Robert J. Hajek, age 80, passed away on Sunday, December 23, 2012. Bob was born in Chicago on November 20, 1932, and grew up in Riverside. Bob was a Life Member of APCO International, The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials, and also an Illinois APCO Past Chapter President. Bob was a a licensed Amateur Radio operator, W9QBH, for 65 years. He served as Section Emergency Coordinator for ARRL, the Amateur Radio Relay League. He also served with Melrose Park Public Safety and Brookfield Emergency Services and Disaster Agency.
Bob was a volunteer with the Chicago Area Skywarn Association, which served the National Weather Service (NWS) Forecast Office in Chicago, for many years. Bob worked with the amateur radio community, as well as many county and municpal governments to help relay reports of severe weather to support NWS Chicago's severe weather warning operations. Before high speed internet or satellite based commincations systems were available, Bob pioneered a unique method to transmit weather data to the Chicago area. He had his own National Weather Wire Service downlink. He then re-transmitted weather information, watches and warnings for the Chicago area over an amateur radio frequency. Many Chicago area government agencies picked up his transmission as a cost effective way of receiving critcal weather information. Bob retired and moved to New Mexico in 2005. Bob's contributions and support of the National Weather Service mission are greatly appreciated.