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.
At Station KSFO in San Francisco, in 1940, Frank Gunther (second from left)
demonstrates REL equipment to NAB members.
In hisremarkable 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.
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
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 Developerof Short
Wave Radio Equipment, and in 1992 was featured in a PBS television program
entitled Empire ofthe Air, The Men WhoMade 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
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