Amateur Radio News

Ham Radio & Audio Pioneer Dr. Bob Heil, K9EID, Becomes a Silent Key

Dr. Bob Heil, K9EID, one of amateur radio’s greatest champions and a dear friend to DX Engineering, passed away February 28, 2024, after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 83.

bob heil in DXE Showroom
(Image/DX Engineering)

Born October 5, 1940, Bob will be remembered by hams around the world for his immeasurable contributions to the art and science of amateur radio, along with his storied career as inventor and sound engineer for some of the biggest names in rock and roll, including the Grateful Dead, Joe Walsh, The Who, and Peter Frampton.

Bob’s invention of the Heil Talk Box in 1973 can be heard on classic tracks like Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way” and Frampton’s “Show Me the Way.” Take a moment to watch Bob interview Peter Frampton here.

DX Engineering has proudly sold the Heil Sound line of microphones, headsets, and audio enhancement equipment for many years—gear that can be found in shacks in every corner of the globe. Bob founded the Illinois-based company in 1966.

“There was no greater friend to ham radio and no more impactful ambassador to the hobby than Bob Heil. It was a true honor to know him, work with him, share our mutual passion for amateur radio, and listen to his amazing stories about a life of making folks sound better, whether it be a musician performing in an arena or a ham rag-chewing at home.

“While his passing is a major loss to the ham radio community, his legacy will live on through every QSO made thanks to a Heil microphone or headset. He was a true legend and simply a great guy.”

Tim Duffy, K3LR, DX Engineering CEO

bob heil sound post
(Image/Heil Sound via Facebook)

Bob visited DX Engineering back in 2018 to talk about new Heil Sound products and regale everyone with tales of handling audio for the elite of the rock world.

bob heil demoing a product
(Image/DX Engineering)
bob heil demoing a headset
(Image/DX Engineering)

Among his many accomplishments, Bob was the recipient of the  “International Ham Radio Operator of the Year Award” in 1982 and the first “Live Sound Pioneer Award” from the Audio Engineering Society in 1995. He served as the host of the popular Ham Nation netcast starting in 2011.

Watch Tim, K3LR, interview Bob at DX Engineering in this video below from ten years ago:

All of us at DX Engineering and OnAllBands express our deepest regrets to Bob’s family and the legions of amateur operators who were fortunate enough to know him and benefit from his immense talents.
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