ARRL Pacific Division Director Jim Tiemstra, K6JAT, of Oakland, California, died October 30. An ARRL Life Member, he was 65.
“Jim was passionate about ham radio and a dedicated member of the ARRL Board of Directors,” ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, said. “He devoted himself to the members of his Division and always strove to do what was best for amateur radio and its future. His knowledge and leadership were significant and will be missed by the many who worked with him and had the pleasure to know him.”
Tiemstra was ARRL Pacific Division Vice Director from 2009 through 2017, sitting on the Administration and Finance, and Programs and Services Committees of the Board. He became ARRL Pacific Division Director in January 2018. Currently, he was a member of the Administration and Finance Committee, the Legal Structure Review Committee, chair of the Legislative Advocacy Committee, and an advisor to the Amateur Radio Legal Defense and Assistance Committee, among other Board assignments.
Licensed in 1970 as WN9ELU in Chicago, Tiemstra was the president of his high school radio club in Illinois. Early on, he built most of his own gear from Heathkits. In 1977, he married Lilah Greene, KE6EHD, and they moved to California, where Tiemstra became N6OIK, later choosing K6JAT as a vanity call sign. He’d also held V26JAT and 3D2TJ and had operated from Curacao and Hawaii.
Primarily a contester and DXer, Tiemstra had been a DXpedition member and had long been involved in the public service aspects of the hobby. As a member of the Oakland Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) group, he was among those responding to the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 and the Oakland Hills firestorm in 1991, receiving a Certificate of Appreciation from the American Red Cross. He championed the Emergency Communication Ham Operation (ECHO) proposal to install amateur radio equipment in his city’s emergency operations center and in each of its 30 fire stations.
Tiemstra worked with his ARES group to gain RACES recognition, wrote the RACES Operations Manual, and was instrumental in forging a formal Letter of Understanding with the City of Oakland. Jim served as Oakland’s RACES Radio Officer for more than 14 years, was on the mayor’s Emergency Management Council, and was ARRL East Bay Section Emergency Coordinator. In 2002, he was recognized by the Oakland Fire Department as Community Volunteer of the Year.
In 1998, Tiemstra incorporated the Oakland Radio Communication Association (ORCA), an ARRL affiliated club, was a founding director, and became its first president. He served as trustee of the club’s call sign, WW6OR.
Tiemstra retired in 2018 as a federal practitioner in the private practice of law. He was an ARRL Diamond Club and Maxim Society member.
He and his wife have twin sons, Robert and Matthew, KI6IHP.