1985 – 2009
A HISTORY OF THE RADIO CLUB OF AMERICA
For the years 1985 to 2009
Kenneth A. Hoagland, Chair. Historical Committee
As John Morrisey, a major contributor and co-chairman for preparation of the Diamond Jubilee Yearbook, explained in his writings concerned with the years from 1958 to 1984: “ the Yearbook no longer needed to tell the stories of the achievements of our members, or of the annual Awards Dinner and the honors granted, because the Proceedings now records that information”.
For the Platinum Anniversary, advances in techniques and equipment for digital recording of information has made it possible to record all Proceedings and other publications from the beginning year of 1909 to 2009. Now a DVD, readable by a computer, not only contains the complete Proceedings information, but also provides copies of the Golden and Diamond Anniversary Yearbooks. Club members who made this achievement possible are cited in Part 1 of this history. Part 2 is a review of Proceedings content for the years 1985 to 2009, and Part 3 discusses likely events in technology for future years with recommendations on how RCA should plan to participate.
MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS TO THE PRESERVATION OF RCA HISTORY
One of the goals of Jerry Minter, President Emeritus of RCA, and an active member from 1942 until his death in 2009, was the preservation of RCA historical documents, including all issues of the Proceedings and other material dating to the beginning year of 1909. Jerry, the CEO of Components Corporation in Denville, NJ, stored the historical items in a former residential building on Components Corporation property. In addition to collecting and storing historical documents, Jerry’s services to the Club were outstanding. Besides being President twice and a Director for many years (awarded Director Emeritus in 1995), he worked almost continuously on committees including those concerned with nominations and awards and the Historical Committee.
Identifying and setting up a filing system for the Proceedings and other documents has been the task of June Poppele, nominated as an Honorary Member of the Radio Club in 1981. Since June resides in Morristown, NJ, only a few miles from Denville, she was able to make frequent trips to assist Jerry in many required tasks. In addition to serving as Chair of the Good & Welfare Committee, June has been a very helpful member of the Historical Committee, supplying Karen Clark with copies of the Proceedings and other documents.
When the full set of Proceedings became available, members of the Historical Committee considered ways to digitally scan the documents and investigated commercial sources capable of scanning and converting all information to CD or DVD storage. It was soon evident that such a scan procedure would involve significant costs. As so often happens when Club members are made aware of a task to be done, member and Director Ron Jakubowski (K2RJ) offered his services, at no cost, to do the scanning and conversion to DVD format. Ron completed the scan of all Proceedings, plus the Golden Anniversary and Diamond Anniversary Yearbooks, in September of this year. Ron’s services have saved the Club a significant amount of money and made a wealth of RCA history available to persons attending the 100th Anniversary Celebration in November. It is important that the availability of this DVD be advertised on the RCA website and in publications that are read by radio amateurs, by research laboratories, Wireless Museum curators, and university librarians.
A REVIEW OF PROCEEDINGS CONTENT FOR THE YEARS 1909 TO 2009
As has been the case for many years, Proceedings are published as Spring and Fall issues. Both issues contain feature articles, however the Spring issue typically describes events at the annual Awards Dinner in November of the previous year including the honors and awards presented. Other significant material in either issue are biographies and obituaries describing the lifetime contributions of members, including activities devoted to RCA. What follows is a brief review citing some items in the Proceedings for the last 25 years.
Spring 1985- Article by Dr. Tanenbaum, a VP of AT&T, on concerns related to the dissolution of Bell Labs from AT&T, mentions RCA’s first female member and Fellow Vivian Carr, who worked with Dr. Tanenbaum at AT&T. (page 3-6)
Spring 1986- Article by Dr. James E. Brittain (M 1993, F 1985) on Alexanderson Radio Alternators. Dr. Brittain, who prepared a number of excellent articles for the RCA Proceedings, has since become an Associate Editor for the Proceedings of the IEEE and publishes an article in each monthly issue on IEEE history. (page 3-8)
Fall 1986- Article on Jack Poppele, who passed away October 7, 1986. (page 3-5) Another article on Jack Poppele appears in the Fall 2007 issue. (page 21-22)
Fall 1989- First of several technical articles written by President Emeritus Jerry Minter (page 5-11). Other articles appear in the Autumn 1995 issue (page 15-24), the Spring 1997 issue (page 32-) and the Fall 2000 issue (page2-4).
