Fred M. Link
President Emeritus, Radio Club of America
Fred M. Link was born on Oct. 11, 1904, in York, Pennsylvania. His early interest, first in telegraph, and then in wireless communications, flowed from steps he took toward earning merit badges to qualify as an Eagle Scout. In high school, he worked as an apprentice electrician. His bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and his avocation as a radio amateur led to a job with New York Telephone. Allen B. DuMont hired him away to work for the DeForest Radio Company. Link later left DeForest Radio to become a partner with R.C. Powell in the R.C. Powell Company, New York. Shortly thereafter, Powell left, and Link became the sole owner. He changed the name of the company to the Fred M. Link Company. From 1931 to 1950, that company, later known as Link Radio Corporation, manufactured two-way radio communications equipment that was used extensively by police departments throughout the United States and in many foreign countries. Similar equipment was used by the U.S. armed forces during World War II, especially for communications among tank commanders and to replace wired telephone and teletype communications. During the war, Link Radio employed more than 800 people. Link held the rank of lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve; the government did not call him to active duty so he could continue manufacturing communications equipment for the war effort.
Not long after he sold Link Radio in 1950, the company ceased doing business, and it was liquidated in 1952. His work in radio communications resumed, and from 1954 to 1959, he was the director of the mobile radio division at the Allen B. DuMont Laboratories, where he manufactured equipment similar to what had been produced by Link Radio. From 1959 to 1965, he was a consultant to the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), having initially been hired under the direction of its president, David Sarnoff, to help to resolve a problem with a police radio system RCA had contracted to provide to the city of Philadelphia.
Since 1965, as "Fred M. Link, Consultant," Link had assisted a number of client companies in the radio communications industry, including Primedia Intertec's Mobile Radio Technology magazine (Overland Park, Kansas); Trott Communications Group (Irving, Texas); Ericsson Private Radio Systems (Lynchburg, Virginia); Decibel Products (Dallas) and Philips Radio Communications (Cambridge, England).
Link married Mildred Coover on June 30, 1930. They lived in New York, and then on a farm in Bergen County, New Jersey, until moving to another farm in Hunterdon County in the early 1960s. Of their two daughters, one, Joanne Link Sotres of New York, survives. She has a son, Craig Sotres. By their other daughter, there are four grandchildren: Daryl Link Morrow: Lisa Kate Morrow, twins Darylee Morrow and Jessica Morrow, and Scott Alexander Morrow.
At Robin Hill Farm, 22 Cooks Cross Road, Pittstown, NJ 08867 and at the previous property in Bergen County, Fred and Mildred raised and trained American Saddle Bred horses that were shown in competition, usually ridden by Joanne and Daryl.
Link served as director of public safety from 1941-42 and as mayor from 1942-52 of the Borough of Westwood, New Jersey. He served as a member of the Union Township, New Jersey, board of adjustment since 1975. He graduated from the State College of Pennsylvania (now Pennsylvania State University) in 1927 with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, and he received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from York College in 1988.
For the past 30 years, one of Link's passions had been his leadership in the Radio Club of America, a New York-based society of wireless communications engineers, executives, managers and specialists; broadcasters; university faculty; military communications specialists; and radio amateurs. He served as Radio Club president from 1968 to 1992, and continued as president emeritus. Among the honors conferred on Link by the Radio Club are its Sarnoff Citation (1976), Allen B. DuMont Citation (1983), Fred M. Link Award (1986), Lee de Forest Award (1988) and President's Award (1996).
Link was a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and was a charter member of its Vehicular Technology Society, which he served as a member of its board of governors since 1975. He received the society's Avant Garde Award in 1980. He received the IEEE Centennial Medal in 1984. An IEEE milestone plaque at the entrance of the Connecticut Department of Public Safety headquarters in Middletown, Connecticut, commemorates the 1939 installation of the first frequency-modulated (FM) police radio communications system, which was built by Link Radio. It was the success of this system that led to the adoption of FM radio for communications by the Mechanized Cavalry (tanks) based in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, for use in World War II.
Link's other memberships included the Associated Public Safety Communications Officials, the Quarter Century Wireless Association, the New York Athletic Club, the Veteran Wireless Operators Association and the American Horse Show Association.
At the 1996 Radio Club of America Banquet, Fred received the President's Award for "his pioneering achievements in FM land mobile radio, manufacturing and for his leadership of The Radio Club of America, serving as its president from 1968 to 1992." Please READ THE PRESENTATION SPEECH by Gaetano (Tom) Amoscato (President Emeritus).
Contributions to the Fred M. Link Scholarship Fund are welcome at:
Radio Club of America, Inc.