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One of the Founders of the CCRA

I first met Bradley G. Watson, WA6AEO while he was going to College Park High School in Pleasant Hill, California. Brad was a high strung perfectionist who loved the idea of going into radio broadcasting and loved playing with amateur radio and computers.

Brad was the button pusher of the original group of the four founders.  While building the repeater controller (electronic device connected to a transmitter and receiver) out of 100 plus CMOS integrated circuits, Peter Danzig, WA6WVH would need to have someone enter the repeater commands.  Brad would quickly enter the 6-10 digits via a telephone style keypad on the HT radio he carried. The repeater commands gave us the ability to  turn the repeater on and off, make phone calls via “autopatch” and various timers needed to keep the repeater from accidently staying in a locked on condition.  Brad was the go to person of the group for this effort since he was able to memorize about 50 different commands and quickly punch in the commands on the keyboard.  Sometimes he would string multiple commands together in a series of command codes.  This gave Peter the time he needed to use a meter or oscilloscope to check individual chip logic states as we trouble shoot the repeater controller.   This effort took weeks at a time and could last 18 hours straight when we were in the repeater building mode which occurred several times during his high school years.

Brad went to San Mateo College and studied broadcasting.  He was so good at it he worked at the KCSM-FM station and did on and off air work.  During these times he was still able to monitor the repeater when he came back to the Concord area.  It is important to note that the original repeater location was at Smith Hill near the intersection of Highway 680 and 24 in Walnut Creek.  This location provided good radio coverage from Moraga to San Ramon to Martinez…the 680/24 corridors.

Over time Brad became the Contra Costa Repeater Association Chair and ran the group for many years.  During this time he was very active with the Northern Amateur Relay Council of California (NARCC) and held coordinator and webmaster positions.  He also had time to help create the Northern California Packet Association (NCPA) where he was actively involved in setting up the packet network that went from Central California to Southern Oregon.

Over time Brad burned out as many bright lights will…  Brad had a falling out with NARCC and lost interest in Amateur radio the 2010 time period.  He continued to do networking, loved music but became a stranger to almost everyone he knew in Amateur Radio.  The CCRA members who knew Brad tried to reach out to him multiple times over the years and get him back into Ham Radio.  But to Brad, Amateur Radio was dead and nothing would change his mind.

It is with sadness that we report that Bradley G. Watson became a silent key on January 8, 2021. Brad was one of the founders of the CCRA and longtime Chair of the Association. He was was active with NARCC and NCPA for many years. He will be missed by his family and friends.

73…Steve Overacker, WA6HAM