eHam Logo

 Home Home
 Articles & Stories
 Contesting Wiki
 My Profile

 This Week's Contests
 Classified Ads
 Contest Links
 Product Reviews

Contest Lists

Other Lists

 Mailing List FAQs

Site Information
 About This Site Team

[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK

Dave Pascoe (KM3T) on April 5, 2004
View comments about this article!


Well-known contester and friend to many, Bill Fisher W4AN, became a SK on April 4, 2004. Those of us who knew Bill are shocked and saddened.

The memorial services for Bill will be held at:

L W McDonald & Son Funeral Home & Crematory
150 Sawnee Dr
Cumming, GA 30040
Phone: (770) 886-9899

on Saturday, April 10, 2004 at 10 AM.

Other details will be posted here and on the CQ-Contest email reflector.

Member Comments: Add A Comment
Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by ve3dz on April 5, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Bill was one year younger than me...
I think I can say I knew Bill personally since I met him and talked to him
few times at WRTC's and Dayton Hamventions and we probably had a good couple
of hundred QSOs in the past. I remember when I got in touch with him he made
a strong impression on me as a person who prefers "to do" instead of "to
talk", as there are not so many "doers" around...
I knew him by his old call KM9P and when I first met him in San Francisco in
1996 (at WRTC 96). I couldn't believe that this call belonged to such a young,
handsome and sporty-looking guy...
He was a great op, both CW and SSB, equally good both in a long contesting
run and in a CW rag chewing. Like many really talented people he was
successfull not only in HAM Radio, but in business too...
A lot of people will miss him.
My condolences to the family...
RIP Bill.
161 Yuri VE3DZ (UT4UZ, VE2IM, N2WCQ)
Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by KM3T on April 6, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Bill Fisher and I were friends for almost 22 years, our friendship
starting early on in our HF contesting careers. Long I will remember those
nights on 40m chatting with Bill and the operators now known to the world
as N5TJ and N2NC.

I knew of nobody as generous with his time and with as unique a personal
touch as Bill. Bill was as straight as straight-shooters come. You absolutely knew where he stood on most any issue he felt passionate about. This was one of the things we knew and loved about Bill. In many ways he was a breath of fresh air in this world of political correctness.

Many will not comprehend the amount of time and
resources he poured into this hobby of ours. I was only too glad to help him maintain the servers and network that many of these services run on. I always felt it was the least I could do to contribute. Bill and I spent much time on the phone, sometimes at very odd hours of the night, if anything went down or whatever. And in between the lull of network outages we chatted about contesting. Bill was so proud of the station he had built. I did have once opportunity to visit the mountain in CQ WPX Phone 1999, when Bill and I set the M/S SSB Record and had a real blast, even though both of us preferred CW.

Bill's enthusiasm and generosity extended far beyond and, which is he is well known for, but with generating activity in great contests like the NCJ Sprint. Bill tirelessly put together Sprint teams by calling, emailing, and sending postcards out to people.

And the world may never see a better and more accomplished CW contest
operator. Bill's skills were uncanny, and he was always and will forever
be an inspiration to me and I am sure many others.

RIP were one in a million and we will never forget.
Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by ka2aev on April 6, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
RIP Bill, You'll be missed

... -.- de AEV
Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by k3yd on April 6, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Those of us who knew Bill from contesting, or his various web sites feel a tremendous sense of loss. I can't comprehend the feeling of loss which his wife, children and closest friends must be experiencing. My sympathy goes out to all of them.

In his all-too-brief time with us, he accomplished so much. We'll miss all that he could have done, but most of all--we'll miss him.

RIP OM, 73 de K3YD
Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by AA4LR on April 6, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
It is hard to express the shock and dismay I feel over this news. My sympathy to his family.

I only met Bill on four occasions. Twice at his budding superstation in Dalonegah in the fall of 1995, once at an SECC organizational meeting, and one other time at a hamfest.

Bill invited me to operate his superstation in 1995, for the Sweepstakes Phone contest. At the time, I thought I was a pretty good operator, and with access to superior equipment, I would dominate. Bill was very patient with me, giving me helpful suggestions as to how to operate two radios, how best to set the tone for the contest.

