I am more than sad, I am heart-broken. What could be more shocking than to look at a web site and see the picture of a good friend, and read the news that he was dead at age 67. That’s what happened to me on Thursday of this week.
A little background: Wayne Long was more than two things, but the two things that connected us was Amateur Radio and writing. Wayne was K9YNF and I am W4BTX. We shared two passions, ham radio and writing fiction. I first encountered Wayne on our 20 meter ham band (14.000 Mhz) about three years ago. I heard him telling some ham he was chatting with that he wrote short stories. That intrigued me, so I called him and we began having regular meetings on the air – Wayne in Wisconsin, and me in Atlanta, Georgia.
Over the course of time I told Wayne of my years of fighting the print publishing closed society, and losing the battle. Even though I once had two literary agents, we just never could get past the cob-up-your-ass attitude of the NYC publishers. Wayne said, “Why don’t you try ePublishing your work?” I didn’t even know what ePublishing was. He directed me to Smashwords, which was a beginning, but then I found Amazon and now have several books and a number of stories in the Amazon library. Had it not been for Wayne Long, I never would have achieved even the modest following that I now have.
Wayne was also a avid ham radio operator and had confirmed contacts with over 300 different countries. He was honored by having one of his ham-related stories published in QST the magazine of our national Amateur Radio Organization.
When someone in the ham community dies we referred to them as a “Silent Key,” a reference to the days of Morse code when an operator ceased transmitting and his hand key became silent. Wayne Long was much too young to leave us in such a shocking manner. He was a good friend, and I will miss him. He was a fine man, a great example of what an Amateur Radio operator should be, and a talented writer. SK Wayne, and God speed. Heaven is lucky to have you.