Noted QST Author Steve Powlishen, K1FO (SK)


Steve Powlishen, K1FO, of Madison, Connecticut, passed away July 28 due to complications from cancer. He was 60. An ARRL Life Member, Powlishen was best known for his antenna designs for weak signal work. His company, Lunar-Link Systems -- founded by Powlishen in 1994 -- manufactured and sold high-performance amplifiers that allowed more amateurs to experience Earth-Moon-Earth (EME), often called “Moonbounce,” on 432 MHz. Powlishen -- who had 613 unique contacts on 70 cm EME -- penned more than 10 articles for QST, QEX and Ham Radio Magazine on weak signal operation.

In the early 1980s, Powlishen became interested in designing Yagi antennas as he wondered why some Yagi designs seemed to work well on EME, while others with just as much -- if not more -- gain performed poorly, especially on the receiving end. He began by building numerous test designs by hand, and then progressed to computer modeling as that technology became more readily available. He presented his findings in a two-part QST article (published in December 1987 and January 1988) entitled “An Optimum Design for 432 MHz Yagis.” These designs appear today in the current ARRL Handbook. [Editor's note: You must be an ARRL member and currently logged on to the ARRL website to view these articles.]

In 1986, the ARRL asked Powlishen to develop some amplifier projects for the upcoming ARRL UHF/Microwave Experimenter’s Manual. He chose to write about a 70 cm amplifier design that utilized 8938 tubes. But realizing that such a design would be out of reach for most radio amateurs, Powlishen designed and built a 70 cm amplifier that used a single 3CX800A7 tube. This led to a more affordable 1500 W EME amplifier that led to still another 70 cm model, one that used two 3CX800A7 tubes. All three amplifier designs were published in the ARRL Microwave Projects Manual and have been duplicated by many builders. Powlishen also designed, built and marketed the LA-70B linear amplifier and the LA-200 linear amplifier, a 1500 W 2 meter amplifier. The LA-200 was soon followed by the LA-135, a 222 MHz amplifier.

“Steve’s passion for radio was shared through his frequent contributions to numerous publications and conferences,” said friend Bob McCormick, W1QA. “His antenna designs and high power amplifiers are in use by hams worldwide. Using antennas and amplifiers he designed and built himself, Steve communicated with hundreds of other amateur stations by bouncing signals off the moon.”

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT, 06111 or to Madison Ambulance, 35 Bradley Rd, Madison, CT, 06443, or to Charlie’s Closet, 310 State St #200, Guilford, CT, 06437. Funeral services are pending.