That experience was eye-opening. Far from dominating, I learned I had (and still have) a lot of learn about contesting.

Over the years since then, I've exchanged a number of e-mails with Bill, and read with interest anything he posted to the many reflectors. His contest efforts CONTINUE to inspire me. He has shown what is possible from Georgia. Bill's standards were quite high, and many of the principles he expressed stick with me.

Bill's devotion to amateur radio is evident from both his station, his scores, and the on-line community he created through the many e-mail reflectors, the and sites, and his many other endeavors. He will be sorely missed.
RE: Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by N2MG on April 6, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
My friends,

I am incredibly saddened and practically overwhelmed
by this news. The sense that things will "never be
the same" weighs heavily on my mind. Certainly in
another few days, a touch of normalcy will return and
we can begin to discuss the machinations of eHam,, etc. In the meantime, we must hope
nothing requires much of any attention.

I will miss his leadership - Bill had a way of
low-pass filtering the noise from both the users and
the web teams and trying to maintain focus.

Mostly I will miss him as a friend, fellow ham and
contester, and straight shooting guy.

Mike N2MG

Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by k4mzw on April 6, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
A longtime friend and colleague....The Ham community has lost a "Great" one.

73, My Friend


p.s. When you go home tonight, hug your family, call your friends, spend time with aquaintenances....Life is too short to harbor ill feelings. Words unspoken, remain unknown.
Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by kr2q on April 6, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
One of the very, very few who can claim to be contest legend...

Beating K1AR at his own game....ranks right up there with the boyz from Texas beating N2AA at K2GL (m/m) other words, one of the best things that ever happened FOR contesting.

de Doug KR2Q
Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by N1ND on April 6, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
When I started work as the ARRL Contest Manager, one of the first things I learned was that W4AN was one of the "good guys" and a great resource when I had questions. And in the 5 1/2 years since, I was fortunate to have Bill to turn to - be it to get an objective opinion on a problem that arose, or to get a few ideas for stories, authors or my own operating. I can honestly say he is one of the few people in this hobby of ours that I don't recall anyone ever saying anything unkind about... Thanks Bill... our thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family....
Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by G4BUO on April 6, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I'm shocked and saddened by this terrible news. I'm very glad to have met Bill at WRTC. He was a truly great op.

Dave G4BUO
Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by NT1Y on April 6, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
he best thing about our hobby is not the radios, the QSLs, or the QSOs, it's the great friends you make. I am deeply saddened the untimely passing of my friend Bill Fisher, W4AN.

I know of only two people in the world with my odd mix of passions--radio contesting, bicycle racing and, new for me in 2003, parenthood: Bill W4AN and Mark N5OT (if you saw a photo of a bicycle mounted high up on a Rohn tower in QST, that's Mark).

Bill and I first met thru radio contesting and kept in touch even when I took a hiatus from ham radio '96 - '01. During this time, both Bill and I launched Dot Com companies and frequently compared notes. Bill & his Spoke Technologies colleague Garth once flew down from Seattle to visit the Enigma Digital office in Santa Monica. After a couple of hours talking e-biz shop at my office, we hit a 3rd Street bar and talked contesting for a few more hours. This conversation was the main catalyst for getting me back on the air--Bill's enthusiasm was contagious and it rekindled my ham radio flame.

Bill and I also shared an interest in bicycle racing. Bill had started riding again recently and I frequently got IM messages from him that said "just got back from a 50 miler" or similar. Not too a long ago, he did one of these marathon rides thru very bad weather and ended up half-frozen. Just like Bill not to let something like freezing rain get in the way of something was determined to do.

My personal Website (, don't bother checking it, it's way out of date) and personal email account are hosted by Akorn. I always made contributions to eHam, but Bill wouldn't take my money for Website hosting.

When I started rebuilding my contest station last year, I spent hours and hours and hours talking strategy and technique with Bill via IM, email and phone. Lots of W4AN ideas have been and will be incorporated into my station. I can never hope to be as good an operator as Bill (he's contest Hall of Fame bound, I'm sure), but some W4AN DNA will be in my station design.