May 1990- Article on Harry W. Houch, RCA pioneer who worked with Edwin H. Armstrong during World War I. Also, a biography on W.E.D Stokes, first RCA president (page 16-18).
May 1991- Article on Edwin H. Armstrong by President Emeritus Frank Gunther (page 15-19). Biography of Frank Gunther appears on page 19.
May 1992- Articles on W.E.D. Stokes and Major E.H. Armstrong. (page 3-23).
November 1992- Fred Link ends Presidency and is elected President Emeritus. (page 3).
November 1993- Article by Dr. John S. Belrose on Fessendon and the early history of radio science. (page 6-21).
May 1994- Mal Gurian elected 34th RCA president (page 2). Article by John Dettra on the Grants-in-Aid fund for financial aid to students in tele-communications and electronics.
November 1994- Biography of Stu Meyer, 1993 President, who passed away May 21, 1994 (page 2). Article on Francis H. Shepard (1906-1994), RCA pioneer and President 1954-1955 (page 43-).
Autumn 1995- Article by Carole Perry (WB2MGP) on her classroom experience teaching amateur radio to young students (page 2-4). Another article by Carole appears in the Spring 2009 issue (page 8-14). Jerry Minter’s autobiography (page 15-24).
Spring 1997- Article by Martin Cooper and Marc Goldberg on antenna technology for personal communications systems (page 6-).
Fall 1998- Tribute to Fred Link by Mercy Contreras and RCA members (page 2-6). Fred Link obituary (page8-12).
Spring 1999- List of past presidents, 1909 to 1999 (page 32).
Fall 2002- Mal Gurian article on the history of OKI Cellular (page 2-16). Article on Richard Somers, “From Entrepreneur To Mentor” (page 18-20).
Spring 2003- Maurice Zouary article on Dr. DeForest and early broadcasting (page20-23). Also by Zouary, article on DeForest’s Audion tube invention in the Spring 2006 issue.
Fall 2004- Article on Fred Link (page 6-18).
Spring 2007- Richard Biby article on AM detuning of cellular towers (page 6-12).
Spring 2008- Marty Cooper article on how to ensure growth of the Radio Club (page 6).
FUTURE TECHNOLOGY GROWTH AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RCA PARTICIPATION
Since the early days of Wireless, the Radio Club membership has been linked to amateur radio and the professional activities of members in new technologies that have grown from the early beginnings. During the 1920-1940 era, the broadcasting industry emerged, stimulating the development of radio receivers and manufacturing methods to meet consumer demand for these products. Mobile radio for police applications also began in this period and continues to attract new members to the present day. From 1940-1980 many RCA members participated in developing Radar and other electronic equipment needed for defense applications. Although television began before 1940, the enormous growth of this industry happened after the end of World War II, bringing new members into the Club. The period from 1980 to the present time saw the beginning of the cellular phone industry, in which many Club members are engaged today.
The future growth of RCA requires acquiring new members, particularly younger members. One way this might be accomplished would be to broaden the technology base of Club activities to include most of the electronic products that are now considered indispensible for the population, especially the younger generation and college students. These items include cell phones, digital cameras, TVs, DVDs, gaming electronics, etc. Progress in this direction has started with the Technical Sessions organized by Rich Reichler, but ways to expand technical activities beyond once a year presentations need to be considered, such as use of the RCA website for publication of technical articles. These articles need not be written by members, but control and editing functions should be the responsibility of the Club member submitting the article for publication. It is also important that distribution of the Proceedings needs to be expanded beyond just Club members, but should be circulated to other organizations and persons who can help spread information about Radio Club activities. Changing direction of Club activities will not be an easy task, but future growth requires that the Club continue on the path of gaining membership from participants in newly expanding industries.