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Recent Posts

Danny Hampton, K4ITL Repeater Builder, Mentor, SERA Leader & FCC Liaison, SK February 28, 2024

OCRA like many other ham clubs, repeater builders and users owe a great debt of graditude to Danny, K4ITL for his very gracious and generous help to anyone with a genuine willingness to learn and build repeater systems to his level of excellence.

Below is the lifetime membership presented by OCRA to Danny at the April 2009 RARS Hamfest in appreciation for his technical assistance, mentoring and advice over the years that has greatly helped in keeping the tall tower OCRA 442.150 repeater on the air.

His talent and generosity was widely recognized.

https://hamvention.org/2009-hamvention-award-winners/

https://www.wral.com/story/engineering-contractor-danny-hampton-has-died/21308694/

http://pcrn.net/

https://sera.org/home/

© 2024 photo by KR4UB, OCRA Inc

The plaque gold section above contains the award text in Braille

© 2024 photo by KR4UB, OCRA Inc

A perspective from two long time repeater builders……

Charlie Durst NC4CD, principle DFMA Repeater Builder

https://www.dfma.org/

It was with great sadness that I heard on Wednesday evening that Danny Hampton, K4ITL, of Raleigh, had died.

I first met Danny in the early 70’s at his home in Raleigh. One of the original members of DFMA, Wayland “Doc” McKenzie, K4CHS, took me to meet Danny one evening at his home. He said, “let me turn on some lights for you”. Danny was blind since birth and his wife, Sandy, was also blind. Together they raised their two children, both sighted. After Sandy’s death, he married a childhood friend, Rose, who survives him. Danny grew up in Kannapolis and attended the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh. He had become quite skilled in electronics and worked for the Johnson radio dealer and later with Nextel. After Nextel, he worked with my CSI business partner, Elmo Yancey, in their company, Direct Call. Direct Call provided community repeater and telephone interconnect radio systems before cell phones were available. CSI built the towers for Direct Call.

Danny was a master at designing and building repeaters and linked repeater systems. In the 1970’s he built the PCRN analog linked repeater system that covered North Carolina from coast to coast and into Virginia and South Carolina. As digital radio technology emerged, he designed and built the PRN system which now has over 60 repeaters in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia linked via the internet using DMR technology originally pioneered for the commercial market by Motorola.

Danny developed an amazing skill at tuning receivers, transmitters, and duplexers to make a highly functioning repeater. He had a service monitor and other test equipment that ‘talked’ to him. Relying on a keen sense of hearing, he could probably hear a tenth of a dB change in a noise level in a receiver he was tuning.

Many repeaters in the Carolinas and Virginia transmit the call sign K4ITL. Many of these repeaters are on tall TV towers in Raleigh, Greensboro, Wilmington and had the equipment located near the antennas at heights of over 1500 feet. On several occasions, a repeater would develop a technical problem that required his personal attention. He would put on his safety belt and ride the elevator up the tower to the repeater. Someone asked him if he was afraid of those heights. His response was, “No, I don’t look down !!”

On many occasions Danny’s days and nights would get mixed up and he would send me an email at midnight asking if I was still up for a phone call. Being a night-owl, I would email back and we would talk on the phone until 1 or 2 am about some technical subject. I knew he was ok with email because his computer talked to him.

Danny was recognized for his skills and contributions to the repeater community at the Dayton Hamvention in 2009 when he received the “Ham of the Year” award. Danny was instrumental in the Southeast Repeater Association (SERA) since its beginning in the early 70’s as the Carolinas Virginia Repeater Association. For many years he was the Director for the North Carolina Division and was currently serving as President of SERA.

The ‘shoes that will have to be filled’ by his absence are tremendous. The loss of Danny leaves a void in our hearts as he was a dear friend of many. His expert technical abilities will be difficult to be replaced. The funeral service will be at the McCullers Community Baptist Church in Raleigh with visitation at noon and the funeral at 1 pm on Wednesday, March 6th.

Rest in peace, good friend. Enjoy the tallest antenna site and the beautiful view that you can see from there.

73 Charlie NC4CD

Dan KR4UB, principle OCRA Repeater Builder

We both grew up in Kannapolis, NC where our paths crossed two different ways. In looking through my amateur radio station log, my first QSO with Danny was on June 14, 1964 on 3.830 with Danny back for the summer at his childhood home, a whole 2 miles away. Things seemed a lot more distant as a kid back then.

I eventually met Danny face to face through a conversation his father and my father had.  Our respective fathers worked at two businesses just a block or two apart, and both were customers of each other’s business. That’s the way things were in a small town.  One day Danny’s father stopped by my Dad’s workplace and as typical, Dad’s talked about what their kids were up to.

When Danny’s father Wade Hampton Sr., was told of my desire to go the NC State to get an engineering degree, he strongly urged I have a face to face conversation with Danny.

Danny spent much of his early childhood as student in Raleigh at the NC School for the Blind and knew about NC State’s reputation of being a very tough engineering school. He  had a piece of advice to give me. His words were, “if you’re planning to go to NC State, you better be prepared to work your ass off”.  How true that turned out to be.  He was not one to mince words and spoke plainly and directly.

Our paths did not cross again until 30 years later, when John Welton, N4SJW and I took on responsibility for the OCRA 442.150 and the other club repeaters.  Danny was very gracious and generous to anyone who demonstrated a genuine willingness to learn and build repeater systems to his level of excellence.  You can’t venture very far in the ham community without crossing paths with many others that Danny has similarly helped and turned into long term working relationships.

He was gifted in his ability in building relationships with so many hams and institutions who in turn, helped him build the repeater systems he dreamed of.

Maybe it was growing up in a small town where most everybody seemed to know everybody and if you needed help and was one willing to give help, life long relationships were built.

73  Dan, KR4UB

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