W9GOB (from MCRN) Dan


Rob helped me get back on AM after being off of it for many years….I got this Valiant

 on the net…In the 1980s Rob was running a Severe Weather Net on 146.88. He was always the voice of reason in the middle of al the chaos….he sure will be missed, he sure helped a lot of us. F9FWT (from MCRN)


Rob will be really, really missed….been a regular fixture (on the MCRN)….the charisma and friendliness…so, so willing to help…best authority on HeathKits…will miss his voice….kinda like to think he is still listening.  K9TR (from MCRN) Mark


One thing that I noticed about (all the comments) is that not one person has said they remember Rob for all the neat stuff he has, radios and all that. There hasn’t been one comment about it. You know, it just goes back to (what we remember him for)…his generosity… and advice…. I remember when he made the announcement…...courage and integrity about how he did that…shows character…K7YOO (from MCRN) Skip


I am still in shock….You rarely meet a guy like Rob, so knowledgeable, so unselfish and willing to share his knowledge. He’s helped me numerous times and helped get me back into the hobby. …..What a great guy…..Rob rest in peace….W9RMB (from MCRN) Pete


……I think that Rob really personifies why the ham radio hobby and in particular the am vintage gear…people like Rob.…made the hobby worthwhile…Its sure great to have had a chance to know him…just wish it could have been longer. WQ9E (from MCRN) Roger


I think Rob was the first to print: Boat Anchor AM 3885 tee shirts with your call. I wore that thing until I wore it out. W9QI (from MCRN) Tom


It seems very odd to not hear a Saturday morning fixture, Rob’s voice, on the radio. He will be missed. W9AD (from MCRN) Dave


When I think of Rob….he was a true radio guy…. he was a guy who did it all. Guess who came back to me on straight key night on New Year’s eve? WA9ZTY! He just wanted to encourage others and me on ham radio. He understood the roots of the hobby. He always took the time and made you feel welcome. He was one of the guys who was invited to the WLS get-to-gether. He saved some lost radio tapes…. He was mentioned at the end of the (WLS special broadcast). To Roberta and the family, I just want to say thanks for sharing Rob……all those Saturday mornings.

W9RAN (from MCRN) Bob


I was very saddened to hear about Rob's passing.  I knew Rob for many years, but never had the pleasure of meeting him in person.  I have enjoyed checking into the net for a long time and it has been part of my Saturday morning routine.  Rob was a very knowledgeable and helpful person.  He was very instrumental in helping folks get together to exchange needed parts and vintage equipment.  The AM amateur radio community will sure miss him!


I remember mentioning to Harry one time several years ago at the Ft Wayne Hamfest that it seemed like I had a hard time getting into the net and it seemed that Rob had problems hearing me.  Apparently Harry said something about that to Rob.  After that, Rob always seemed to make a special effort to listen for me.  Sometimes, he would even call me to see if I was trying to check in. in peace old friend.  May God bless and keep you.

Jack, W9GT, Ft. Wayne, IN



With a deep sense of loss, we now place another dedicated amateur radio operator among the outstanding ones in that great ham shack up yonder. Rob & I crossed paths beginning in 1959 as " Paul's little brother" ( K9BOJ ) in Juneau, WI. I still have pictures of our old gang from the 1960 Field Day group in Millers woods. Those were great times.  It did not take long for Rob to ignite his own shining star on his journey to begin to help us all. They both became members of the Rock River Radio Club in Dodge County, WI. As a member myself, I had the opportunity to know Rob quite well in those early days. His dedication to the hobby became abundantly clear very early on and it grew steadily. Years later, he became well known here in Madison professionally as well as our ham radio hobby. Rob will be missed, no doubt. Rest easy ole friend, you have earned your place up in that great ham shack up there. Hey Rob, could you check with Bruce - W9QAH when you have a minute & see if he has any 6146 tubes with him?

