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Roy Neal, K6DUE SK


It is with great sadness in my heart that I must tell you that my good 
friend and mentor, Roy Neal, K6DUE has passed away today, August 15.  Roy 
was recovering from heart surgery that was performed on August 12 when he 
passed away.

Roy played a pivotal role in bringing amateur radio on-board human 
spaceflight vehicles.  Through his extensive contacts in NASA, he was 
instrumental in convincing NASA management to fly amateur radio on-board 
the Space Shuttle.  Roy's successful negotiations with NASA management led 
to the first on-orbit amateur radio operations by astronaut Owen Garriott, 
W5LFL, on the STS-9 Space Shuttle Columbia flight in November 1983.  He was 
the leader of the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) working group 
and he was instrumental in the formation of the international team that 
represents Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS).  For 
the ARISS program, Roy served as moderator of the ARISS international 
meetings.  K6DUE's extensive experience as a newsman was put into practice 
as he utilized these talents to keep the ARISS team on-track and focused 
during these critical, concensus-gathering meetings.  Roy loved the amateur 
radio hobby in general and continued to be on-the-air until the last few 
weeks of his life.  He provided substantial support and guidance to amateur 
radio organizations such as AMSAT, ARRL and amateur radio news 
organizations such as Newsline.

The general public will remember Roy for his years of outstanding service 
at NBC news.  As the NBC science correspondent, K6DUE covered the space 
program extensively, particularly the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space 
Shuttle missions.  He was personal friends of the astronauts, particularly 
the Mercury 7 astronauts.  Roy was full of stories about the fledgling U.S. 
space program.  I enjoyed countless hours listening to him talk about the 
space missions, the challenges and many of the "behind the scenes" stories 
about what happened before, during and after the flight.  When it came to 
the U.S. space program, Roy Neal was an encyclopedia of knowledge.

As a young child, I remember seeing Roy Neal on NBC news standing near the 
launch pad explaining to me (and the whole world) all the details of the 
upcoming Mercury, Gemini and Apollo flights.  At that time, I would have 
never have guessed that I would not only meet Roy but that he would become 
my personal friend.  I feel blessed to have had such a wonderful person as 
a friend and a mentor.  I will miss him dearly.

K6DUE worked tirelessly to expand amateur radio operations beyond the 
surface of the Earth.  He personally challenged me and the entire ARISS 
team to develop, operate and maintain a permanent amateur radio station on 
ISS.  The ham radio station on-board ISS serves as a living legacy to Roy 
Neal.  As humans extend their reach beyond Earth orbit and into the far 
reaches of the universe, may Roy Neal's spirit inspire us to continue the 
pursuit of expanding amateur radio in space.

On behalf of AMSAT and the ARISS International team, I would like to extend 
our collective condolences to the Neal Family.  Our thoughts and prayers 
are with you.

To Roy Neal SK:   Our sincerest 73's and 88's

Frank H. Bauer, KA3HDO
AMSAT-NA V.P. for Human Spaceflight Programs
Chairman, ARISS International 

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