With heavy heart I report the ham radio world just lost an outstanding contester, DXpeditioner, and ambassador for the hobby. Bill Vanderheide, N7OU, passed away on December 31 in Portland, Oregon, after a year-long battle with cancer. Bill was 70. He was a member of the ARRL, the Willamette Valley DX Club, and was a sorter with the Seventh Area ARRL QSL Bureau.
Bill was first licensed in Michigan at age 13. Bill was an avid CW operator, a regular and high-scoring participant in ARRL Sweepstakes, Field Day and other contests (always QRP or low power with wire antennas). Bill was a keen practitioner of the lightweight DXpedition. Bill operated from a dozen islands in the South Pacific, as well as several in the Caribbean. On many of those trips Bill combined ham radio with service in the Global Volunteers organization, helping out in local classrooms. Bill wrote articles about many of his trips for amateur radio magazines such as QST and The DX Magazine.
Bill’s career was as an educator, teaching for over 30 years in the Portland area. In addition to ham radio, Bill was an excellent tennis player, a docent at a local Frank Lloyd Wright house, and (after retirement) a volunteer at Portland schools.
I was so privileged to participate with Bill on nine DXpeditions and numerous Field Day weekends. Bill was the ideal traveling companion. He had wide-ranging interests, was humble, ego-less, yet motivated, disciplined, technically competent, and a first-class CW operator. Bill was, above all, a wonderful friend.
— Bob Norin, W7YAQ