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Fred M. Link


Frank A. Gunther

Untitled Document

Frank A. Gunther

Frank A. Gunther

President Emeritus, Radio Club of America

Frank A. Gunther, one of America's radio pioneers and the original developer of short wave radio equipment - the genesis of today's wireless transmission industry - died May 24, 1999, in Venice, FL. A Fellow and Past President of the Radio Club of America and a Fellow in the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers (IEEE), Frank had an extraordinary 72-year career in the Radio industry. From installing the 600 meter transmitter-receiver in the sea plane used by Amelia Earhart in 1928, to touring Vietnam as a three-star Lieutenant General to inspect communications installations at the request of the U. S. Army Signal Corps, Frank's career was long and rewarding.

Known to military, police, fire and community leaders around the world, Frank designed, installed and proved the viability of radio communications in an age when few envisioned, and even fewer understood, the enormous potential and impact this field would have on the way we live.

REL at NAB convention, 1940
At Station KSFO in San Francisco, in 1940, Frank Gunther (second from left)
demonstrates REL equipment to NAB members.

In his remarkable career, Frank worked with Edwin H. Armstrong in the first public demonstration of Frequency Modulation (FM) transmission which began a 25 year collaboration. He designed and installed 2-way mobile radio systems for major US cities and secured the first Federal Radio Commission License for an FM installation in the City of Bayonne, NJ.

Frank was directly responsible for designing, manufacturing and installing the transmission equipment for over 25 FM stations nationwide.

During the years surrounding WWII, Frank demonstrated both the first FM mobile transmitter to the US Armed Forces and the first 2-way radio system to the US Army Air Corps. His company designed and manufactured the first 176 LORAN transmitters for the Coast Guard, constituting the entire system used during the war.

REL Transmitter, 1941
In 1941, REL sets a new construction record by installing a 10-kw REL-FM
transmitter at Station WBNS/W45CM in Columbus just 30 days after an order was signed.
Shown here (to the right), Frank is adjusting the new Armstrong phase-shift modulator at the Station.

Professionally, Frank joined Radio Engineering Laboratories (REL) in 1925. He became president of REL in 1960. In 1977 he received the DeForest Pioneers-Lee DeForest Award for being Original Developer of Short Wave Radio Equipment, and in 1992 was featured in a PBS television program entitled Empire of the Air, The Men Who Made Radio.

The Radio Club of America established the Frank A. Gunther Award in 1996 for major contributions to the advancement of military electronic communications systems, with Mr. Gunther as the first recipient. Most recently, Mr. Gunther worked as a consultant with his son, Robert, president of Highpoint Development Ltd. of Staten Island. He is survived by his sons, Frank M. and Radio Club member Robert C. Gunther; five grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and five step-grandchildren.


Frank A. Gunther Scholarship

The Board of Directors established the Frank A. Gunther Scholarship Fund at its June 1999, meeting. The first contribution to the fund was made by the Southwest Section Fund.

Members wishing to contribute to the fund may send their contribution to the RCA office, PO Box 621074, Littleton, CO 80162-1074
303-948-4921, Fax: 303-972-1653