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2014 Banquet Recap

RCA 2014 Banquet Returned to The New York Athletic Club For Its 105th Banquet

group photoOn November 22, RCA held its 105th annual awards banquet at the New York Athletic Club. By all accounts, it was a terrific event, and the participants had a wonderful time. The RCA Proceedings will provide full coverage of the banquet with color photos in the Spring 2015 issue. As we go to press with our Fall 2014 issue of the Proceedings, we summarize a few highlights.

Following a well attended cocktail reception in the plush surroundings of the Athletic Club, Robert Schwaninger stepped up as the Master of Ceremonies. Bruce McIntyre, President and Fellow, gave the President’s Report. Rohan Agrawal, age 13, received the Young Achiever’s Award from Carole J. Perry, Director and Fellow. Rohan’s father gave thanks to RCA for supporting his gifted son.

bob heil 4Timothy J. Duffy, Vice President, Fellow and Banquet Chairman, introduced the Keynote Speaker, Bob Heil who spoke about his life in radio, his early interests, and his experiences designing sound systems for rock concerts, microphones, and other ventures. His life in the rock and roll environment stood in marked contrast to our typical speakers from the technology research and industrial communities.

Carroll Hollingsworth, Director and Fellow, followed dinner with a Special Service Award presentation on behalf of RCA to its approximately 60 World War II Veterans in recognition of the anniversary of their service to the nation and the world during WWII.

Carole J. Perry, Director and Fellow, gave the Education and Youth Activities Report. John E. Dettra, Jr., Director and Fellow, next provided the Scholarship Report.

The opening award was given to John S. Belrose, Ph.D., Director and Fellow, who received the Edgar F. Johnson Pioneer Citation for a lifetime of work in radio from Robert P. Walsh, Director and Fellow. Bruce Mcintyre presented the Jerry B. Minter Award to Albert D. Helfrick, Ph.D. for his work in the aviation electronics industry.

RCA inaugurated its new Women in Radio Communications Award with a presentation by Mercy Contreras, President-Emeritus and Fellow, to RCA’s Vivian A. Carr, President-Emeritus and Fellow. Vivian is known for her work at Bell Labs, and most notably for her pioneering spirit and successfully breaking the glass ceilings at Bell Labs, the IEEE and RCA as the first woman member and officer in those organizations. This new award will be given annually by RCA for substantial “contributions made by a woman” to the world of communications.

The 2014 Fellow Inductions were made by Sandra L. Black, Executive Vice President and Fellow and Marilyn Ward, Fellow. The 2014 Fellow Respondent for the Fellow Awardees was Georggina “Gigi” Smith, the President of APCO International. The new Fellows included: Robert R. Balais, David P. Byrum, Paul M. Mayer, Ralph Singletary, and Georggina Smith.

The 8th Annual Richard DeMello Award (issued by the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council at the RCA banquet) was issued to David Boyd, Ph.D. by Ralph Haller, Fellow and Harlin McEwen, Director and Fellow. Dr. Boyd was the long time Director of the Office for Interoperability and Compatibility and as the Director, Technology Transfer at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Elaine Walsh, Fellow, next made the annual RCA Scholarship Fund Raising Appeal.

Raymond Schulenberg and Olin Shuler received the Fred M. Link Award from John Dettra, Jr., Director and Fellow, for their work at Motorola on the first FM car radio and other land mobile products. Raymond was not present and will have his award delivered personally by David Bart and Sandra Black.

bob heil tim duffyTimothy J. Duffy presented the Barry Goldwater Award to Norman “Doug” Grant. He has been active in most areas of amateur radio, holds numerous contest awards, has been a director of various contest activities for ARRL and others, and was an author of CQ Amateur Radio Almanac.

Sandra L. Black, Executive Vice President and Fellow and David Bart, Director, next presented the Sarnoff Citation on behalf of Nick Holonyak, Jr. His award will be delivered in person by Sandra and David. Dr. Holonyak is known for his invention of the red LED, emitter switches, 41 patents and his 50 year tenure at the University of Illinois.

