An experienced and successful member of the amateur radio and DX competition community was killed on October 21 in a small plane crash. William “Will” Roberts, AA4NC, of Apex, North Carolina, was piloting the aircraft, which crashed shortly after takeoff in a wooded area in Onslow County, North Carolina, near Holly Ridge / Topsail Island airport, killing Roberts and another passenger, identified as Willie Hobbs, Jr. Two children were hospitalized with injuries. Roberts, 61, was the owner of the Mooney M20J aircraft and held a commercial pilot’s license.
A licensed radio amateur since 1976, Roberts got interested in competition and DX early on and enjoyed being “on the DX side of the pile-up”, as he put it in his QRZ.com Profile. Over the years, Roberts has operated from many locations, including some in South and Central America and others in more exotic locations. He was a regular at the Dayton Hamvention®.
He was on the DXCC honor roll, had hit nine-band DXCC over HF and VUCC over 6 meters. He also liked RTTY. AA4NC has regularly participated in events such as the ARRL 160-Meter competition and the November ARRL competition. He participated in the first World Radio Team Championship (WRTC) in 1990 in Seattle and was a judge at the WRTC 2018 in Germany.
A member of the Potomac Valley Radio Club (PVRC), Roberts was the administrator of W4MR, used occasionally in contests from his home contest station.
Roberts was also a guitarist and singer who performed solo acoustic shows in the Coastal Carolinas and belonged to the Flying Musicians Association (FMA).
A graduate of North Carolina State University, Roberts was an electrical engineer specializing in telecommunications.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) went to the scene of the accident to determine the cause.