Information Net for February 13

Volunteer Tour Guides Make Your Visit to ARRL HQ Pleasant and Informative

Read by: ED KE4JWS

When you visit ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut, the first smiling face you’re likely to see is a tour guide. ARRL’s Tour Guide program now includes 19 volunteers who donate thousands of hours of their free time per year, giving tours to hundreds of visitors.

ARRL’s tour guides are an integral part of the ARRL. When not giving tours, they are busy accomplishing tasks in various HQ departments — sorting QSL cards, working on special projects in the lab, updating the periodicals archive, and much, much more.

A thank you lunch was held for ARRL volunteers recently at a nearby restaurant. ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, sent this message of appreciation:

“Since the ARRL began nearly 100 years ago, the engine that has powered our organization is volunteers. There is no way the staff at ARRL Headquarters, talented and dedicated though they are, could do everything for ham radio that the ARRL needs to do. Volunteers all over the country have contributed millions of hours of service since the ARRL began.

Read by: DENNIS KF4DHK

“You are part of that great history of volunteering that goes all the way back to 1914. When you lead a tour, you put a friendly individual human face on what can be misunderstood as a big, impersonal institution. I try to do the same thing in my contacts with members. You and I are working towards the same goal of helping members understand the League better and appreciate it more. When you are able to work on other tasks and projects besides guiding tours, that is also important and appreciated. The ARRL is lucky to have you on our team, and I thank you for choosing to devote some of your personal time to introducing members to their ARRL.”

Tours of the Administrative Headquarters of ARRL and the Maxim Memorial Station, W1AW, are given between 9 AM and 3 PM weekdays except holidays. Large groups should make arrangements a week in advance by writing to the Membership Services Department, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111, or by calling 860-594-0200. For more information, see www.arrl.org/visit-us.

World’s First Handheld Cellular Phone Call in Public

Read by: MARTHA KJ4RIQ

Martin Cooper (born December 26, 1928 in Chicago, Illinois, USA) is an American former Motorola vice president and division manager who in the 1970s led the team that developed the handheld mobile phone (as distinct from the car phone). Cooper is the CEO and founder of ArrayComm, a company that works on researching smart antenna technology and improving wireless networks, and was the corporate director of Research and Development for Motorola. After World War II, Cooper, son of Ukrainian immigrants, left the Navy and began working at Teletype Corporation, a subsidiary of Western Electric. In 1950, he received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). In 1954, he was hired by Motorola, and attended classes and studied at night. He went on to earn a master’s degree in electrical engineering from IIT in 1957, and taught night school classes at the university. In 1960, John F. Mitchell, who also received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering (1950) from IIT, became chief engineer of Motorola’s mobile communications projects. Cooper reported to Mitchell.

Read by: RICK N9GRW

In the 1960s, Cooper was instrumental in turning pagers from a technology used in single buildings to one that stretched across cities. Cooper helped fix a flaw in the quartz crystals Motorola made for its radios. This encouraged the company to mass-produce the first crystals for use in wrist watches. Cooper worked on developing portable products, including the first portable handheld police radios, made for the Chicago police department in 1967. In the early 1970s, Mitchell put Cooper in charge of its car phone division where he led Motorola’s cellular research. Cooper envisioned mobile phones that would be used not only in a car, but also small and light enough to be portable. Thanks to years of research and development in portable products directed by Cooper and new technologies from all over the company, when the pressure was on, it took only 90 days in 1973 to create the first portable cellular 800 MHz phone prototype.

Read by: PAUL KJ4WQN

In 1973, when Motorola installed a base station to handle the first public demonstration of a phone call over the cellular network, the company was trying to persuade the Federal Communications Commission to allocate frequency space to private companies for use in the emerging technology of cellular communications. After some initial testing in Washington for the F.C.C., Cooper and Motorola took the cellular phone technology to New York to demonstrate it to reporters and the public. On April 3, 1973, standing on Sixth Avenue in New York City near the New York Hilton hotel, Cooper made a phone call from a prototype Dyna-Tac handheld cellular phone before going to a press conference upstairs in the hotel. The phone connected Cooper with the base station on the roof of the Burlington House (now the Alliance Capital Building) across the street from the hotel and into the AT&T land-line telephone system.

Read by: ADAM W8IFG

As reporters and passers-by watched, he dialed the number and held the phone to his ear. That first call, placed to Dr. Joel S. Engel, head of research at Bell Labs, began a fundamental technology and communications market shift toward making phone calls to a person instead of to a place. This first phone weighed about 2.5 lb (1.1 kg). It was the product of Cooper’s vision for personal wireless handheld telephone communications, distinct from mobile car phones. Cooper has stated that watching Captain Kirk using his communicator on the television show Star Trek inspired him to develop the handheld mobile phone.

After demonstrating the prototype cell phone to reporters, Cooper allowed some of the reporters to make phone calls to anyone of their choosing to prove that the cell phone could function as a versatile part of the telephone network.

Cooper is considered the inventor of the first handheld cellular phone and the first person to make a phone call in public on a handheld cell phone. Cooper and the engineers who worked for him, and Mitchell are named on the patent “Radio telephone system” filed on October 17, 1973.

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