Finally, the Armstrong Medal went to J. R. Cruz, Ph.D. and Fellow for his significant contributions to wireless communications and data storage. Notably, he was recognized for his work as an engineer and task leader performing navigation analysis for the first two Space Shuttle missions and his other contributions at Motorola and then the University of Oklahoma. Morgan O’Brien, Fellow, made the presentation. Dr. Cruz offered his comments on a lifetime of work in the radio field.

The President’s Award was given to John A. Facella, P.E., Director and Fellow Presenter by Bruce McIntyre. John was recognized for his unselfish dedication to RCA and his leadership of the Technical Symposium. John then presented the Technical Symposium Award to the two best presentations of the day. The winners were Dr. Nathan Cohen for his presentation on 3D printers and fractal antennas and Rohan Agrawal for his presentation about his invention of a ham radio / cell phone interface. The joint award was a terrific example of RCA’s link between the youth of tomorrow, a 13 year old wunderkind, and our legacy of members leading research into new frontiers, a father of fractal antenna design and our newest member of the RCA Board.

The evening ended with the Presidential Service and Appreciation Award given to outgoing RCA President and Fellow Bruce McIntyre by incoming RCA President Sandra L. Black, former Executive Vice President and Fellow. Robert Schwaninger closed the event with best wishes and an invitation to join RCA again in 2015 for the next annual banquet.

Thank you to our sponsors: Telewave, Inc., IWCE and URGENT Communications, Mission Critical Communications, Young Achiever Sponsors, Above Ground Level AGL Media Group, and Signal Inside. Congratulations to all and we hope to see you next year as RCA travels to Silicon Valley for the first time

105th Anniversary Banquet Program




2013 Banquet Recap

The 2013 Banquet has come and gone.  This year the Radio Club of America celebrated our 104 anniversary.

For those of you who were not able to attend the Banquet,  you missed a great event.  This year we were at the Peabody/ Hyatt Regency Hotel in Orlando, Florida.  The weather was perfect and the venue was spectacular.  The Technical Symposium was outstanding  ( please see the Technical Symposium Recap )  with a number of very interesting speakers.

The Banquet was,  once again,  a grand event.  Michael “Mic” Woltman of NASA,  gave a very interesting presentation on rocket launches at the Kennedy Space Center and what it takes to put a satellite in orbit.

The food was excellent as was the camaraderie.  We also had an outstanding silent auction,  thanks to Elaine Walsh,  and raised more than $6,000 for the Scholarship prgrams.

We are already making plans for next year at the New York Athletic Club,  so plan now to join us in 2014.

craig jorgensen presents the 2013 lee deforest award to john powell


John S. Powell receives the Lee De Forest Award

elaine walsh recieves the 2013 presidents award from bruce mcintyre rca president


Elaine Walsh receives the President’s Award

karen clark accepts the 2013 distinguished service award from rca evp sandra black


Karen Clark receives the Special Recognition Award




Chief Douglas Aiken

Recipient of the Richard Demello Award from the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council




Stan Reubenstein receives the Special Service Award from President Emeritus Mercy Contreras




Curtis Quinter receives the Fred M. Link Award from John Dettra




William Riley Hollingsworth,  the receipient of the Sarnoff Citation

Marty Cooper, Marconi Prize

April 3, 2013
Mountain View, CA

2013 Marconi Prize Goes To Cellphone Pioneer Martin Cooper

Wireless visionary reshaped the concept of mobile communication

Forty years to the day after he helped launch the age of portable mobile telecommunications, the Marconi Society has announced that Martin Cooper is the recipient of the 2013 Marconi Prize, considered the pinnacle honor in the field of communication and information science.