Bill was happy when I told him last year my wife was pregnant. He said this will be the greatest thing that ever happens to you. Bill was right.

What a great friend Bill was. Always had time to chat or help with a problem despite a busy life. Always aimed for excellence in everything he did.

I will be at the memorial service in Georgia Saturday morning. If anyone would like to have a contester's wake afterwards and swap W4AN anecdotes, I'm game.

I also want to remember my friend Joe Clement W6MR (ex-KF6OG). Joe died in a car crash recently while driving to a drag race (he was a pro racer). Joe was an incredible rigger who installed all of my Malibu and Colorado towers and antennas.

Bill NT1Y (ex-AA6TT)
Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by k3td on April 7, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Although I was never a big gun, and haven't done much contesting lately, Bill was a good guy to me, too. Back in the early-mid 1990s when I was living in Atlanta I had the incredible good fortune to come in contact with Bill as I was getting started in contesting. He was very helpful to me as I set about to build a *very* modest station (single radio, 100 watts, single wire 25' off the ground) and try computer logging for the first time.

Bill gave me great help with the computer setup for NA and cw keying interface for my IC-765, but the best operating advice he ever gave me was simple and direct -- "stay in the chair!" Bill inspired me to set a personal goal for my second CQWW ... not an easy contest for a relatively new contest operator with a low power station in Georgia ... and I did. I achieved that goal, it was incredibly rewarding and I was hooked forever on contesting. Bill was there to help me several times after that, whether on the local 2 meter repeater or via e-mail, but I'll never forget that first conversation!

I've been blessed with several great mentors and coaches in ham radio in general and contesting in particular. Thank you K4EA, K4RF, W4WA, K5AND and W4AN.

RIP Bill,
RE: Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by NL7Z on April 7, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Bill was one of the great ones on 160. He will be missed by us all.
God's speed om....
Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by n0jk on April 7, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Very sorry to hear about Bill, W4AN. I met him once years ago at Dayton in the contest suite. We talked briefly about my idea of getting HF contesters going on contest DXpeditions to operate 6M for solar cycle 23. He was encouraging and supportive. Bill did alot for amateur radio, both on the air and through personal contacts and the Internet. He will be missed.
Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by WC1M on April 7, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I was very shocked to receive this news. Bill was still a young man. It's a terrible tragedy for his young family and I pass along my deepest condolences to them.

This is also a great loss for the contesting community. Bill was one of the best ops in the world and it would be hard to think of anyone more dedicated to the sport and helping others to enjoy it. I first became aware of Bill on Tower Talk back in 1997, when I sought advice on building my first tower. Bill was just finishing up his super station on the mountain in Georgia. I didn't have any direct communication with him for a while, but very much admired his huge project and quest for perfection. I learned a great deal from Bill's descriptions of what he had done, and incorporated as many of his ideas into my own station as I could. Later, I was not surprised at all when he won USA in CQ WW CW 1999, spending a full 48 hours in the chair. I gather that in the past few years Bill was very busy with work and didn't have time to do the major contests. I really missed his presence there, and was always happy when he dropped by to give me a contact or I heard him handing out QSOs. Well, sort of happy -- I knew if Bill was doing a serious effort there would be one more person ahead of me in the standings! Also, I made sure to send my best CW to Bill -- he was a great op and I didn't want him to think I was a lid.

Like many of you, I never met Bill in person. I knew him only from QSOs, numerous e-mail exchanges and his website. I was looking back though my e-mail archives and was amused to see that my first interaction with Bill, in May 1998, was when he slapped my wrist rather hard for posting a "test" message to Tower Talk. Bill did not suffer fools lightly, and never pulled any punches. That was Bill, and I came to appreciate that about him more and more as time went on. Not one to take it lying down, I engaged him in a little back-and-forth in which I tried to justify my post as a last resort to debug an ISP problem. As usual, I was verbose to a fault and Bill was as terse as could be. Eventually the conversation ended in a stand-off with Bill saying, "I love you, too, man. I thought for a second there that we were going to get into a flame war... ;-)" After that, we had a number of pleasant exchanges on technical and business matters (we both were working on startups in Seattle.) I always learned something from Bill.

