Radio Club of America Turns One HundredSaturday, November 28, 2009
Last week-end, I attended the Centennial Celebration of the Radio Club of America (RCA) in Washington, DC. The activities opened with a Friday evening cocktail reception, continued with a series of educational sessions on Saturday, and concluded with a cocktail party, dinner, special awards, and the induction of new Fellows. The RCA's membership is diverse and includes people who have been instrumental through the years in moving wireless communications forward in the areas of broadcast radio, TV, amateur radio, commercial two-way radio, public safety, and commercial wireless services.
Some of the more famous RCA members from radio history include Armstrong, Fred Link,Gunther , Poppele, Grebe, and Goldwater, and many pioneers in the industry are among today's membership including Martin Cooper, the man behind the first Motorola handheld cell phone, Ralph Haller, ex-FCC, and Mal Gurian. I always enjoy mingling and chatting with some of the greats who have advanced our industry in so many different ways.
Many within the RCA are amateur (ham) radio operators as well as professionals in communications, attorneys whose practices are related to wireless services, and a number of members from the vendor community.
This year Harris was the Premier sponsor, Platinum sponsors included Aurora Marketing, EMR Consulting, MissionCritical Magazine, Schwaninger & Associates, and Telewave, Inc., and Hutton, WFDU FM, Biby Publishing, Daniels Electronics, Thales, Wilson Electronics, and Waterford Consultants were among the banquet sponsors.
The RCA honored a number of people who have contributed to one or more facets of wireless including Ralph Haller for his dedication to amateur radio, Larry Conlee from Research In Motion for engineering excellence, Carole Perry for her dedication to the RCA's youth education committee, and Don Root, who received the Richard DeMello award for his dedicated work on behalf of the public safety community.
This is a great organization doing important work and we are actively seeking new members. We do much more than hold a yearly banquet-there are several education committees and scholarship funds, and technical sessions are held and articles are published throughout the year. We sponsor a breakfast at many of the conferences held in the United States including IWCE, this year at CTIA, I believe, and at APCO and other conferences.
This is a wonderful organization to be a member of, especially with the many opportunities it provides to talk with some of the remaining "fathers" of wireless and learn more about early experiences directly from them. The RCA also works with young people, encouraging them to become involved in wireless programs at universities and colleges and to enter into this exciting field. The RCA awards scholarships to assist students interested in wireless as they attend college and earn their degree before joining us in the field.
Over the Radio Club's one hundred years, we have evolved from spark-gap telegraph systems to wireless broadband devices that fit into the palms of our hands. We have seen wireless continue to be the vital link during disasters, fires, floods, and other major and minor events. We have also seen an explosion in the popularity of wireless. Today, nearly 90% of those living and working in the United States use wireless devices-which are actually two-way radios dressed up as phones.
Just as the industry needs an infusion of young, bright people who have radio running through their blood, so too does the Radio Club of America if we are to pass along more of the vital lessons our living pioneers can share with future generations. Applications for membership are available on the RCA website and from other RCA members. You might be surprised at who within your own organization are members of the RCA and participate in its activities. If you would like to find out more, refer to www.radioclubofamerica.org. I hope to see you soon at an RCA breakfast or at next year's banquet in New York City in November.
Andrew M. Seybold