Mr. Cooper, a wireless visionary and serial entrepreneur, is credited with developing and popularizing the concept of the handheld mobile phone. He led the talented team that put Motorola at the forefront of a burgeoning new industry. In the process, he helped reshape and point the global telecommunications industry in a new direction.

The Marconi Prize, which he will receive at a ceremony this fall in Bologna, Italy, is given each year to one or more scientists and engineers who – like radio inventor Guglielmo Marconi – achieve advances in communications and information technology for the social, economic and cultural development of all humanity. Winners have included scientists whose breakthrough innovations underlie every aspect of modern communications and have contributed to many other fields of technology. They include “fathers of the Internet” Paul Baran, Vint Cerf, Robert Kahn, Leonard Kleinrock, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Bob Metcalfe; encryption pioneers Whit Diffie, Martin Hellman and Ron Rivest; Internet search engine pioneers Larry Page and Sergey Brin; DSL modem inventor John Cioffi; and breakthrough fiber optics scientists such as Nobel Laureate Sir Charles Kao, Sir David Payne, Bob Tkach and Andrew Chraplyvy. Mr. Cooper follows wireless communication trailblazers Irwin Mark Jacobs (co-founder of Qualcomm) and Henry Samueli (Broadcom co-founder) who received the Prize in 2011 and 2012, respectively, as well as his mentor, former Motorola CEO Robert W. Galvin, who received a Marconi Society Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

Mr. Cooper’s selection for the Marconi Prize is extraordinarily apt, according to Marconi Chairman Sir David N. Payne, the 2009 Prize winner. “Like Marconi himself, Marty had to overcome innumerable challenges,” says Dr. Payne. “In the 60s and 70s when he first set out to create a truly mobile wireless phone, there weren’t even any cordless phones on the market. Low drain digital circuits were just being developed. Even most of the industry leaders didn’t see much of a market for a personal, portable mobile phone. But Marty’s visionary pursuit of portable wireless communication changed the course of wireless communications.”

“What makes Marty unique is his rare combination of technical knowledge, engineering skill, and marketing vision,” said Henry Samueli, last year’s Marconi Prize recipient. “His revolutionary invention of the mobile phone created a remarkable industry which today impacts virtually every person on the planet. It is very fitting that he is receiving the Marconi Prize.”

Mr. Cooper says he was born to be an engineer. “From my earliest remembrances I had to know how things worked. I never had any doubt my career would be about technology,” he says. After graduating from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in 1950, he served in the U.S. Navy as a submarine officer during the Korean War. When he returned, he earned his Master’s degree from IIT in electrical engineering. He later taught at IIT and now serves as a life trustee of the university.

His first job was at Teletype Corporation. He left to join Motorola in 1954, at a time when Mr. Galvin, son of the company founder, was transforming Motorola from a car radio manufacturer into a global technology leader. Starting as a senior development engineer in the mobile equipment group, he eventually grew to become a corporate vice president and founded the division that became Motorola Mobility, now owned by Google. Mr. Cooper introduced products that were precursors to cellular phones—including the first city-wide radio pagers in 1970 and the first cellular-like portable handheld police radio systems in 1967.

“Motorola was one of the luckiest things that ever happened to me,” Mr. Cooper says. “If you wanted to change society it was the place to be. In 1965 I was given a new assignment to head the Portable Products Group. We had one over-riding belief: that people are inherently mobile, and that their mobile devices could not be too small or too light. We created the technologies that optimized size and weight.”

At the time, AT&T, which invented the concept of cellular technology, was investing heavily in their own vision of the future of mobile communications—car phones—and was already lobbying the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for exclusive spectrum rights. In 1972 the FCC announced it was about to make a decision and it seemed likely AT&T would be granted a monopoly.

All that changed on April 3, 1973, when, standing on a street corner in New York City, Mr. Cooper demonstrated Motorola’s handset prototype to a reporter by making the first public phone call on the handheld cellular phone. His goal was to create public excitement about a revolutionary new concept in telecommunications: truly portable mobile phones that people could carry around and use to make calls any time, any place.

