After almost 92 years, Reese Whitney of Wimberley, Texas - the 'Budster' – lifelong Amateur Radio enthusiast and technician has joined the 'Silent Key'. He passed away peacefully on Thursday, Sep. 1st, 2011. His fascinating life experience and accomplishments were captured perfectly in the foreword to his book on Collins Radio Repair by fellow ham R. Smith Schuneman
" Born in Kendall, Kansas, Bud first became interested in radios as a sophomore in high school after his family had moved to a small town in Idaho. One of his instructors was a ham – L. D. Patterson – who taught a radio class. Each student donated a buck to buy an old radio and then use the parts to build a simple regenerative receiver. Bud's radio was contained in a metal chalk box with plug in coils protruding from the back. When he completed it and got it working, he took it home, and played the first radio broadcast his parents had ever heard. He completed high school in Idaho.
Bud's family next moved to Coos Bay, Oregon. Bud found work in the shipyards and learned how to weld. He met his first real Elmer, David Irvine, W7MJE (now a SK). David helped Bud learn more about radio theory and radio construction. When World War II was declared, Bud enlisted in the Navy. His mechanical experience earned him a machinist mate rating, and he served in active duty aboard an LCS in the South Pacific. At the end of the war Bud resumed work in the Oregon shipyards. Shortly afterwards a friend persuaded Bud to join him in the Pacific Northwest in the lumber business. Before long, he yearned for a new hobby and took up gunsmithing. With his skill and craftsmanship, that soon that became his trade and full-time business.
His interest in radio had persisted, though, and once again he needed a new hobby. By December of 1961 by was ready for the novice exam, and he earned the license with the call letters K7RMT. Bud had copied CW (morse code) with a Hammarlund SP600 JX receiver which he had acquired from another young ham through a swap of a gun he had made. Next Bud built Heathkit's – one fine way to improve on soldering techniques and component placement.
In 1963, while in his early '40's, Bud took a commercial assignment in South Vietnam. His new employer had contracted to build docks and piers. He had been hired for his shipyard experience coupled with radio knowledge and a ham ticket. Once there he was in charge of 45 marine and shore stations, amateur and commercial, located in Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand. He designed the stations, specified the equipment, acquired and installed it, and then maintained the stations. Bud says that the only transmitters and receivers that would stand up under the temperatures and atmospheric conditions in that part of the world were Collins.
At that time Collins stationed a technical representative on Okinawa. He was Martin Fenton, KR6UL, who consulted with Bud regularly on complex problems involving the 45-station network under Bud's watch. "I was hard put to keep it all running with my short time of experience as a professional in the business of my hobby," said Bud. "Martin was invaluable to me, and I gained much needed experience on Collins radios with his wonderful help."
For 20 years Bud served primarily overseas. He held licenses in Singapore, Indonesia, New Guinea, Bahrain, and Kuwait. During this time Bud married his wife, Jan, a native of Singapore, who was working for Henry Radio as liaison with the Singapore government.
In 1983 Bud, Jan, and her son, Stanley, arrived in Texas to start a different kind of life. As Bud was nearing 64 years old, they had thought it would be retirement. Bud soon adopted Stanley, and a new family home was built atop a wonderful hill in Wimberley, a small town southwest of Austin smack in the Texas Hill Country. A special workshop was included in the plan for Bud's continuing work on Collins radios. A business developed that has kept him nearly fully occupied for the past 20 plus years.
Included on the property was room for installation of an impressive antenna farm with two 72-foot crank-up towers, one supporting a five element 20-meter Telerex beam on a 36-foot boom. From that antenna Bud maintained daily contact on 14.253 MHz with a fascinating group of friends stretched from Australia to Maine, Florida, Kentucky, Iowa, the Caribbean, and other points of the world. "
Bud is survived by his loving wife of 42 years Jan Whitney, and children Larry Whitney, Kathy Whitney, Lova McMahon, Michael Whitney, Stanley Whitney, eight grand children, six great grandchildren, and one great, great grandchild. A memorial service will be held at 1pm, Thursday, Sept. 8th at the Chapel in the Hills, Wimberley, Texas.
In lieu of flowers please consider donations to the Wimberley EMS (http://www.wimberleyems.com/) and the Chapel in the Hills (http://wimberleychapelinthehills.com).