Bill had a very strong sense of right and wrong. One thing that really impressed me was when he quickly banned a certain person from one of the reflectors for making Nazi-like hate comments. I was also impressed with how he kept the reflectors going even when it became apparent that they were hurting him financially. I donated whenever he asked. If you think about it, these reflectors have made one of the greatest contributions to contesting and amateur radio of any innovation since the beginning of the hobby. Whatever becomes of them, I hope that we will find a way to permanently remember Bill as the founder and visionary who made it possible.

Good-bye, Bill, and thanks for all you did for us.

73, Dick WC1M
Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by WP3C on April 7, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I didn't met him but, i worked and talked with him in few bands a lot of times and i realized tha he was a nice person.
I sent my good feelings to yhe family and friends.
RE: Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by KM3T on April 8, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Please refer to W8JI's web site for trust fund information for Bill's two children:

Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by K4JA on April 8, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Bill and I first made contact in the early 1990ís when we would often find the time to send me an encouraging note about our contest endeavors in M/S and M-2 efforts as KS9K/W9JA.

Later when we own a place in Blairsville GA, near Billís contest station. I helped Bill with small projects several times. However mostly we talked about station design, and building bigger and better antenna, systems. We tried to get together each time I came down often for breakfast. I remember them all fondly, one time we met K4BAI on the way to an SS effort from W4AN.

I remember his love for Mountain bike racing. One day after we finished some work, he mentioned going on 30 Mile Bike ride on roads that I often hated to drive.

Later if was Bill the first suggested that I think about a station on the south east coast. He suggested NC and I took a hard look at that but for one reason or the other it didnít work out. However after a 9 month search I ended up with a new property that is now home to K4JA about 150 miles north.

We continued to discuss antenna combinations all during the dreaming and construction a lot of his thoughts ended up in real life.

What a world class contester, he was in a Zone during contests.

A lot of people will miss him, count me as one.

RIP Bill.

Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by n4rj on April 8, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I have been in amateur radio for 48 years and have met many hams.

Bill Fisher was a shining star. He operated N4RJ for many years and was like one of the family. Dana might come over with Bill for a visit or he might bring his son, Graeme, to play in the woods or in the pool or ride bikes, etc. It was obvious that he wanted to be a great dad for his son. And, he was.

Bill not only operated, he modified, engineered, improved and perfected N4RJ to be highly competitive. We spent countless hours on the towers together, moving beams and re-phasing arrays. When Bill first came onto the contest scene with winning scores,the "established" contesters thought he was a fluke. Not so. He eventually brought the top Sweepstakes and CQWW plaques in Georgia. And everyone knew you couldn't win from here.

Bill had the belief and persistence to make it happen. What a talent. He dominated the sprint scene also. It was one of his favorites. He was an ethical contester and I never worried that he would embarass my station's reputation with poor operating. I was so proud of his efforts and attitude.

As their friend and dentist I knew the Fishers well and have the highest regard for their family. May God bless Dana, Graeme, and Erik now and in the days to come. They, and we, have lost a fine person.

We love you Bill, and we will miss you.

Val and Becky

RE: Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by k5tr on April 9, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
It is a beautiful spring afternoon here in the Texas hill country.
One of those days when I would normally be out working on my station
but, when I look at those towers and antennas all I can think about is
my friend Bill Fisher and I miss him.

I will miss the IM messages asking about how to do something in TR-Log
or for help with some broken email list on or talk of
radio or contests to come or contests past or who will win the Tour de

I guess I have known Bill about half of our lives. As it is with this
hobby most of it was via the radio and in the last 10+ years via email
or telephone. When I was in college I used to go hang out in N5KO's
office - since he worked on campus - and Bill would be calling up
after contests to compare notes with Trey.

I think the first time I got to meet Bill in person was when he came
out to N5AU's station for a visit one weekend. The next time I
remember seeing him was this time at Dayton.