 73,  W9CAR Ralph,  Madison, WI

Message received 18 June 2008
My wife Harriet and I extend our condolences to Robert Hummel, WA9ZTY, who on May 1 entered the Kingdom of Heaven. 
     Rob was my mentor.  We passed our Generals together in Milwaukee on July 16, 1969, the same time that Apollo 11 was launched to the moon.  He lived in Juneau, WI (I was raised in Fond du Lac), and we shared a bunk for some time.  I was active on the Wisconsin SideBand Net on 3985 kHz in its heydey.  During this time, Rob was active, too.
     We lost touch when we moved to Winter Springs, Florida, my hometown for the past thirty years, but we still talk to Rob now and then.  May He rest in peace, and let us say, "Amen."
Marc Manis
K5NO (ex WB9CIQ)
I was dumbfounded and didn't know what to say.
Rob has been in I am sure all of our thoughtsand prayers in the last weeks. From reports we all had good hopes. However other plans were in
place for Rob. It would be a very understatement
that he will be missed.
I have never known anyone else that has been as
dedicated to Amateur Radio as Rob was. I was privileged to have met Rob a couple of times.
I was also lucky to visit he and Roberta in their
home a few years ago.
He is now without pain and I am sure he will be
with us. As crass as it my sound I am glad if this was going to be the outcome that it was relatively quick. I have seen and experienced others.
I salute Dave W9WRL for his transmission. I hope

we all can do the same on tomorrow's net.
 73 Larry WA9VRH


The AM Community looses another great ham and person.  I am stunned this happened so rapidly.


Ron - WB9IMR


This is Linda Flint (Robert's Daughter)
I deeply regret to inform you Robert past away in my mothers arms
yesterday afternoon. He was at peace.
I will pass along further information as soon as we can. (Visitation etc.)
Please feel free to pass along to anyone who may have had the
opportunity to enjoy my Dad. We will all miss him very much.
If you have any questions please feel free to email back. My mother and I

would love to hear any stories you have shared.
My e-mail address is  if you could share some
stories, comments, or any knowledge I would really love to hear from you
all. Dad was blessed with so many kind friends; we would love to hear
from them all. If any of you are Radio buddies and can observe a moment
of silence for the fellow past radio lover, it would be kind.
Thank you so much,
The Hummel Family



Thank you for taking the time to let us know about this.

I am really, as must all of us, feel deeply saddened by his passing.

I was in the process of sending a Get Well Soon card to him.

I surely didn't expect this to happen so soon!

A great loss to many to be sure.

May he rest in peace. Don't know what more I can say yet.

I'll ck the website soon.

Thanks again for your efforts.


                       Pete de W9RMB


That is very sad and unexpectedly quick. Guess one can only say the suffering was not too long.

 Rob was a great person and a asset to the AM community.


Tom Laird W9QI


Wow, Harry I’m shocked.  I truly believed that he was going to be around for quite a while.  This is very sad news.

Thanks for keeping everyone informed.

Clark, K9OA

And may the God of all of us Bless, Keep, and Watch Over Rob always and forever.

 Amen-So Mote It Be


 Barry, K9YVT


Wow....what a shocker. So loved by so many. It's hard to think about it.

Thanks Harry...KI8BQ


Thanks for the update. I will pass it on to the Noon Time Forum tomorrow.
 I never met Rob but I think we all felt like we knew him well.
 What a loss,

Jack K9ACT



I am still stunned over the news of Rob’s passing.  I knew that he bravely struggled against physical challenges and chronic pain but never dreamed that he could be taken from us so quickly.  I want you to know that you and Rob were the only bright spots in a dark place and time.  Never have I been so grateful for REAL help that went far beyond talk and sympathy.  It saddens me deeply that we never had the chance to work together on the shortwave radio station.  It would have been a dream come true for Rob to have had his own radio program.  He was a natural!

 Roberta, Rob’s time with us was far too short but with your love and help he made better use of that time than most by really being there for friends and family.  While our loss is a mere shadow of what you, Ken & Linda are feeling, the outpouring of grief, love and admiration for Rob in the radio community is a fitting tribute to his struggle, against the odds, to live a wonderful and meaningful life. 

