Friday, November 17 | 8:00 am – 4:30 pm EST
The 2017 RCA Technical Symposium will be available by live stream on Friday, November 17.

Click here to view the stream

The symposium begins at 8:00 am EST and concludes at 4:30 pm with a lunch break from 12:00 – 1:15 pm.

Full schedule of presentations

Thank you to Icom America for providing the stream!




will speak on

“Public Safety and Emergency Disaster Communications”


Pittsburgh PA, November 17th

Director Glenn Cannon is a Pittsburgh native who has spent his entire career in emergency communications, emergency management, and public safety services, at the city, county, state, and federal levels.  While at FEMA in a very senior position, he reorganized communications resources based on the lessons learned at Hurricane Katrina.   While Director of Pennsylvania’s office of Emergency Management (PEMA) he had responsibility for the state’s communications and emergency response assets.  While working for a manufacturer, he led the program that installed a new IP-based 800 MHz communications system for the State of Florida.   Director Cannon also helped organize the city of Pittsburgh’s first paramedic program back in 1975.  Director Cannon has lectured at FEMA’s National Emergency Management Institute Leadership Program.

Director Cannon will describe to RCA attendees a chronology of emergency disaster communications, starting with his early days in Pittsburgh when the city only had two radio channels (one for police, the other for fire), through the trauma of 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina, to the present day when 4G and 5G networks are evolving to carry high speed data information on cellular style networks.  His perspective will be as a user and planner of communications systems, and his talk will be peppered with real life experiences in his nearly 50 year career.  Don’t miss this talk!

Glenn Cannon Resume


RCA’s 2017 Technical Symposium and Annual Banquet, Pittsburgh PA, November 17th

Start planning now to attend our 2017 Technical Symposium and Annual Awards Banquet in Pittsburgh!

  • The Technical Symposium will start with a continental breakfast for all attendees at 7:30 AM at the William Penn hotel, and runs until 4:30 PM
  • The cocktail reception begins at 5:30 PM and ends at 7:00 PM at the Duquesne Club (325 6th Ave., just a short walk from the William Penn)
  • The Annual Banquet will also be at the Duquesne Club, from 7:00 until 10:00 PM


We an exciting lineup of Technical Symposium presentations which you can find here.

The William Penn Hotel where we will be meeting was the site of a Christmas Day broadcast in 1922, and this photo showing the studio set-up is displayed in the hotel’s lobby:

Unique for this event, we are planning an extensive tour of radio station KDKA, the first commercial radio station in the U.S.!  The tour will commence on Saturday November 18th.

About Radio Station KDKA:

KDKA is a clear channel Class A station operating at 1020 kHz on the AM radio dial.  It is a CBS affiliate with a news and talk format.  The transmitter operates at 50,000 watts, and at night can be heard over much of the eastern U.S. and into Canada, and during the day in the adjacent states and the province of Ontario.  The station also operates a TV station and an FM radio station (93.7 MHz))

KDKA has been called ‘the nation’s first broadcast radio station’ as a result of its broadcast of the presidential election results on November 2, 1920, in the Harding-Cox election (at the time it used the special amateur call sign of 8ZZ).

An extremely thorough historical  analysis of KDKA, including some of the disputes about ‘who was first’, can be found in the Wikepedia article at:  KDKA Wikipedia article

To understand what receiving KDKA meant to some people, we have an article that appeared in the New York World-Telegram Newspaper (now defunct) from May of 1958.  It was the first in a series of articles by writer John Ferris on the early days of broadcast radio.

World Telegram KDKA Article 1958


A room block is reserved at the Omni William Penn Hotel with a special RCA rate of $149/night.

To book your room:

 The RCA rate will be available until 5:00 pm Eastern on Monday, October 23, 2017 or until the block is sold out.

Rooms are also available at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh with a special RCA rate of $199/night.

To book your room:

  • Online: Use the Radio Club of America Booking Link and click “modify” to change your dates accordingly
  • Via Phone: Call the hotel’s reservations line at 1-855-338-3837 and reference Radio Club of America to the reservationist.

 The RCA rate will be available until Tuesday, October 24, 2017 or until the block is sold out.

Rooms are also available at the DoubleTree Pittsburgh Downtown – several blocks from the William Penn with a special rate of $179/night.

There’s a two night minimum stay and the first night must be paid at the time of reservation and is non-refundable.

To book your room:

  • Online: Use this link to make a reservation
  • Via Phone: Call 1-800-222-TREE (8733) – mention the Radio Club of America room block

The RCA rate will be available until Tuesday, October 17, 2017 or until the block is sold out.

 Introducing Radio Club of America

Founded in 1909, the Radio Club of America is the oldest, most prestigious group of wireless communications professionals in the world, with members across the globe. Its members are dedicated to the wireless art and science for the betterment of society. The Radio Club of America is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and all contributions made to RCA are tax exempt.

Creating the Future

The future of wireless belongs to our youth, many of whom are unaware of the importance of the wireless industry, or of the wonderful career opportunities it presents. We have two major programs:

  • Youth Activities, focused on middle and high school students
    • Annually, one or two of the best of our youth present at our Annual Technical Symposium. We have had presentations from our youth on fractal antennas, pole climbing robots, high altitude ballooning, and other innovations
  • Scholarship program, focused on college/university students. We support approximately a dozen universities whose students are studying engineering, broadcast, communications, and similar majors

We believe that our focus on youth ensures the future of the wireless industry, and sets the Radio Club of America apart from most of the other professional wireless organizations. Join with us in creating the future!