“I decided the only way to make an impression was to do a dazzling demonstration,” says Mr. Cooper. “What better way than this? My extraordinary team built the handset and a complete cellular system, just for the demonstration, and we took it to New York and to Washington to persuade our government that the time was ripe for true ‘personal communications.’ ” The publicity campaign worked beyond anyone’s expectations.

A decade of challenges lay ahead. “It took years for the technology to evolve,” says Mr. Cooper, “We were using frequency bands never used before; we were trying to develop large scale integrated circuits with low drain; and even the antenna had to be engineered. You can’t go from the lab to a commercial product overnight.”
He named the original handset the DynaTAC (DYNamic Adaptive Total Area Coverage). It was gigantic by modern standards, weighing in at 2.5 pounds, and measuring 10 inches long. People called it “the brick” or “the shoe”. Improved technology would soon shrink the massive battery needed to power the original phone and multiply battery life, but the original was still an impressive engineering feat.
More than the handset technology needed development. “Bell Labs and Motorola had to develop the equipment that made cellular systems more efficient than previous approaches. Plus, the FCC was tasked with the arduous and painfully slow challenge of selecting the competing cellular carriers,” Mr. Cooper says.

Once again, it was Motorola that tipped the balance. In 1980 Mr. Galvin was visiting Vice President George H. W. Bush and showed him Motorola’s handset model, mentioning the FCC’s delays. Bush told him to show the phone to President Reagan, who was enchanted. “That seemed to break the logjam, and by 1983 we had service,” says Mr. Cooper.

Between 1973 and 1983 Motorola poured more than $100 million into development without getting a nickel of revenue. “It takes an enlightened management to do that,” Mr. Cooper says.
Currently, Mr. Cooper is co-founder and Chairman of Dyna LLC, in Del Mar, California, one of the many successful entrepreneurial ventures he helped create in the 30 years since leaving Motorola. In addition to writing and lecturing around the world, his many board and committee commitments includeThe U.S. Department of Commerce Spectrum Advisory Committee and the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Technological Advisory Council.Among his many awards and honors was his inaugural induction into the WHF Wireless Hall of Fame and his receipt of the IEEE Centennial Medal. Mr. Cooper also was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering and was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for Science and Technology in 2010.
He is proudest of his contributions to portable wireless communications, however. “The biggest problem our world faces is poverty,” he says. “The answer isn’t redistributing wealth—that would simply make most people poorer. The answer is improving productivity—and wireless has brought about massive improvements in productivity. From a village in India where a woman entrepreneur can rent out her cell phone to farmers so they can find the best price for their crops, to the ability to monitor individuals health status in real time, mobile communication is revolutionizing our world—and we are only just beginning.”

“Today, what Marty foresaw seems pretty elementary,” says Vint Cerf, vice chairman of the Marconi Society and himself a Marconi Prize winner. “But the idea of making telecommunications ‘person-centric’ instead of tied to a particular place—a car, home or telephone booth—caused a tectonic shift in the industry.”

Mr. Cooper will receive the $100,000 Marconi Prize at an awards dinner on October 1, 2013 in Bologna. He also will deliver the keynote address for a three-day conference preceding the awards gala, jointly sponsored by the Marconi Institute for Creativity and the Marconi Society. Information about the conference, which is open to the general public, will be available soon at http://mic.fgm.it/.


The Marconi Society was established in 1974 through an endowment set up by Gioia Marconi Braga, daughter of Guglielmo Marconi, the Nobel laureate who invented radio (wireless telegraphy). It is best known for the Marconi Prize, awarded annually to outstanding individuals whose scope of work and influence emulate the principle of “creativity in service to humanity” that inspired Marconi. Through symposia, conferences, forums and publications, the Marconi Society promotes awareness of major innovations in communication theory, technology and applications with particular attention to understanding how they change and benefit society.

Hatti Hamlin

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