God Speed Sherman Winings, WB4RDV, SK
I first met Sherman Winings, WB4RDV on Saturday of the fourth full weekend of June in 1971. He and Peter J. F. Shaw, K4LDR, were set up on the bluff on the south side of Dale Boulevard just east of the present Golden Skillet and Funeral Home (on the back side of the present townhouses along the street.) It looked like the classic two-man Field Day setup. The family waited in the car while I ran up to see what was happening. Sherm and Pete were attempting to solder a PL-259 to a piece of coax and having a very difficult time of it. I offered my help and after the connector was successfully installed we exchanged addresses and agreed to get together later to become acquainted. I had not done Field Day since 1969 and had not found any other hams in Dale City to that point.
As Sherm noted in his first "In the Beginning" article in the Wireloose, Pete and he had assembled a list of hams in the Woodbridge area, had held a few organizing meetings, and were well along towards forming a club. We discussed several ideas for club names and agreed that we didnít want an "ARC" (Amateur Radio Club) name since it was too common. I had heard of the Vienna Wireless Society and suggested we use that model for our club name. With that agreed, we held a meeting and formally organized as the Woodbridge Wireless Society. Sherm was elected our first President.
Field Day turned out to be a natural activity for us. Sherm and Pete had gotten the bug in 1970 and 1971, Pete perhaps earlier, and I had been participating in Field Day since 1956. In addition to the camaraderie of our regular club meetings, Field Day was a way to get together and share our collective knowledge of HF operating practices and techniques. By 1974 with our first operation at the Colonial Bus Barn location, Field Day was a major club activity. Sherm took on the job as Field Day Chairman, a position he held for over ten years. He was the first guy to publish pre-Field Day instructions and hints. He was the guy who decided we should establish the Hoadly Toadlys to recognize the continued dedication and participation of club members in our Field Day efforts. He was the guy who conned me into inventing the ritual we now use. Of course since he suggested it, he got the job as Imperial Bullfrog. He and I talked in early 1995 about the fact that we were approaching our 25th anniversary of club Field Days and that maybe we should do something special to celebrate it. Thus was born the Silver Anniversary Field Day Reunion. It was only natural that Sherm be the Master of Ceremonies.
When the first TRS-80 Radio Shack computers came on the scene, Sherm wrote a program to do dupe checking of callsigns from our Field Day log sheets. In those days, we had to write each contact in a log and enter the callsign in a dupe sheet. It was a lot of work. Sherm took these log sheets and physically typed each call from each log sheet from each station to verify that our score contained no duplicates. Sherm gave a lot of time and effort to the club over the years, much of it unnoticed.
After he handed the Field Day chairman to me Sherm didnít go over to the food tent and just sit around as an elder statesman. He became a guaranteed Band Captain each year (usually 80 Meter CW) until he retired and moved to Centralia MO. Somewhere along the way he also became a regular member of the W4IY Contest Group who twice yearly go to Flagpole Knob for the VHF/UHF contests. And then he kept coming back to WWI to participate in Field Day and the VHF/UHF contests. I was looking forward to joining him next year for Field Day.
Sherm put in a lot of hours for the club, got a lot of fun from his participation in the club, and is a large part of the collective memories of the club. We have lost one of our founders. I shall miss him.
73 de Loyd, K8EI