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Retiring ARRL CEO honoured by the IARU

Date : 17 / 02 / 2016
Author : Jim Linton - VK3PC

The International Amateur Radio Union President Tim Ellam VE6SH/G4HUA has presented David Sumner K1ZZ with the IARU’s prestigious Michael J. Owen, VK3KI, Memorial Award. Tim Ellam cited David Sumner’s “skill, diplomacy, and encyclopedic knowledge” of Amateur Radio, and his role on the international scene, as most deserving of the award.

Michael J. Owen VK3KI (sk), a towering figure in the IARU and the WIA, died in 2012. David Sumner started with his service at the watershed World Administrative Radio Conference in 1979, which yielded the so-called “WARC bands,” 30, 17, and 12 metres. Dave Sumner has travelled to more than 60 countries in connection with his ARRL and IARU responsibilities, which include 17 years as IARU Secretary.

The IARU Administrative Council had kept quite its award decision until it could be presented to the ARRL CEO in person. That opportunity arose when Dave Summer K1ZZ was the keynote speaker at the Orlando HamCation banquet on February 13. In accepting the award, Dave Sumner called Michael Owen "a dear, dear friend” and “a very special person."

A sometimes-emotional David, who steps down on April 18 as the head of the American Radio Relay League ARRL, told the audience about the role that Amateur Radio has played in his life. In his speech he described himself as being passionate about Amateur Radio. David said: "Our challenge is to explain our passion, how to convey it to younger generations, that have grown up at a time when instant global communication is taken for granted. Can we do it? Can we explain the allure of acquiring the knowledge and skill to communicate anywhere on - or in orbit around - the planet without relying on any infrastructure whatsoever? I believe we can."

David Sumner cherished the privilege of being able to turn a passion into a career, spending 34 years guiding the ARRL headquarters staff. Among his remarks were that he never wanted any other job, and enjoyed playing a part in defending Amateur Radio spectrum. In a lengthy speech, he praised various radio amateurs who were significant influences on his life and his career. These included Nobel laureate Joe Taylor K1JT, who developed the WSJT software suite that spawned the popularity of JT65, JT9, and other "weak-signal" modes.

At World Radiocommunication Conference 2012, Joe Taylor received the International Telecommunication Union gold medal - introduced as a radio astronomer who got there through Amateur Radio. Dave Summer held him in respect and awe, adding "It was probably the proudest moment I’ve had in Amateur Radio."



Photo : ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ (left), receives the Michael J. Owen, VK3KI, Memorial Award from IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA. Photo Bob Inderbitzen NQ1R



 

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