Jerry Sevick, W2FMI (SK)


Jerry Sevick, W2FMI -- renowned for his research and publications related to short vertical antennas and transmission line transformers -- passed away on Sunday, November 29. He was 90. In 2004, Sevick, an ARRL Technical Advisor, received the ARRL Hudson Division Technical Achievement Award; in 2005, he received the Dayton Hamvention Technical Excellence Award. The Hamvention Awards Committee noted that Sevick's April 1978 QST article on short ground-radial systems "now serves as the world's standard for earth conductivity measurements."

In a span of 10 years -- 1971-1981 -- Sevick authored 10 QST articles on antenna-related topics. While most of his articles dealt with vertical antennas, especially shortened verticals, he also wrote on related subjects such as radial systems and ground conductivity, broadband matching networks and impedance bridges.

In the course of designing networks to match coaxial cable to short ground mounted vertical antennas, Sevick looked at the transmission line transformer as a possible vehicle. He undertook the characterization and design of transformers for low impedance applications, resulting in his book Transmission Line Transformers, published in 1987 by the ARRL. He also wrote Understanding, Building and Using Baluns and Ununs and The Short Vertical Antenna and Ground Radial.

"Jerry embodied the old-fashioned amateur spirit of innovation by experiment, applying his many years of experience as a Bell Labs researcher to a retirement project analyzing the performance of short vertical antennas," said Gary Breed, K9AY, Sevick's collaborator and editor. "That work led him to the study of transmission line transformers for which he became well known in both the ham and professional radio engineering communities. He brought a little-known piece of technology to the forefront and worried until the end whether enough people understood the principles behind the operation of these devices."

Sevick was a graduate of Wayne State University and a member of their Athletic Hall of Fame (he was drafted by both the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions, but did not play professional football). During World War II, Sevick served as a pilot in the US Army Air Corps. In 1952, he graduated from Harvard University with a doctorate in Applied Physics with a dissertation on "An Experimental and Theoretical Investigation of Back-Scattering Cross Sections." From 1952-1956, he returned to Wayne State University to teach physics. While at Wayne State, Sevick was a local weather forecaster on WXYZ-TV7. In 1956, he joined the staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories where he supervised groups working in high-frequency transistor and integrated-circuit development, reliability, applications engineering and high-speed PCM; later, he served as Director of Technical Relations and retired in 1985.

Services for Sevick are scheduled for 10 AM on Tuesday, December 2 at the Fellowship Village, 8000 Fellowship Road in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.