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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Dr. Rufus Turner, W3LF. Homebrew Hero and Radio Pioneer

Thanks to Farhan for alerting me to this great Hackaday article about a homebrew hero who was -- sadly -- unknown to most of us.  He lived in Washington D.C.,  right down the road from where I live now.  The Hackaday article leaves no doubt about it -- Rufus Turner was one of us. He had THE KNACK.  He was a true radio pioneer and homebrew hero.  It is really a shame that we've known so little about him.  


  1. Well it was right there on the lower right the other day.

    This isn't news because it's getting travel. I learned about it at least a year ago, because I looked.

    One might as well ask about all the prolific writers of the old days. Sam Harris wrote about the first practical parametric amplifier in 'CQ', but somewhere recently I gathered his roe t Arecibo was much greater than we knew at the time.

    Who was Fred Brown, W6HPH I think, who wrote a lot about VHF?

    Who was Hank Cross W1OOP, with a big interest in receivers, especially VHF?

    Who was John J. Schultz, W2EEY/1, who seemed to have an article every month in CQ in the sixties, mostly tutorials?

    Who was Howard Pyle, who wrote a lot, including "Climbing The Novice Ladder" in "73" in the sixties, and I think was on the masthead of "Ham Radio"?

    Who was James Ashe, W2DXH, who showed some very professionally put together projects?

    Hank Olson, W6GXN was prolific too.

    That doesn't even cover the prolific writers for the hobby electronic magazines, which were often more construction articles.

    We often knew more about ARRL staff writers.

    John T. Frye, who wrote the Carl & Jerry stories was a paraplegic, Jeff Duntemann has dug into his story.

    Don Lancaster has told his story on his website.

    I have bumped into some familiar names on Usenet over the past 20 years, but I didn't ask them about their writing days.

    Jim Kyle has a website where he tells some of his story, lots of writing in the sixties, including the infamous article about the "Sweet Sixteen" speaker.

    These people, and so many others that I didn't name, were important because they filled the magazines with tutorial and construction articles on a more regular basis than casual.


  2. Hi Bill,

    I still have Rufus Turner's "Electronic Hobbyists' Handbook" (Gernsback Library No. 69) that I bought in 1961. Still a lot of fun to browse through. Turner has a knack for explaining difficult subjects in plain language. --Jerry AA6KI


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