> On Tue, Apr 06, 2004 at 11:38:49PM -0500, Scott Neader KA9FOX wrote:
> Another great memory was in May 2000, when Bill flew in for one night of
> the Dayton party at Crowne Plaza. VERY late at night, after many beers, we
> wound up on the 3rd floor of the hotel, by the elevators, just sitting
> around and talking radio, contesting, etc. It was quite a crowd... N5KO,
> K1TO, WC4E, K4OJ, N2AA, W0UA, K6NA, K5TR, plus K9NW and I. Fun, to say the
> least.

KL7RA and N0AX were there too and maybe a few others. It was worth
every moment of lost sleep several times over - the party did not
break up until Bill hitched a ride to the airport at dawn. Bill often
said that this was one of his top ham radio moments of all time.

Over the years one of the amazing things to me is that this radio
hobby is such a social event - even in a contest it is really a huge
social event as each of our friends check in to give us a contact.

When he was building his station I recall him telling me that the
operating was great fun but that he had found that he really enjoyed
building the station, that the building might even be more fun. I
told him I understood - for I too had found that as I was building the
W5KFT station that I too really enjoyed building and designing a
station. I was looking forward to building mine - and to that end Bill
was a great person to trade trade station building tips.

Over this last year I got to operate from his station. Even though I
have never been to Georgia Bill opened his station to me via his
remote. Several times he and I were on the remote at the same time
and chatting via IM - it was like being in the same room and chatting
and tuning the bands and working a few guys and talking about it all
the while. I was so looking forward to installing the remote software
at my station and letting Bill tune the bands from Texas.

This years Tour de France will not be the same - it was great fun
chatting with Bill about how riders were doing and how the race was
going during last years great race.

The last time I talked with Bill he called to talk about some of the
plans at W8JI. Bill and Tom were planning some really cool antennas.
Bill was planning on putting the remote at JI's and I was really
looking forward to listening in to Bill using the antennas they had
planned. And I was looking forward to hearing about what did and
didn't work after the next contest.

Bill, I miss you.


George Fremin III - K5TR
Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by W7VJ on April 10, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
When one meets an individual who exudes passion for a pursuit, it becomes immediately apparent. The moment I met Bill in the Seattle area years ago, I knew that here is a guy who has a passion for contesting, cycling, and life. Bill was a motivator, a champion for amateur radio contesting, and a decent human being. I too will sadly miss Bill and his presence in our sport and community. 73 OM!
From Bill's Mom Reply
by kg7ga on May 3, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Linda Ortman (Bill's Mom) asked me to post this, she felt that the hams closest to bill would enjoy it tremendously. - Garth KG7GA


Dalonegah 4/10/2004

In the warm sunshine of that spring day, we scattered Bill's ashes at his beloved Dalonegah station.
In the cool, soft rain of the night, he returned to the mountains that he adored.

No longer bound by this world, but a part of it.
No longer tied to one place, one time, but free.

Every time you feel the warm sunshine on your face,
Every time you hear the rain softly falling outside your window,
No matter where you are, no matter how far you travel in this big, wide open world,
Remember that Bill's love goes with you; remember Bill is there.

Love from W4AN's Mom†† 73
RE: From Bill's Mom Reply
by N2MG on May 6, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for posting that, Garth.

Mike N2MG
Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by KA9FOX on April 4, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
It's hard to believe, but today marks the 5 year anniversary of Bill's passing.

I still miss you OM.

- Scott KA9FOX
RE: Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by n5ko on April 25, 2009 Mail this to a friend!
Me too, buddy, me too...

--Trey, N5KO


It's hard to believe, but today marks the 5 year anniversary of Bill's passing.

I still miss you OM.

- Scott KA9FOX
RE: Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by k4ro on April 4, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Fishers's departure left a huge void in the contesting world. Six years later, it's clear that void will never be filled. We miss you Bill.
RE: Bill Fisher, W4AN, SK Reply
by n4rj on May 19, 2011 Mail this to a friend!
I still think of you Bill. And miss you greatly.
Email Subscription
You are not subscribed to discussions on this article.

My Subscriptions
Subscriptions Help

Other News Articles
The Spurious Emissions Band at Dayton (2017)
The Pin One Problem, Live at the Visalia Contest Dinner (2017)
QRP ARCI Spring QSO Party April 9,10 2016
RSGB ROtating LOcators Contests
Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge