K8BUF Richard J. Briggs

Ham Radio Amateur
Extra Class at K8BUF
Harrison charter Township Michigan 48045

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The inspiration for AirSho.com and my buddy since 1956 passed away in 2016 - Briggsie will tech support here forever" N8DMV

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More About K8BUF Richard J. Briggs

Tribute to a husband, father, grandfather and friend...

 Anyone who ever communicated with K8BUF is invited to add memories to this site.  
Click "Send a message" above.

If you have a QSL card that Dick filled out we would appreciate it if you would let us know.
We'll communicate the easiest way to get a copy of both sides to display on this page. 


"How ya doin' ?"


It was a garage in 1957 where my ham radio station 1st hit the air.  “CQ, CQ this is K8AHY...can anybody hear me?”   "Five by nine" said a familiar voice in the speaker, but I couldn't quite place it.  "Where are you," I asked.  "Detroit,"  he said.  "Where exactly?"  "On Trinity in Brightmoor."   Turns out the voice was W8RFR, the 'old man' across the street whose transmitter had been getting into our TV for months.  

My next contact was further, 9 blocks away.  "How ya doin"? he said.  It was K8BUF, Richard D. Briggs -- actually his middle initial is really J but I liked D (for Dick) so that's what I called him.  "Briggsie" thought I was hilarious; we instantly became inseparable friends. He was a year older and a student at Redford High School where I was about to enter the 9th grade and General Patton (actor George C. Scott) had graduated 10 years earlier.    

K8BUF fixed my neighbor's TV interference problems, and helped me to reach other hams around the world, and to become a member of Redford High School’s radio club in the attic.  It was an exciting adventure into a scarry new world -- the attic gave us "hamsters" access into the air ducts over the girls’ locker room.  Note:  George C. Scott was the founder of that radio club

The next 3 years I attended Wilbur Wright High, a trade school near downtown Detroit.  I chose a school 15 miles from home mainly because our friend Dean Kolden’s father taught there and would give us a ride.  Briggsie signed up to go with us, like me, to learn electronics but he had to cancel, said Dick, "because my dad lost his job, couldn't afford the bus fare."   I think he just didn't wanted to spend that much time alone in a car with a teacher.  Dick was rarely wrong.  Whenever I was a two seconds late, old man Kolden would speed off waving in his rearview forcing me to walk a mile to catch a bus to downtown.  On those days I got there after lunch.  

Of the three of us, Briggs was first to get a car and would often pick me up after school or job (at WTVS-TV & WDTR-FM, the Detroit Public Schools stations).  We'd head for Duffy or Reno Radio (downtown Detroit ham stores) to window shop -- look at the amazing stuff (transmitters, receivers) that we couldn't afford.  Have-nots have to build their own equipment.  Dick's & my money came from caddying at the Detroit Golf Club. The country club was a block from where 8 year old Mitt Romney lived.  Dick carried George Romney and other local celebrities' golf bags more than once.  Rich 'gophers' (we called them) loved it when the smallest of the caddies worked for them.  Briggs was a status symbol -- they'd show off to their buddies how strong he was -- and Dick smiled all the way to the bank.  He was selected to caddie more than the rest of us.   K8BUF could figure out how to do anything -- radio, car wise or whatever wise -- no matter how long it took.   Richard D. Briggs installed the first 45 RPM record player in a car.  The needle rarely skipped (and he fixed that too).

Dick and I setup a radio studio in my grandmother's garage where we'd practice being disc jockeys. My best buddies were my first audience (and creative inspiration) for a broadcasting career -- I first used the name Ron, then,Tom Dean on the air.   Ron was Dick's younger brother.    Dean played a trombone.   Dick almost got into show biz, too.   He answered an ad and was offered "$100 a week" by Berry Gordy Jr himself to help upgrade MoTown's original 3 track tape recorders. Dick declined telling  Gordy Jr:  “I make more money at the grocery store.”  Dick could press 500 pounds with his legs.  Whether it was climbing trees to string antennas, go on another non-stop bike ride with me to small airports around Detroit or loosen a rusted lug nut, Dick never tired.   He was ALL muscle (thankfully we never argued).  Everyone got a kick out of his magnetic personality and jokes.  I got my sense of humor from Dick, Dean (the tromboner) and my grandmother.  Gram lost control if ever someone made her laugh... "Denny, stop!!" (laughing and flatu-tooting with her legs crossed).  Dick's face turned red anytime he forgot and popped a funny.


