Eric Bailey, Juneau, Alaska

This is a little corner of the internet to remember my friend Eric, one of the finest people that I had the honor to know.

Some years ago I published a piece of technical software for the Mac to display the current status of solar activity, an information that is needed by shortwave amateurs around the world to predict signal propagation. I was contacted by one of the users of that software with an inquiry as to add another specific spectrum filter so I added the same and sent him a custom version.

It turns out that Gentleman was a ham radio enthusiast in Juneau, Alaska, Mr. Eric Bailey, call sign WL7CMT. Out of his interest for the software, ham radio in general and his never ending desire to learn, we started a conversation about technical topics which soon developed into a very active and frequent dialogue just about every subject under the sun. Soon we shared insights on culture, history, personal relations via eMail across a distance of several thousands of miles.

What began as casual dialog on radio technology developed into one of the most intense intellectual exchanges. Over the course of weeks, months and years we exchanged eMails of several pages of size on a daily basis. We both came from very different cultural backgrounds, one being a liberal American, living in an isolated but intensely beautiful landscape, the other having just returned from years of living abroad, mostly in Asia. One being an American with his heart close to Europe, the other being a European with an intense past in America, occasionally feeling more like an American than European.

Over many years I witnessed Eric to be a kind and intelligent man with plenty of interests. He had traveled and met Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the Swiss born psychiatrist that researched the psychology of death. Eric was able to give a precise account of his experiences there. The next day we discussed the electrical properties of high impedance matched endfed halfwave antennas and their properties near salt water. Then, I was told about the economics of delivering frozen turkeys on thanksgiving. Then, we discussed the potential for using microfiltration to separate gold dust from an abrasion agent.

Eric was a man that believed in what he did. His day job was to work in an organic food store in Juneau. In his past time he went digging for gold in a gold field, moved apartments or helped renovate a house.
I learned that living in Alaska is not easy, let alone cheap so Erics life was often marked by the struggle of making ends meet. Still I never heard him complain or speak badly about anyone. His wife left him long time ago as he was often gone for extended periods of time for work. I recall speaking to him on thanksgiving where I offerend him to skype as I know that Thanksgiving alone can be quite lonely in the US.

On the 11th of March 2015 Eric wrote me an eMail, his last words were:

“Still winter here. Inch or so of snow last night and the past few days. still cold, inside and outside the apt.

Hope you’re happy, friend, and having some fun.”

As I could not get hold of him after that, I contacted his employer and was told that Eric had passed away after a brief battle with cancer and a staph infection.

Farewell, Eric, you were a fine and honorable man. I miss you.

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