Ensuring the Present

The Radio Club of America is also focused on helping wireless professionals of all ages to advance their careers. We accomplish this in several ways:

  • Our Annual Technical Symposium features some of the best minds in wireless, presenting innovative and unique solutions in wireless. Where else will you find the likes of Professor Frank Drake of SETI fame, or such “Wireless Wow” presentations on ‘Invisibility Cloaks,’ spectrum arbitrage, virtual sensors, using RF to disable IEDs, or 3D printed antennas?
  • At our Annual Meeting you will get a chance to meet keynote speakers like Bob Heil (chief engineer for Heil Sound and in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), Walter Cronkite (anchorman for the CBS Evening News for 19 years), Marty Cooper (inventor of the handheld cell phone), Dr. Ted Rappaport (NYU university Professor and wireless professional who has published many textbooks on wireless), David Sumner (past CEO of the American Radio Relay League), and network with industry pioneers like Andy Seybold (well known and published wireless pundit), and Ray Trott P.E. (founder of Trott Communications Group and member of the Wireless Hall of Fame)
  • At our breakfasts at industry trade shows, and other events, you will get a chance to hear from industry notables such as Dave Weisz (Motorola) and Brian Fontes (CEO of National Emergency Number Assoc.)
  • We are planning a new series of RCA educational programs that will provide opportunities for wireless training.  STAY TUNED! 
  • Our partner organization the ETA has numerous additional opportunities for wireless training

Included among our many members are those working in the various segments of the wireless industry, including: Antennas, Broadband, Broadcast, Cellular, Ham Radio, Infrastructure, Manufacturers, Military Communications, Parts Vendors, Public Safety / Land Mobile Radio, and Satellite.

Honoring the Past

The over 100-year history of the Radio Club is the history of wireless communication. The Club keeps alive the memory and lessons of past inventors and innovators, honoring those that contributed so much to the advancement of the wireless art. Included among our previous members were such notables as Major Howard Armstrong (inventor of FM and the superhetrodyne receiver), Dr. Harold Beverage (IRE Medal of Honor Winner, co-inventor of the wave [Beverage] antenna, and VP of Research at RCA), Fred Link (land mobile radio pioneer, founder of Link Radio Corporation, member Wireless Hall of Fame), Jack Poppele (founder of Television Broadcasters Assoc., started the WOR NY radio station, director for Voice of America), and dozens of others. Share the legacy that they left us, and help create new legacies for the future!

Thank you to our 2017 Banquet Sponsors:

Communication & Control, Inc. Telewave Blue Wing Fractal Mission Critical Communications AGL Media Group Rohn Products Black & Veatch


We are adding a new feature to the RCA Website:  a short feature on a current member, what they are doing, and what their wireless interests are.  The member that is featured will be changed regularly.  

If you are interested in being spotlighted, please send a brief summary of your wireless interests, a brief bio, your contact information, and a picture to  We cannot guarantee that every member will be spotlighted, but we will attempt to spotlight as many as we can.

Introducing RCA Member Gordon Vanauken

Gordon Vanauken is a Senior Technology Specialist/Project Manager with Mission Critical Partners in Pennsylvania.  Mr. Vanauken brings over 20 years of varied experience in public safety progressing from hands-on dispatching and 9-1-1 communications center management to Next Generation 9-1-1 plan deployment and consulting.  Gordon’s background includes customer service, training, and public safety dispatching policy and procedures implementation. Mr. Vanauken specializes in public safety communications, Next generation 9-1-1, and public alert and notification.

Mr. Vanauken began his communications career carrying a radio in the Army.  In civilian life, he tried to get away from communications, but ended up working and later supervising an industrial communications desk, working in a pre-9-1-1 county communications center, transitioning to a 9-1-1 center where he was promoted to Training Coordinator.  Mr. Vanauken then became a Technical Consultant where he performed technical support and telecommunicator training for communications centers.  Mr. Vanauken has also served as a County Communication (PSAP) Director and Statewide 9-1-1 Project Manager.



  1. How long have you been in the wireless industry?  Over 20 years in public and private sectors.
  1. What are your specific interests or wireless areas of expertise?  Operations, Interoperability, NG9-1-1, amateur radio.
  1. How many years have you been an RCA member?.  Several
  1. What caused you to join RCA?  To further contribute to the industry.
  1. Where do you live and work?  State College, PA
  1. Is there a specific benefit from the RCA “Member Spotlight” that you are hoping for? (e.g. ‘to meet other members with an interest in X’, or ‘to meet other members in my area’, etc.)  No



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Annual Banquet

The Annual Technical Symposium and Banquet is our opportunity to catch up on the latest wireless innovations, network with the movers and shakers in our industry, and honor our industry’s finest contributors. It is held every year on the weekend before Thanksgiving, at alternating locations across the U.S. to ensure that all members get a chance to attend.  In 2017 we will be meeting in Pittsburgh, PA.  Included in the event will be a tour of the first radio broadcast station in the nation, KDKA, for RCA members who attend.  Stay tuned for more details.

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