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Merle Glunt, W3OKN (SK)


Merle Glunt, W3OKN, of Mount Union, Pennsylvania, passed away March 16. He was 90. Glunt served as the ARRL consultant to the World Administrative Radio Conference in 1979 (WARC-79), and through years of hard work, was instrumental in gaining the 12, 17 and 30 meter bands for the Amateur Service.

During World War II, Glunt was the senior radio intercept analyst in the Radio Intelligence Division of the Federal Communications Commission, specializing in worldwide German espionage radio communications and Philippine guerrilla radio circuits. He served as the FCC Radio Intelligence Division (RID) liaison with the Office of Strategic Services (now the CIA) and the British Security Coordination. After the war, he was in charge of US Naval communications security surveillance and traffic analysis. He was a member on the US Navy task force charged with the creation of the Armed Force Security Agency (now the National Security Agency).

Returning to the FCC during the Korean conflict, Glunt later held such positions as Chief of the Treaty Branch and Assistant Chief Engineer, responsible for the Frequency Allocation and Treaty Division and International and Operations Division. He was active in US preparation for various national and international telecommunications conferences, serving frequently as a US spokesman at NATO and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and international conferences in Canada, Great Britain, Spain and Brazil. As a consequence, Glunt served as a member of US delegations that were responsible for the development of international radio terms and definitions, the Maritime Mobile and Amateur Radio Services rules and regulations. Sponsored by the Agency for International Development (USAID), he organized and participated in a two-man team of experts, at the request of the prime minister of Thailand, to study and make recommendations to reorganize the Thailand Radio Communications Activity to facilitate communications in that area during the Korean conflict.

ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, remembered Glunt "as a key figure in gaining allocations at 10, 18 and 24 MHz for the Amateur Service at the 1979 World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC-79). Anyone who ever operated on what we used to call the 'WARC bands' owes Merle a great debt. In 1973, as Assistant Chief Engineer of the FCC, Merle participated in a four-member study group that developed a report demonstrating the desirability of these amateur allocations. After retiring from the FCC, Merle became a consultant to the ARRL and was the most regular and most visible ARRL presence at dozens of Washington meetings during domestic preparations for WARC-79. He earned a position on the US delegation to the conference in Geneva specifically to represent the Amateur Services, and he did so with great skill and professionalism. It was my good fortune to have Merle as a mentor."

Richard L. Baldwin, W1RU, ARRL General Manager at the time of WARC-79, said, "Merle believed that there was no limit to what you could accomplish so long as you didn't worry about who got the credit for it and Merle lived that philosophy. As a member of the FCC staff, as a participant in many ITU meetings, as an advisor to ARRL and IARU, Merle was influential in organizing quiet and effective support for the Amateur Service. Those of us who worked with Merle know what a privilege it was to benefit from his expertise. Speaking personally, Merle was a good friend for many, many years and I shall miss him."

Glunt was a Life Member of the ARRL, the Quarter Century Wireless Association, the Radio Intelligence Division Association, the Old Old Timers Club, the Society of Wireless Pioneers and the Veterans Wireless Operators Association. He was also a member of the FISTS CW Club, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, the US Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association and the US Naval Institute.

A funeral service was held March 21. Memorial contributions in remembrance of Merle Glunt may be given to the Home Nursing Agency, 900 Bryan St, Huntingdon, PA 16652 or to the American Cancer Society, 10955 Raystown Rd, Ste B, Huntingdon, PA 16652.



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