Frank Reid - In Memoriam

Thoughts about Frank

W9MKV Frank,

You might have never learned my name but I learned yours. You might not have known that I had learned from you but I did. From cave rescue to ham radio to just being a good person, I will be remembering what you did for me.

Thank you and God speed,
KB9LTH Chris

My husband knew Frank for many years via the NSS, and my brother (WB0MHU) via the Dayton Hamvention. I first met him at the singalong at the 1993 Indiana NSS Convention, and was impressed with the wide range of a person who seemed equally at home with a beer in one hand and a guitar in another, or promoting some great scheme involving field telephones or artificial entrance enlargement (Better Caving through Chemistry). But the best story which most typifies his many-faceted character and which involved us is:

The Great Soldering Iron Caper

At the 1995 National Cave Management Symposium (NCMS) Spring Mill State Park, Mitchell, Indiana

As many who read this know, the NCMS is a gathering of cave owners, cave managers, cavers and other interested people who come to learn new techniques for managing caves. These techniques are exchanged both formally in twenty minute presentations and demonstrations, and informally. On Friday October 27, Frank came down to give a presentation on Cave Radio as a Management Tool, which was to be followed by Jeff Moll of Lincoln National Forest (New Mexico) on Use of a Laser System to Survey Caves.

Jeff's presentation was to include a demonstration of a $12,000 survey laser--an electronic gizmo which takes readings suitable for conversion into CAD data, thereby computerizing the map making process. After Moll and Ransom Turner unpacked their delicate electronic equipment, they discovered that one of the connecting cables was broken, after having been slammed in a door, rendering the unit inoperable.

Eugene Vale had hauled our computer to the meeting, and he ran into the duo in the hall having trouble. He volunteered to see if any of our computer cables could be used as a patch to enable them to make their presentation. No go. I came up to our room for something, and found Eugene had stepped out, strange men in my room, cables and gear spread everywhere, and these people wishing for a soldering iron. "Gee, who here would be most likely to have a soldering iron?" Only one name came up. Frank Reid.

So I went in search of Frank.

As it turned out, Frank had just recently arrived, and was talking to people in the dining room. "Hi, Frank," I said, blurting into some conversation. "I've been sent to look for you. There's some people upstairs wondering if you had a soldering iron." He looked a bit quizzical. "I know I have some solder. Let me go look in the car."

I gave him the room number, and went back upstairs. Frank arrived with a roll of solder. "I didn't bring my iron," he said,"but I have a butane torch, and a coat hanger." He cut off a length of metal coat hanger, and heated it with the torch. "This should work, you know," he said. I just looked on in disbelief, as he attempted to melt the solder with the heated coat hanger, in an attempt to fix the broken cable. Despite the application of solder, the unit refused to work. In the meantime, Moll decided to forego the demonstration, and stick with his slideshow, so Frank left, as he had his own presentation to prepare for.

That is the image of Frank Reid which will forever stick in our minds: hunched over a hotel table, a blowtorch in one hand, a hot coat hanger in the other, trying to fix a piece of electronic equipment which cost more than my truck.

We're very lucky to have known him.

73s, Frank, until we too hit that final code key in the sky.

Jo Schaper and Eugene Vale

NSS 27624L & 19197FL

My memories of Frank go back to the early 70's when he rented a small house in Buddy Roger's front yard on Eller Road. Caver Art Gaheimer had been the former tenant and apparently had moved out in a hurry when his life became a little too interesting. Apparently, the same individuals who were seeking Art didn't know about his change of address and proceeded to make life just as interesting for Frank. In response to this unintended stimuli (and because the rent was reasonable), Frank maintained a chemical buckshot launcher behind the door.

Unaware of all these goings on, I proceeded to make a social call on Frank at his new residence to see if he would want to go into Brinegar's and "dig" where some air was coming through a hole. After knocking on both the front and back doors to no avail, I gave up on the idea and went on up to the Barn to see who else was there. Shortly after my arrival, Frank was on the scene, Red-faced and shaken, and visibly upset. When I asked him what was wrong, he said that he had not recognized my VW bus; and was on the verge of ventilating it with his buckshot launcher when he saw my bat sticker reflecting in the yard light and held fire. This is probably one of the few times that a bat sticker has saved anyone's ass; but I'm glad it saved mine.

Frank, you left us with some good tunes and you will be missed more than words have the power to express.

Nick Noe


I can't even remember if I went caving with Frank, but his was a mirthsome presence at CRF expeditions at Mammoth Cave. One time Jenny Sabie and I were driving back to Louisville, talking with Frank via 2-meter, when our car had some sort of trouble. Frank wasn't on I-65, he was on 31W, enjoying the caving road of yesteryear, but he turned around to help us in our distress.  To cheer us up on our way back down the highway he demonstrated his famous "nerd-herding" microwave diode, mounted in a vintage Star Trek phaser. The device would emit enough microwave energy to set off radar detectors, and he gleefully recounted tales of being blown off the road by expensive "yuppies in BMW's, only then I hit 'em with my TRACTOR BEAM!"

It's the adventure of our sporting science of caving to find correlations between the underground world and the things of our more everyday experience.   By showing us how the electric field of even limestone can be made to wiggle in tune with a transmitter, and how passionate pursuits can be tempered with humor and laughter, Frank Reid blessed us all. He is sorely missed.

Alan Canon
Feb 8, 1998


It's OK with me to put my announcement on your Web page. I just wish I could have been more eloquent. I didn't know Frank personally very well, but many can say that. I went caving with him on a few occasions, and he helped with several radio locating projects at Toohey Ridge.

However, I already miss him immensely. I'll all ways be looking for him to drive into the James Cave Project camp, where ever it is. I just home the next time I see a white Toyota pickup drive up I don't blurt out "Here comes Frank!"

The funeral was a appropriate one. Frank only had 4 family members present, but well over 100 friends. The "litter pass" to the hearse and the grave was very emotional. The funeral procession from the funeral home to the cemetery had over 30 cars in it. I'm sure the other motorists that saw it thought "Now there goes someone who was really loved."

Jim Currens

Even though this is later than it should have been...Frank, I will miss
you. We have known each other for many years, and been through the thick
and the thin. You were always a good friend. You will be missed!!!

73's and good cavin in the best of places
Bill Schulze
NSS 12859

Will always remember the talk you gave at the Symposium at Spring Mill
and your dedication to the Cave Community with your homemade radio cave

Roger Gleitz
Wyandotte Cave
NSS 39555

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