With Deepest Sympathy & Love,

Mike Dorrough, KO6NM

 I am so sorry to hear this news.  We recently drove to Minnesota on a Thursday, and stopped in to see Rob about 1:15 PM their time.  I had a brief but nice chat with him.  He was in a wheelchair and there was a health worker lady there so I didn't stay long.  I picked up the Gonset Comm. III that I had purchased from him also.  When I came in, he extended his hand for a shake, but apologized that it was pretty weak.  He had trouble holding his head up; he said he was so weak.  Even so, I was thrilled to have a first eyeball with him.  Sadly it was the first and last.


We returned last evening.  On the way home on I-90 passed his exit to Marshall, I mentioned to my wife that I was glad we had stopped in on the way west, rather than trying to work it in on the way home when we are usually more in a hurry.  I am soooo glad that we stopped in when we did.  I was planning to call Roberta to see how Rob was doing after we got home, but I forgot to.  Maybe it is best that I didn't call and disturb them.


I only wish I had gotten to know him on a more personal level years ago.  I know the amateur radio community will sadly miss him.  I am happy that I was able to purchase a piece of equipment from his collection, only I wish it had been on different circumstances.


73, Bob, W8LHP


I had the pleasure of meeting Rob while visiting KO6NM in Wisconsin. He was
a gentle soul and a fine person with a lust for life in spite of physical
challenges. His enthusiasm for radio and preserving our shared heritage and
hardware were inspiring. WA9ZTY was known and respected coast to coast. In Rob
’s case, it is no cliché to say that he will be greatly missed!
Al Parker, N2SAG, Hicksville, NY


I learned about Rob's passing on Friday morning at work, from an e-mail sent to me by Rodger, WQ9E.  Rob will be sorely missed.  I've always enjoyed the Midwest Classic Radio Net, ever since I started checking into it last year.  The swap part of the net got me in touch with the guy who sold me the Johnson Viking II I restored, and put on the air (allowing me to be heard by more net participants) a couple of months ago.  I never would have gotten the deal I got on my Viker II, if it weren't for the net.  I make it a point to check in every Saturday morning to the net. ……Rob's big T-368 signal, and warm friendly voice, sure made me feel welcome on the net.  A few weeks ago, I had an eyeball QSO with Rob at the Jefferson (WI) hamfest.  He wasn't feeling well, but he was still a kind and gracious person.  Rob, we're going to miss you.  May the modulation be with you.



Ellen - AF9J


I just found out about WA9ZTY's passing today. I've been sad all day.
Ole Rob WA9ZTY and I go back a long ways to high school some 37 years back. We used to chat several times a week on 75 meter SSB after school before checking into the Wisconsin SSB Net. If anyone here worked Rob at the time, you'll recall he did part time work at a local radio station and had access to all sorts of sound effects. He brought them home and would play them during his SSB transmissions.... It was hilarious, and did land him in some minor trouble.
I used to drive up from Watertown to Juneau in the evening, stop off at Howie's Skyline drive in and wait for Rob to finish his after school job there, then we'd chum around for the evening. We used to drive all over the place in my dad's 68 VW, visiting hams that Rob and I knew.
In the 80's, I'd run into Rob the Skywarn severe weather nets on the Baraboo 28.88 repeater, and yap with him on 2 meters. When I got interested in classic radios in the mid 90's, I was surprised to find ole Rob already there and an acknowledged expert.
When I got interested in AM Radio and assembled a station, I found the Midwest Classic AM Net and there was my buddy Rob again. It was always a treat to check in and pass a few words with Rob. I'd tune into 3885 and hear Rob, check in, then sit back and listen because for a brief moment all was well in the world.... And like Skip K7YOO mentioned, it ain't about the radios, it's about the character and integrity of a man that he'll be remembered for. And Rob had both. 73, Scott WA9WFA



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