Dick waited patiently for the love of his life

Richard Briggs loved customizing cars with personalities all their own. His first was a 1949 Ford Business Coupe (with the smaller backseat) that had white Crestliner trim on the side, which was not a Ford option.   His 2nd was the '46 Ford he bought from me for $85 when I joined the Air Force.   Girls always wanted to go for a ride in Briggsmobiles, but Dick knew exactly what he wanted. He baited the hook for a sweetheart named Faith. They honeymooned (drove to the wedding night hotel) in a 1960 Dodge Seneca.  

Hams love technology, including radio control model airplanes. Dick helped me take my 1st aerial photo, and 50 years later to solve issues I'd have with AirSho.com 

Richard Briggs could lift 6' 2" me over his head

Dick bought my 1st car a 1946 Ford. It had "suicide" doors

Riding in a Briggs car was a privilege -- "Sorry girls, we're trolling for Faith"

K8BUF helped write the book on radio control aircraft

Bottom to top -- Dick & Dean decorating Denny


K8BUF was full of surprises.   Once he, me and Dean took an unplanned ride 'downtown' after Briggs threw a cherry bomb out the back window -- "by accident," said Mr Dickster -- under a motorcycle cop pulling up to the traffic light. 

"Good evening, gentlemen... step out of the car"

After sowing our wild oats, Dean, Dick and I found amazing wives, albeit, my search took longer.  Dick and I lost touch for a long while after I joined the Air Force and began working in commercial radio.   That distraction caused me to take  forever to grow up.  Dean and Dick celebrated their 50th plus anniversaries.  It took me 20 years to figure out how to do that -- Melissa and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary July 12th this year.

I didn't realize it until many years later that Dick had really been my brother or maybe the father I never knew. Coming from a twice broken home I didn't know how to act.   God knew something about the future -- that it was time for me to find Dick's phone number.   I discovered that without the electronics trade high school advantage I'd had, Richard Briggs on his own had become (top-of-the-line in three vocations) a First Class Radio-TV engineer, an Extra-Class amateur radio operator, and a licensed Journeyman electrician.   Thankfully Dick Briggs and I were able to spend his final years remembering our beginning.   When we reunited, I balled like a baby and hugged my little buddy with all my might -- he'd gotten older -- and it hit me like a ton of bricks realizing that I'd not been there for him, to share our lives, our families, and our maturing.  I'll never forgive myself for such incredible naivety.

I respect that which Richard Briggs learned and practiced throughout his life.   He told me that Faith taught him, "The family that stays together…stays together." Thanksgivings were his favorite.  The Briggs' held family celebrations in their garage where parents, grandparents, children and friends were enough to keep the get-togethers warm and loving, no matter what the weather.

Dick once reminded me:  “our brains work on electric impulses...I see a time when a chip under our skin will record every moment of our lives…which we'll playback anytime we want.”  The Briggs-Brain-Recorder isn’t a reality yet, so I still rely on my horse and buggy brain to recall the experiences with those close to me. We become weaker as we grow old, but it will take more than that to take those memories away from me.

K8BUF and K8AHY will find new ways to communicate, and never again be separated.   I routinely exercise now, sometimes 7 days a week, and hear my muscle-building-buddy saying: "keep going Den...every exertion you make strengthens everything from your heart, lungs and bones to slowing down disease, stress and growing old."

To Dick and Faith Briggs I say thank you for the example of your lives lived with Christ, for giving people like me the strength to smile knowing that my friend is free of pain and tech-supporting heaven now and forever.
Dennis A. Taetsch
N8DMV (formerly K8AHY)

K8BUF Richard J. Briggs Audio Files

K8BUF Richard J. Briggs Reviews

Submitted by N8DMV on Friday, Sep 29, 2017

K8BUF was my 2nd contact

"How ya doin"? he said. It was K8BUF, Richard D. Briggs -- actually his middle initial is really J but I liked D (for Dick) so that's what I called him. "Briggsie" thought I was hilarious; we instantly became inseparable friends. He was a year older and a student at Redford High School where I was about to enter the 9th grade and General Patton (actor George C. Scott) had graduated 10 years earlier.

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K8BUF Richard J. Briggs QSL - Photo Albums

QSL 2016

The inspiration for AirSho.com and my best buddy since first getting our ham tickets in 1956 passed away March 7, 2016 - Briggsie will remain our tech support forever....

K8BUF Richard J. Briggs Videos

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Posted by K8BUF Richard J. Briggs on 09/29/2017

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