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In Remembrance
Don Marquardt, K9SOA
Don Marquardt, K9SOA
1936 - 2006


Donald Albert Marquardt, K9SOA, became a silent key on Sunday, December 10, 2006. He was 70 years old.

Don's daughter, Lynn Clements, said Don had type 1 diabetes and his heart stopped while in his sleep. He was cremated so there was no funeral.

On Friday, January 5, 2007 a memorial service was held for Don at the Hardy Close Funeral Home in Shepherdsville, Kentucky.

Don was a ham for almost 50 years. He enjoyed Field Day, Hamfests and mobile operations working 20 meters, 17 meters, 2 meters, 430/440 MHz and 70cm. In November 2001 Don volunteered as net controller on the club's ARES net. Don helped maintain the B.A.R.S. repeater and set up APRS and EchoLink on the system. He also operated APRS mobile and ran a digipeater for APRS. He had an APRS presentation at our October 2002 meeting. In 2003, Don received the honor of B.A.R.S. Amateur Of The Year for furthering the knowledge of club members and contributing to the Amateur Radio community by demonstrating, promoting and establishing APRS and EchoLink operations for the area and the Bullitt Amateur Radio Society. Upon receiving the award, Don commented he was just doing what's part of Amateur Radio. In 2004, Don served our club as Activities Director.

Don's activites were not limited to just B.A.R.S. At the 2004 and 2005 Greater Louisville Hamfest he provided a live demonstration of EchoLink and APRS. During the 2004 Hamfest Banquet Don spent several hours working on and later providing equipment for a video presentation. His behind-the-scenes work resulted in a flawless program, which was greatly appreciated by the Hamfest committee.

Don also worked with the Jefferson County Search Dog Association setting up an APRS system so they could track the location of their search dogs and team members via amateur radio. This tracking method is now well recognized by Federal agencies. In April, 2005 Don received a Senate Award for his work.

In November 2005 he assisted the Bullitt County Red Cross in setting up their communications room and antenna.

Don was big into electonics and gadgets for many years. In 1959 he bought a 1957 Mercury Turnpike Convertible Cruiser which was the pace car for the Indianapolis 500. By the time he was finished, it had 110 volt power, an 8 inch TV set, 4 police monitors, florescent inside lights, and a dial telephone that rang when his home phone did. That was unheard of in 1960. He used his ham radio for the communications. (Read the complete article.)

Along with ham radio, Don enjoyed automation. With each move to a new home he brought more toys with which to play. In his newest home he spent about 3 weeks installing RG6 and Cat5 everywhere. In all, there was over 5 miles of wire in his 2300 square foot home. Every wall has electric, Cat5 and RG6 outlets every 5 feet. There is not any area in the house that you need more than a 5 foot cord. Every power box has 4 outlets with some where the electronics are located, have 8. For phones, audio, and video, there are similar connection boxes with 3 Cat5 and one RG6 outlets. One of the Cat5 lines in every box is connected to the phone line. There is even power and Cat5 connections in a large walk in closet.

JEANNIE was the result of over 30 years of some form of automation. He named his automation computer "JEANNIE" after the TV show, I Dream of Jeannie staring Barbara Eden. Instead of saying "COMPUTER", Don said "JEANNIE". Just to add a little levity to the home, the computer would reply, "yes master" (with sound clips from the TV show) when it was requested to do something. To watch TV you just ask "JEANNIE, turn on TV", she replies "Yes Master, what channel would you like to watch?". Then just say "WAVE 3" and she turns on the TV, selects the channel and if, the lights are on, dims them for best viewing.

Don started installing more motion detectors and then added all the computer hardware. There are speakers and microphones in every room. All the audio and video equipment (VCR, DVD, CD, Satellite, surveillance cameras) is available on TV's and speakers throughout the house. Each video device is set up to have its own private TV channel. That way anyone can select any unit from any location all at the same time. Each room has it's own audio speakers, volume control, device selection and remote control to the main components.

JEANNIE also controlled his amateur radio motor driven tower that goes from 23 feet to 55 feet high. When fully extended, the very tip of the top antenna was almost 90 feet high. The tower could be operated using the voice control system just by saying "JEANNIE, raise tower" or "JEANNIE, lower tower". If the tower was extended and the wind got over 15 mph, the automation system will automatically lower the tower to minimum height. This reduced the chance for damage, whether anyone is home or not.

Don also installed a 120-inch front projection system along with two 301 disk jukebox DVD/CD players with his entire DVD and CD collection. Just say, "JEANNIE, play Reba" and the correct disk is selected, and the audio system turned on. The 120-inch screen displays a picture 6 foot high by 8 foot wide. The projector could display up to a 300-inch picture (15 feet by 20 feet) if there was room. Say "JEANNIE play Neil Diamond Concert" and the system selects the DVD, the projector turns on, the lights dim and the drapes close as needed. Then just sit down, relax and enjoy the show. The seating area is a home theater system.

Don called his house the "Home of JEANNIE - The House That Listens". The voice controlled automated home appeared on HGTV's Dream Builder show, was the featured home of the month in Home Automation magazine's March 2002 issue and was the featured home of the month in the Kentucky Living magazine's May 2003 issue. The voice controlled home automation system controlled just about everything in the home from Lighting, security sensors, security cameras, water, heating, air conditioning, telephone and even calling and placing an order for water delivery when the well doesn't keep up with demand and the storage tanks get low. Everything electrical could be controlled remotely over the internet from anywhere in the world. Even visitors to his web site could turn almost every light and fan in the home on or off.

Don's last project was JEANNIE's Country Christmas Dancing Lights Display in December 2006. The lighting display had approximately 40,000 lights controlled by four Light-O-Rama LOR-1602W controllers with a total of 64 lighting channels. Each channel handled ten to fifteen strings of lights. A Light-O-Rama MP3 controller played the audio and controlled the dancing lights. The manger scene consists of four full size mannequins. The Angel was six feet three inches tall with feather wings. Joseph and the Wiseman were both six feet two inches tall. Mary was five feet eight inches. All the costumes were custom made for this display with an 8 foot by 4 foot manger. Don's light display was featured in the December 100, 2006 edition of Pioneer News.

Along with these hobbies, Don enjoyed spending time with his daughter and two grandsons. He also enjoyed dancing, going to movies and gardening. He called himself an "old style romantic type" and especially liked country music. Although his skills and talents were beyond most people's dreams, Don was always willing to share what he knew. Although you could see the pride he had in all he did, he never bragged or made anyone feel uncomfortable. Don was an honest, caring person with a positive attitude and respect for others. He was a great friend to those who knew him, a help to the people, clubs and organizations he worked with and a credit to the community.

We at B.A.R.S. will always remember Don for his friendship and continuous contributions to the club. He will be greatly missed by all of us.